I’ll bet you thought that I was going to cover the Ilya Kovalchuk drama today didn’t you? Well I’m not. At least not yet. If you want to read about it, go here, and here. Otherwise, let’s move forward with the title of today’s post as I’m confident you’ll want to know the five teams I must see in person every season.
Before I get into this, let me explain that from 1982 to 1993 I was a full season ticket holder when I lived in Chicago, going to tons of Blackhawk games. 41 regular season games plus playoffs every year. Some years pretty deep, and some years, out of the playoffs pretty quick. Nonetheless, my brother and I saw alot of hockey. Western Conference style. Since moving to Florida, I’ve been a season seat holder for full seasons, partial seasons, and this coming year, a half season. Alot of games have been seen by these eyes, which have been aided by glasses for better vision.
Here’s my list of five must see teams:
1) Chicago Blackhawks. Of course. I lived there for 32 years. They have the best sweater in the game with that Indian head crest. It’s weird to see them come here to Florida as a visitor, but it’s a game that my family never misses whether it’s on our schedule of games or not. We make sure we get tickets for it. An original six team, the Hawks usually draw a pretty good crowd, and when they come to the Bank Atlantic Center this year, I would guess that the building will be almost at capacity. They are the defending Stanley Cup Champs you know! Kane and Toews,Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and now Marty Turco. For all the changes, they still are a very strong team. I will be there of course, with my Hawks sweater on.
2) Calgary Flames. Western Conference hockey. Something about it that I’ve always been fond of. Love the style, the hard hitting and the physical play. Calgary is a perfect example of a rough and tough style. Jarome Iginla is the captains captain. What a solid individual and great player. One of the top power forwards in the league, seeing him play is worth the price of admission. Fans in the East are deprived from seeing more of him. Plus I love the big C with the flames coming off of them. Oh yea, I get to boo Jay Bouwmeester every time he touches the puck. And believe me I did the last time they were here!
3) Toronto Maple Leafs. An original six team with as much history as the Blackhawks. There’s something in the air at the Bank Atlantic Center when the Leafs come to town. It doesn’t matter how bad they are, the building is full. Although it’s mostly full of Leafs fans, it’s almost a playoff like atmosphere. Almost. Usually the Panthers will allow the fans to come watch the morning skate on the day of the game. That’s always a cool thing to watch. Plus who doesn’t like a little truculence and belligerence every now and then?
4) Montreal Canadiens. Again, an original six team with an extremely rich history. Although they haven’t won a Cup since 1993, they are the last Canadien team to do so. It’s also another time that the “Bank” will be filled. Although mostly with French Canadiens, so what. I love watching a game in a packed arena. And like Toronto, we get two national anthems. For me, I’ll take that over a shootout any night. Just wish that Uncle Jack wasn’t behind that bench, but since they need someone who speaks French he got the job. Doesn’t mean he’s qualified. Hey, my daughter speaks French, what about her?
5) Philadelphia Flyers. An Eastern Conference team that has a pretty good rivalry with the Florida Panthers which started back in 1996 during the Panthers Stanley Cup run. It has now escalated even more with the Mike Richards hit on David Booth last year. Every time Philly comes to town, you can expect alot of physical play, some real nastyness and for the most part a competitive game. Oh, yea. Let’s not forget the Philly fans in the crowd. Not always the most polite, and sometimes a little overwhelming. C’mon, don’t treat beating the Panthers like you just won the Stanley Cup. It’s only the Panthers. Plus don’t you love to hate Chris Pronger!
So, what five games are on your list?
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