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Hockey takes a deep breath in June

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun deemed Thursday's 6-5 Chicago Blackhawks overtime win to be the, "Firewagon Hawks return[ing] with a vengeance."

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons and the Hockey News's Ken Campbell praised the game as NBA scoring on ice with hockey's intensity added to the mix, and the Sporting News's Jesse Spector wondered if the game's entertainment factor will allow this series to out-shine the NBA final.

USA Today's Kevin Allen and CBS Sports' Adam Gretz noted that the reunion of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews paid off in a big way for Chicago.

Sportsnet's Mark Spector suggested that the Hawks rediscovered what makes them successful, ESPN's Scott Burnside deemed the game to be an "epic," SI's Brian Cazenueve noted that the Hawks capitalized on the Bruins' mistakes, SI's Sarah Kwak noted that Corey Crawford's terrible habit of cocking his glove like Marc-Andre Fleury before dropping the cuff and changing the angle of his hand is an exploitable weakness, and Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika noted that the Blackhawks actually seemed to be having fun while proving that this series is, as they say, "going long" (and if you live in Southeastern Michigan, rut roh, WDIV won't air Game 6).

As a slightly burnt-out blogger who's found out how incredibly mentally draining his boss's job is over the past three days...

As a Red Wings fan first, a hockey fan second, and a pretend professional hockey person for the past seven years third (I have no stake in this series: it's lose-lose either way as an old division rival will win its second Cup in four seasons, or a new division rival will win its second in three seasons)...

And as someone rambling at 4:54 AM...

Put simply, I think we all needed that, though I'm sure that you're pissed off and/or disappointed with the result (and understandably so) if you're a Bruins fan.

I love watching Patrice Bergeron's two-way hockey mastery. I love watching Dennis Seidenberg subtly help Zdeno Charra be the dominant defenseman he is.

But the Boston Bruins succeed by checking the *#$%@& out of their opponents and winning low-scoring, physically pounding and sometimes *#$%@& boring, mind-numbing hockey.

I admire Patrick Sharp and while I think he sounds like a toothless old man when he speaks, I'm impressed by Duncan Keith's play, but I also know that the high-flying Blackhawks prefer to play a checking game as well. While they may come in offensive waves at times, they seem to prefer to lurk in the weeds, keeping the game close until they explode offensively with a decisive goal or two, and once they're done scoring?

Check check check check check. They didn't defeat Darryl Sutter's trap machine that is the Los Angeles Kings by not knowing how to play defensive hockey.

Those of us who love the game watch it no matter what, but we've been watching two months' worth of a defensive grind, at least the vast majority of the time...

But, on Wednesday, the dogs somehow got loose from their coaches' leashes, and they ran, they ran, and they ran some more.

It was wild, wacky, fun, and like watching a pair of powerhouse puck possession teams rockin' and rollin' and playing like both everything was on the line and like they were genuinely enjoying what they were doing, despite playing on June fricking 19th (moohahah, training camps begin on September 10-13).

It was as if hockey itself exhaled and took in a deep breath to prepare for the final three games of this series--and it seems likely to go six or seven--and I think we needed the fresh air.

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Comments

Ajax19's avatar

While i would probably prefer to see Boston win over Chicago, my view on almost any playoff series NOT involving the Red Wings is simple: 

I want whatever result will lead to more hockey.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/20/13 at 08:23 AM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com