Friday, February 5, 2010

In Which The Devils Shock Just About Everybody

I was planning on spending most of this entry talking about a number of different things, including the preview I wrote for tonight's Blackhawks-Coyotes game. But last night that became only the second-most important item of hockey news this week.

Yeah. I know.

Most of you don't watch or care about hockey, which, frankly, you should. But whether or not you watch it doesn't change the fact that the Devils acquired Ilya Kovalchuk for the stretch run last night. Any way you want to cut it, New Jersey, rather uncharacteristically, threw the power structure of the Eastern Conference completely out of whack last night. Washington and Pittsburgh still have to be considered the elite teams that a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals runs through, but the Devils have thrust themselves into that discussion.

Kovalchuk, who has scored 50 goals in a season twice, something no Devil has ever done, adds a dynamic force the likes of which New Jersey has never had on offense, and with him and Zach Parise winging on the top line, and the Devils featuring the eternal Martin Broduer in net, suddenly this team is a balanced force to be reckoned with.

And personally, this excites me tremendously because I will be seeing Kovalchuk's third game with New Jersey on Monday in Philadelphia, and lo and behold, the tickets to Team No. 31 have arrived.

I know, going to the most evil sports city in America wearing the other team's colors in a sport typified by bruising play and violence may seem even dumber than completely ruining one of America's most historically cherished and popular boardgames. And no one would be stupid enough to do that. But I hardly think I'll be putting my life in my hands, and now that the Devils have made a move to truly throw them into the Stanley Cup discussion, I'm even more excited to make the trip.

After all, the Devils may not draw as well as some teams, but unlike a certain baseball team I follow, at least the Devils don't unnecessarily remind you of past heartache for no reason whatsoever.

In other news, the NFL released the logo for Super Bowl XLV, to be held next year in North Texas. It's a little too monolithic for my taste, but I ought to get used to it because rumor has it every Super Bowl logo will look like this going forward, with the only changes being the number and the stadium in the background.

The Super Bowl will never be held in Green Bay, so they won't have to worry about putting Lambeau Field in the background, but you all might want to take a second glance at my story on the Packers, which I updated earlier this week after coming across photos I completely forgot I had taken. The words are all the same, but new pictures abound so go take a look.

Finally, on a personal note -- and not the kind of personal note that involves sending a giant talking sausage to show your love on Valentine's Day -- the destruction of Giants Stadium has begun, and while I don't have the same emotional connection to this building that I do for Shea Stadium, it is still a place I have made countless memories. The building will certainly be an upgrade, but seeing pictures of the Giants' home torn down is still another reminder that my childhood is now long gone.

It's a maudlin thing to watch, but we all move on. And on the plus side, I now have a new stadium to see this fall that won't require a particularly long trip. I only wish the Giants could have given it a more proper sendoff.

Super Bowl XLIV is but two days away. My incorrect prediction is coming. Until then, enjoy your Friday, everyone.

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