Hockey is officially over. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on Wednesday by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime. It only took 49 years since the last win!
The Finals certainly offered something for everyone. Great action. Plenty of goals. Hitting. Hatred between the two teams. Chris Pronger being made fun of in the Chicago Tribune. Marian Hossa finally being on the winning side of things after losing out with two other teams the previous two years. Players making stupid comments about Chris Pronger. Jeremy Roenick getting teary eyed and choked up because he never won the Cup.
But now it's over. Hockey is done and training camp won't start for three more months. In between is the draft on June 25 and 26 and free agency begins on July 1. Until then, what is a hockey fan to do?
Watch the NBA Finals? I don't think so. There just isn't the edge of your seat excitement in the final minutes as the clock ticks down in the game. In the NBA, the final two minutes takes about 30. After all the stops and starts and free throws and delay tactics, any build up of tension or suspense is long since gone.
So who would have guessed that FIFA World Cup Soccer could be a nice transition into the off-season?
Having seen the Mexico vs. South Africa match and the US vs. England match, both have been enjoyable to watch and filled with plenty of end to end action, good goaltending, the occasional save off the goal post and periodic diving to embellish minor infractions. So far so good. OK, I have never heard a constant buzzing in a hockey arena that sounds like horde of angry mosquitoes of Biblical plague proportion, but eventually you tune that out, sort of like small annoying children you have to live with.
Both games have proved exciting, and while not high-scoring, it makes it even more interesting when the ball does go in the net. Or even when it comes close.
It's not hockey, but it sure is a lot of fun and it will help to pass the time away during the great hockey drought known as the off-season.