Well folks, the Pittsburgh Penguins shot totals may lead to believe otherwise, but it's been 60 minutes of gameplay and I already resent the Stanley Cup Final.
I know what you are thinking, and you're wrong. I am not going to go on some long winded diatribe about how the NHL's rules allowed for their biggest game of the year to be slowed to a snail's pace by what felt like 800 wholly disputable replays. I'm not going to bitch and moan that - while supposedly trying so desperately to increase scoring that they've considered stealing FIFA's used nets - the league whose relative success comes despite itself spent a relative eternity squinting at a half inch worth of ice only to retract a goal that was scored two change of possessions later. Nope, this play right here - that wasn't even deemed problematic prior to the institution of painfully counterproductive offsides challenges - is not what has me ready to throw my hands up at the incompetence of the NHL...
In fact, it's not even the officiating that - while not as overtly biased as people would like to make it seem - let it's temporary one-sidedness completely swing a game in favor of the team that had next to no business winning it. I'd love to tell you that the two minute minor for (almost) interfering with a player that forgot, if only for one second, how to skate is what had me sitting on my couch repeatedly slamming my head against the back of the wall because - by the NHL's own admission - that's not a surface deemed solid enough to cause head injuries. It would be way too easy to say that the 5-on-3 that was the result of James Neal's repetitive refusal to think before he acts should have been brought to a premature end by the elbow of a player whose "continuation" bred inconsistency that left a shorthanded team more vulnerable than Marc-Andre Fleury's ever-so-stabbable back. This sequence of events could be, and should be, what had me angrily putting down my beer too quickly only to have to clean up the ensuing foam...
Now granted, everything you just saw allowed an increasingly hatable team - that more often than not gets the bounce (i.e. call) they need - to win a game in which they spent more time going shotless than the friend that agrees to come off as long as you don't peer pressure him into drinking on your birthday. There are rebellious Mormons that took more regrettable end-of-MDW shots than the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. Yet, here we are talking about how they are inexplicably up 1-0 in a series they appeared to be so absent from that the man tasked with keeping them away from the cookie jar must have fallen asleep on the long arm of the law of averages...
So yeah, maybe the NHL's insistence on stepping on the foot of it's own product is what should have me feeling daze and confused this morning. However, what really has me lost in the clouds is having to try to explain an inexplicable game the morning after abusing my brain cells with so much alcohol that I think beer vendors should face supplemental discipline from the Department Of Writer Safety. Honestly, there's probably a better chance of that happening then the NHL going three whole periods without making it's under-appreciated fan base understand why it's growth is more stunted than my current motor skills.