Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/18/08 at 06:34 AM ET
From Brian Christ at the ABQ Journal.com,
One of the most revered traditions in sports is the handshake ceremony after each Stanley Cup playoff series, when the bloodied warriors on each team line up to offer congratulations to their foes for a job well done. Sportsmanship at its greatest.
It’s just seems incomprehensible, though, how guys who had just been knocking the pus out of each other can all of a sudden start hobnobbing. For me, it’s not uncommon to hold a grudge against someone who takes 3 minutes to heat a pile of rice in the office microwave.
So, is this on-ice glad-handing genuine?
Note: Accessing the complete text of the article above may present obstacles to some readers, so I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing the relevant excerpt below the “continue reading” link
Brian Propp, a five-time All-Star who played 15 years in the league, said that in the NHL, with all the money the players make and the respect they have for each other, the cordial feelings are legit.
But there’s also no doubt he’d love a chance to cross-check Chris Chelios into the path of a Zamboni to get even for a hit he took 19 years ago in the playoffs against Montreal.
“He tried to kill me,” Propp said in a recent phone interview. “He elbowed me from behind. I’m usually very friendly, but that was inexcusable, pretty nasty. And at the end of the series, he didn’t even show up to shake hands.
“Go look up ‘cheap shot’ on YouTube and you’ll find Chris Chelios right at the top.”
Actually, you have to scroll down a little.
It was with fisticuffs in mind that earlier this postseason I awaited after-series fireworks between Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and Rangers forward Sean Avery, who met in the first round. Avery obnoxiously spent much of his ice time in Jersey’s crease in an attempt to impair Brodeur’s vision.
After all was done, I waited for Brodeur to erupt. Instead he took the mealy way out by not acknowledging Avery in the receiving line. Boooo! Hisss! I didn’t pay my April cable bill to see that.
Something else you don’t see every day is a full-scale brawl, but former L.A. Kings forward Daryl Evans, who’s now in the team’s broadcast booth, said it happened during his youth in western Canada.
“I was with a minor bantam team in a tournament in Kamloops (British Columbia) and the handshake ceremony got a little ugly,” Evans laughed. “There were a couple of sucker punches— not toward me, though. And because you are a team, well, sometimes one hothead can get things rolling.”
Rob Blake, a current Kings defenseman who won a ring playing for Colorado in 2001, said the ceremony that hurt the most had nothing to do with grudges— but with blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Wild while with the Avalanche in 2003.
“Probably the worst was against Minneosta— just being on the ice for the (winning) goal and then you have to shake hands,” he said. “But you just wish them luck. ... It’s funny, but by time you make the NHL, most guys have been traded so you know some of them. You shake and move on. Sometimes someone will say, ‘I didn’t realize you played so hard.’ ‘’
Anyhow, the next chance we’ll get to witness such a ceremony comes today when Pittsburgh looks to oust Philadelphia. The Penguins hold a 3-1 series lead.
It could be good theater considering two players went off for fighting, there were three roughing infractions, two slashing penalties, another for call for charging and a 10-minute misconduct— all in the final 23 seconds of Thursday’s Game 4.
*more notes in the ABQ Journal on the NHL can be read here, but may require watching a brief advertisement to access the page.
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