It's always a little tough to watch a team other than your favorite win the Stanley Cup. I tend to watch the celebration after with a similar look on my face as the Senators sported on Wednesday. My look became exceptionally sour when Chris Pronger hoisted the trophy with that goofy gap-toothed-shit-eating grin on his face; it sucks to see someone so richly rewarded on the ice for his despicable performance off the ice. No Shakespearean karma going on there - cheat on your wife, screw over a city...and get rewarded with the Stanley Cup. Yipee.
However, there are some aspects of the Ducks' win that I do feel good about. It's great to see the Niedermayer brothers win a Cup together, especially after watching them embrace after Rob lost (and Scott won) in 2003. Brothers playing hockey in the backyard and the neighborhood ponds and growing up to win the most coveted trophy in sports is an embodiment of all that is good about the sport. Forget our incompetent commissioner. Forget "Mama's Family" getting more viewers than one of the games of the Finals. It's two brothers - nice guys, reportedly - celebrating together. One request, though. Scott's beard? I'm a huge playoff beard guy, but that thing makes him look 43, not 33. My wife was shocked to find out that he's 3 years younger than I am. In the future, I would love to avoid reminders that I'm old. Next time, Scott, don't forget the Grecian.
Four former-Avalanche players got to drink out of the Cup on Wednesday. Brad May was with the team the longest (2 seasons). He's not exactly a popular figure in Colorado, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the guy. He's been doing the grunt work for a lot of years and for 5 different teams; I, for one, am glad to see him win it. Teemu Selanne was with the Avs for 1 painful disaster of a season. He and Paul Kariya were supposed to bring a 3rd Cup to Colorado, but it didn't work out that way. While I would have loved to see 94 points in a Colorado uniform, I'm still ecstatic to see one of the games most electric players finally win it all. George Parros was with the Avalanche for just over a month. He is not one of the games most electric players, but he is one of the more interesting characters in the league. Happy to see him win. Sammy Pahlsson never played for the Avalanche - he was a Colorado draft pick sent in the Ray Bourque trade to Boston...a team, of course, so lost that they let Pahlsson go for Patrick Traverse and Andrei Nazarov. Ouch. Anyway, while I love to watch Pahlsson play, and would love to see him play for the Avs again someday, that trade brought us (and Ray) a Cup. Can't complain about that one.
It's interesting to me that the Ducks have 3 key players who were undrafted. Chris Kunitz (25 goals), Andy McDonald (27 goals) and Dustin Penner (29 goals) are all undrafted free agents. How does that happen? Penner is 6'4, 245; how does he not get drafted based just on his size alone?
Speaking of drafts, in 2005, the then-Mighty Ducks finished 2nd in the draft lottery. That's right, they were thisclose to landing Sydney Crosby. The thought of Crosby on this team is downright scary. It didn't happen though, and I'm happy for that.
And, finally, the thing I am most happy about now that the Finals are over. By my estimation, I have about four months before I am forced to endure the ridiculous "analysis" (focus on the anal part) from Pierre McGuire. There is no one who sucks the enjoyment out of a game more than he does. I assume most people watch McGuire in the same way that I do - essentially, I'm waiting for a player to turn around and punch him when he tries his buddy routine 3 seconds after trashing the guy for his play on the ice. I wouldn't mind McGuire's I-watched-all-these-guys-play-in-juniors-so-I'm-cool shtick if he was able to provide some insight. The other night, he pointed out that Pronger and Niedermayer switch sides when they move from even strength to the penalty kill. Ok, Pierre, why is that so special Doc Emerick asked? "Because it takes a lot of talent, which both those guys have." I am going to enjoy my 4 month vacation from that lame-ass crap. Oh please don't let this man near the entry draft.