I left early on work Friday to go home and watch the first official NHL event in about a year on television. Having seen the hometown Pittsburgh Penguins get shafted in the previous two draft lotteries (moving down last year to obtain Malkin instead of Ovechkin, and moving to third before trading up to get Mark Andre Fleury the year before) I was expecting the worst. I understand having a draft lottery in necessary in sports to prevent teams from doing what the Penguins did in the early 80s (tanking the last part of the season to draft Lemieux) but no last place team has drafted first overall in the NHL since the inception of the draft lottery. I know that this was a completely different scenario than most draft lotteries, but I still expected the outcome to be the same.
The tension mounted as every envelope was opened. Each one with a different logo not featuring a skating penguin. After the first 28 (or last 28) were opened, the anxiety really started to escalate. I raced upstairs to get my rolodex ready, so I can call the cell phones of my fellow penguin fans to spread the impending news, whether of the joyous or sorrowful nature. Then, after the longest commercial break ever, the envelope with the number one was opened, and I jumped ten feet in the air. After years of hard times in the steel city, the Penguins finally got a bouncing puck their way. The phenom knows as Crosby is coming to play for the pens.
I was as giddy as an art student on April 20th.
It didnt sink in for a few minutes, but I soon realized that this year I get to see Sydney Crosby skating on a line with Mario Lemieux in person at least 41 times. I salivate just typing those words. Add the additions of Mark Rechi, a deep free agent market, and the chance of Malkin coming over from Russia, and its enough to make a penguin fan have to change his pants.
Finally, my writing career has been jumped started. It had been really depressing before, constantly having to write about how bad things were in town and about the trading away of players left and right, and trying to put a sarcastic spin on it. The guy writing local obituaries in the paper was having more fun than I was with his writing.
But with Crosby in town, I now have the motivation to write weekly articles reminding others about how great he is, and about how he is not on your team. Im Back!!!
** *In my absence, there have been a few other sports stories I felt a need to touch on really quick:
***Danica Patrick is the woman athlete that the liberal / PC world has been waiting for. Unlike the female college place kickers, the Wie / Sorenstam golfers, and even the former 4th string goalie for Tampa Bay, she is a woman challenging in a mens event and excelling, instead of being just a side show attraction. Her competition with the men, instead of just involvement, will bring the Indy racing league the mainstream attention it deserves. The IRL is a (distant) second to hockey in terms of my sports attention, but it does fill a nice void during the off season, and everyone should check it out.
***Who else thinks that there was a conspiracy to have Crosby in Pittsburgh? Lets think about the facts about the other suspected cities he was suppose to go to:
*If he went to New York (either team), except for playoff time he would have been buried behind the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, and Knicks in the papers. He would not have helped spread hockey across the country there.
*I also hate to break the news to all of the Canadian fans, but you guys really like hockey. There, the secret is out. You will follow hockey with a passion no matter who is on the team, so Crosby would not have done too much for you up there.
*Look at the situation the Penguins are in now. The team needs a new arena, a new superstar to replace Lemieux when he retires again, and someone to put butts in the seats now. Crosby does all of those things. Plus, he ups the resale value of the franchise if an arena is not built within the next few years. I forget who it was on the radio, maybe Tim Benz on ESPN1250, who said that the league will be able to justify the lockout even more so with a last-to-first transformation of a team. Nothing better than that to help install the idea that every team is now a contender and who better to help the Penguins then the phenom? The addition of Crosby on his team will also increase the chances of Evgeni Malkin coming over from Russia to play in the NHL.
Plus, as mentioned before, no last place team has had the first pick since the lottery, yet in next weekends draft the last place team is picking first and the first place team is picking last. Interesting
But if there is a conspiracy and the Penguins benefit from it, all I have to say is LETS GO PENS!!!!!!!
Ian MacDonald was an aspiring writer until reality kicked in. Dreams of radio glory were soon replaced with the demand of a steady job. Now, all he does is run his sim league hockey team and manage a restaurant walking distance from where Sydney Crosby will play his home games, which he plans on attending most of. Well, its sort of managing. I mean, all I really do is yell art students about how stupid and useless they are.
Ian In The AM
Professional Sarcasm for
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