Why the Stanley Cup is the Greatest Trophy in Sports

Stanley-CupThe Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight, and although my dearly loved New York Rangers will not be part of the contest this time, the Cup itself is still majestic and magnificent — and simply the best trophy in all of sports.

The 1993-'94 Rangers' names on the Cup
The 1993-’94 Rangers’ names on the Cup

It is a thing of beauty (unlike that… object that gets foisted on the winner of the World Cup) and simplicity (unlike the Commissioner’s Trophy in Major League Baseball), and everybody who wins it gets his name engraved on it forever. It’s not just a hunk of metal that gets passed around each year (unlike the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy). It’s a prize that is imbued with the spirit of the victors; every player becomes part of the Cup, literally and figuratively.

It’s the hardest prize to win, but unquestionably worth it.

Click on the link to see a brilliant cartoon infographic from The Nib that distills the Stanley Cup’s riveting history into pictures.

You can watch the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning begin the best-of-seven series tonight.

Ice Hockey — in Africa!

Forget the Jamaican bobsled team — when it comes to an unlikely sport in an unusual place, I think ice hockey in Kenya takes the cake! I love NHL hockey and think more people need to embrace the sport. The league needs this kind of dedication.

There is only one place in the entire country to play hockey on ice — the Panari Hotel in the capital city, Nairobi — but enthusiasts also play on inline skates. In an odd coincidence, “Nairobi” translates from the local Maasai language as “cool water”!

Peyton & Eli: Rapping Redux

NFL quarterback brothers Peyton and Eli Manning are at it again: shilling for DirecTV with another fun rap performance, this one called “Fantasy Football Fantasy” and promoting a new all-fantasy football channel. The Super Bowl-winning bros are hilarious together:

In case you thought you recognized a few other faces — aside from Hall of Famer Joe Namath, that is — the Mannings are joined by current Giants players Justin Pugh and Will Beatty as well as recent retiree Chris Snee, and current N.Y. Jets running back Chris Johnson. And, of course, there’s a cameo by the legend himself, Archie Manning.

As a reminder, here’s another look at last year’s promo, “F.O.Y.P.” (or “Football On Your Phone”):

Rangers Reveal Goalie Masks for the New Season

 

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of my beloved New York Rangers released images of the mask he will wear for the 2014-’15 season, and it looks like a stripped-down, simplified version of previous masks. It doesn’t seem as “busy” to me. King Henrik’s mask has his usual stylized crown on the front, with the Statue of Liberty on each side. As a hidden message, the three crowns on the mask (his, and the twin Lady Libertys) pay homage to the three crowns on the Swedish flag, (the “Tre Kronor”).

The mask was designed and painted by Dave Gunnarsson, who does a lot of work for NHL goalies.

 

camtalbotBackup goaltender Cam Talbot also has a new design ny Ginnarsson, this one paying homage to the New York-based comedy classic Ghostbusters.

USA About to Mix It Up in FIFA World Cup

klinsmannSo… yay?

For fans here in America, the contrast between last week’s thrilling, edge-of-your-seat excitement and non-stop, breakneck action during the Stanley Cup Finals and the actually-see-the-grass-grow-on-the-pitch dullness of the soccer tournament could not be more obvious.

So, with Team USA about to take the field pitch against Ghana without Landon Donovan, the greatest international player in American history, the big question is, Will the Americans be able to score a single goal before being booted from the tourney?
Continue reading “USA About to Mix It Up in FIFA World Cup”

The One Super Bowl Commercial I Want to See

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday, one of the most sacred days of the year in America! The big game will pit the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks — the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense; the irresistible force vs. the immovable object. Who will win? I hope it’s the Broncos, but I won’t be too broken up if it’s the Seahawks, because, without my New York Football Giants playing… who really cares? (Even if it is in the Jints’ home stadium.)

What I do care about is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Marvel Studios has promised a bombastic ad during the game this evening — I hope the video can deliver. Here is a 16-second teaser… a commercial for the commercial, if you will. Enjoy!

Cap, Widow, Falcon, Nick and the Winter Soldier will all be there when C:TWS opens on April 4.

 

Matt Cooke: Once a Hockey Goon, Always a Hockey Goon?

Anyone who still doubts that NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan is really really bad at his job comes Reason No. 345,458,945,678 why Shanahan needs to be fired: He thinks it’s perfectly fine that Pittsburgh Penguins assassin thug goon forward Matt Cooke sliced the Achilles’ tendon of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, ending the star’s season.

That’s right; the head of the department of player safety doesn’t think cutting 70 percent of a player’s Achilles’ tendon is an issue.

Judge for yourself: The incident first happens about 7 seconds into this clip, but watch for replays from different angles that show a clear stomping motion by Cooke.


Continue reading “Matt Cooke: Once a Hockey Goon, Always a Hockey Goon?”