Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. tilt on NBC Sports Network, part of the NHL’s Stadium Series, will be the first outdoor game in league history played west of Calgary. Unless, like the Daily’s resident Canada expert Ed Ngai, you know where that is, just consider the frigid locations of the league’s previous outdoor showcases: Edmonton, Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Philadelphia and Ann Arbor. Those cities’ average winter low in 2013 was two below zero; LA has been in the 80s for much of this month.
It will takes time to build something that will last. The U.S. soccer team’s win over a German B team last Sunday wasn’t enough to make up for it’s loss to Belgium four days earlier, and the national team continues to tread water. While fans demand short-term success, it is a long-term vision that is really needed.
If he is introducing innovations to the American game that will resonate throughout the entire youth system, we probably won’t be able to tell the difference for at least a decade, probably more.
Thirteen months ago, I set a timer on my phone. It wasn’t reminding me to move my laundry over to the dryer and it wasn’t telling me that my time was up for that CS 107 practice final. It was a countdown to the start of the next NHL season, one that I started just minutes after the Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs.
There are a few differences between Daily editor-in-chief-to-be Ed Ngai and I that you should know about. I’m a Sharks fan; he’s a Canucks fan. My team just swept his in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I can’t help but write about the NHL right now, but he’s so sick of hockey that he probably won’t even read this column, despite my effort to include (poke fun at?) him in this paragraph.
Everybody’s new favorite Shark is one hell of a hammerhead.
Few NHL players hit like Raffi Torres. Maybe it’s his 6-foot, 225-pound frame, or his puck-hawk instincts, or his penchant for throwing an elbow every time he checks an opponent, but he’s the definition of a hockey player that you hate playing against—and you love to have skating on your side. Plus, he just looks mean.
Teammates and referees simply sat back and watched, letting the players fight it out, bare-knuckle style without helmets or gloves, for what felt like several minutes. And meanwhile, the 17,000 strong crowd bayed for their blood. Was I the only person who felt deeply uncomfortable about this?