The seventh game of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final has already been played in the recesses of minds and in recreation rooms and on driveways and rutted roads and in the temporary rinks that sprout in city parks during the northern winters.
Joe Louis Arena is no different than
On Friday night, shortly after 8 p.m. in a city dizzy with expectation, the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be their stand-ins, proxies for anyone who loves a magnificent sport. This is their right after a nearly two-month trek through some of the hardest hockey you can imagine. And it is our privilege to watch them.
Stuart is a defenseman for the Red Wings, but he first won a Game 7 of the Cup final for the Calgary Flames when he was seven. He was
The Cup is a tough thing to win, even if there is nobody in the opposing net.
This is the joy of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup: around 11 p.m., or later if the Red Wings and Penguins produce the first overtime game of the series, players will line up, shake hands and the 2008-09 season will have its champion. There will be a blessed finality, a winner and loser, the kind of definitive answer that is one of the primary reasons in a gray-tinted world that we turned to sports in the first place.
The one-game-for-the-championship might run counter to NHL culture -- "This is unique because it always seems we have another game," Detroit defenseman
For a hockey fan, Game 7 is the apex of the sport, a crashing final chord after a long crescendo. But even for someone who doesn't follow hockey but was born with the sports gene, there is nothing more satisfying than this game. To borrow from the NBA, basically Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is the last two minutes. There is no need to have invested emotionally in the NHL.
To enjoy this match, you don't have to know about the sudden celebrity of Penguins star
"The anticipation," replied
There is no certainty that this match, which speaks to both the child within and our adult need for answers, will produce a classic. Detroit coach
Indeed, Game 7s in penultimate series have burrowed deeper in my memory bank than those of the Cup Final. Of the Game 7s I have witnessed, the two most extraordinary were the Rangers' win that actually took them to the final in 1994 --
But in a series in which four of the first six games between the defending champion Red Wings or perhaps the impending champion Penguins have been grand theater, odds are that something worthy of the evocative phrase "Game 7" will occur.
Saturday morning, summer starts.