We love these playoffs, we really do. Honest. Cross our hearts and hope to
become Rangers fans die. We’ll be happy when any one of the four teams still playing wins the Cup, even the Vegas Tranny Bride Flyers (if you can call what they’ve been doing the last two games “still playing”). That said… there’s just nothing to say. The playoffs as they stand right now are perfectly cromulent and we’re perfectly content with them. However, contentment doesn’t put blog posts on the table. Happiness does, though, and so we’re setting our Playoff Goggles to “Time Machine” mode and are turning our sights to the season past. It took us an entire hour-long pizza lunch to find five things we really truly enjoyed about this season but find five things we did. Today we present Day 2 of our five day mini-series, “NHL 07-08 Regular Season: Through a Lens Playoff Goggle-ly”.
Day 2: Malkin
As Devils fans we inherently dislike all superstars. It’s in our genetic code along with liking soul-killing defense, Doc Emrick, and forwards who are too small for any other team. Since the lockout there has been an influx of much-heralded new superstars into the NHL, and we’ve been very obediently and predictably REFUSING every one of them. However, each season back has seen us ever so slowly relenting on just one new superstar — in 2006 it was Eric Staal, and in 2007 it was Sid. 2008 should have been Ovechkin’s year, but it seems we only have so much capacity for agreeing with overhype, all of which we spent on Sid. We were beginning to think that this year was going to be the season we returned to our old bitter, hateful selves. It was with great (dare we say it, pleasant?) surprise, then, that we discovered sometime in the dog days of midwinter that we no longer hated a certain Russian wearing 71 with the Penguins.
There are a lot of reasons we shouldn’t like Evgeni Malkin. He’s not hott, for starters. When he succeeds, he draws hype away from our favorite breathlessly overpraised savior-of-the-NHL, Sid. His own hype seems to center around one and only one story — he doesn’t speak English. (Seriously, so what?) But worst of all, he’s a bona fide Marty killer. We’ve hated plenty of hockey players for a lot less than that. For some reason, though, we found ourselves focusing on the reasons we should like Malkin. Like that he wasn’t a guy who’s name rhymed with “Bly Blonklin” during Ty Conklin’s Reign of Overhype Terror. Nor does his name rhyme with “Blyan Blalone”, “Bletr Blykora”, or “Blary Bloberts”. We’ve loved plenty of hockey players for a lot less than that. No, wait — we’re trying to be positive here. We decided we liked Malkin — just liked, mind you. No Sid levels of love for Geno — because he’s a pretty damn kick-ass hockey player who gets praised for the elements of his game that we personally appreciate. There is no outlandish exuberance from the media about shit like fighting, or running-around-out-of-position hitting, or idiotic and showboaty shot-blocking, or me-first antics, or proscriptions from the TV people about how anyone who is a hockey fan should like the guy. It’s just jaw-dropping talent. Pure and simple. In a season that has left us grasping at straws when trying to think of things we liked, we’ll take that.