So I had started to do a long-winded piece on the problems the NHL has had in presenting the games, both in the arenas and on television, and you know what? I decided that I don't care. Not now.
The league has botched the marketing of the game for years, the Garden has whitewashed their game presentation so its bland fodder for corporate clients and I don't care. Not now.
The officiating has been ... well, I won't even get started on that one.
We may sit on the eve of something pretty damn impressive, so why should we bitch endlessly about things out of our control? That does include officiating, by the way - every blog on the web can complain about the ineptness of the refs and that won't sway Gary Bettman, so at this point, why bother?
This is the time of year that hockey players show distinction from their fellow athletes by toughing it out. Broken bones, open wounds ... who cares: The Stanley Cup is in sight.
Now is the time for us, as fans, to tough it out. The pitiful officiating isn't going to change their ways (unless Sean Avery dares to try something else new), the droll game night operations folks aren't going to get any better, the inept, annoying colour commentators on television aren't going to become any more watchable.
Deal with it. You have to, and you know why? Because the excitement that they try so hard to manufacture is already there. You bring it. I bring it. We all bring it.
Thunderous ovations, nail-biting silences, unadulterated joy, crushing misery. It's all there and it all starts with the determination of the players and is reinforced with our passion. And that is something that the commissioner has never understood. You can't force that upon the unwilling; that depth of emotion is instilled in the fabric of the game and it calls to those who truly get it - those who appreciate every blocked shot, every clearing pass, every hit, every shift. That's us, and that is something they won't take away from us. It survived the goons. It survived the trap. It survived the lockout.
We are in the throes of the playoffs folks and when that beautiful, beautiful trophy is raised in the air none of the petty nonsense will matter anymore. So suck it up, quit your crying and let's just enjoy some hard-fought, leave-it-all-on-the-ice hockey.
I reserve the right to take everything I just wrote back the second the refs buy into another one of Mmmmmaaaaarrrttttyyy's dives and it costs us the game.