Sometimes, when I watch North American sports, I cannot help but wonder what it is all for. You battle all season, then come the playoffs. For sports like baseball (162 regular season games) and basketball (82 games), the regular season seems endless. Then, according to the sport (notably not baseball), many teams qualify for the reward of playing in the playoffs. When it’s all over, the worst teams get the pick of the crop of young talent and the winning team gets the lesser picks. And, ultimately, everyone is supposed to get a crack at winning. Quite democratic and certainly makes every franchise a believer over time. One can understand the principle. Under those circumstances (and now even more so with the salary caps), it makes it all the more improbable to have longstanding winning streaks (New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens…).
This evening, the Anaheim Ducks may wrap up the Stanley Cup (one of the hardest fought championships you can ever want to win in ANY sport) and filibuster the Senators. Despite the Canadian talent ever present on the ice, the teams from the blistery north would, yet again, lose to a team from the US sunbelt (third in a row after Tampa Bay and Carolina). Hard to conceive. Based in Paris and following the ice hockey (and more miserably the Philadelphia Flyers), there is about as many people around me to share “passionate” discussion about hockey as there is in talking about the Grateful Dead. The only redeeming quality of this season, where the Flyers managed to finish DEAD last, is that the new draft is upcoming and that might bring new hope. The Flyers, brandishing a new website (sign of the spring cleaning?), are readying themselves for the new era — one cannot imagine that a franchise team such as the Flyers will allow a consecutive dismal performance. My hope is reignited.