NHL: To Watch or Not to Watch the Immature and Energetic

Peter BojarinovAnalyst IMarch 20, 2008

Last night, I was watching the New Jersey Devils play the New York Rangers. It was quite the exciting game. The one most of the older generation hockey fans love to watch, with back and forth action, fighting, hitting, very few calls, huge chances, and great goaltending.

I kept glancing at another game, the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Buffalo Sabres. After two periods the score was 4-1 for the visiting Lightning.

Flipping between the two games, the Devils-Rangers game was full of amazing plays.  In the end the score was 2-1, ending in a shootout. That means only two goals were scored during the game. Yet it was still exciting; those kind of games will always be classic to watch.  

Then I went back to the game in Buffalo at HSBC arena, where the fans are wild. I've been to a few games there, and they've been doing well; selling out almost every game, a full crowd yelling at every play, this city and team has really turned it around since a few years ago.

So the score was 4-1 in favour of Tampa Bay with five minutes already gone in the third period. The rush from the young, spirited Sabres was about to begin.

A simple faceoff win and push to the net by Paul Gaustad was followed by Jason Pominville tipping it in the puck just enough, and then it goes by Kari Ramo, the Lightning goaltender.

Then off the next faceoff Buffalo wins it, and dumps the puck into the Tampa Bay zone. Jochen Hecht collects it in the corner circles out, and then fires it past Ramo. 

Then it was the Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford show, or as I like to call it DDT time (Some youngsters might be thinking the wrestling version, which was also derived from the same thing. Though really I'm talking about dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a synthetic insecticide, a highly toxic poison toward a wide variety of insects.) As soon as these guys were spread on the ice on top of the Lightning players, it was over. The DDT line jumped on the ice and killed what was left of the Lightning. The line played the puck through and around the defense until Roy finally got the puck at the top of the right circle, fired it away and was deflected off of Vanek into the back of the net.

Tie game, 4-4, but the Sabres were not done. Two minutes later, the same line was on the ice. Stafford passed to Roy in front to Vanek, and he put the puck home.

Then again about three minutes later, Stafford to Roy, who fires it, and Vanek tips it into the open side of the net. The Sabres would then add an empty net goal to seal it.

Final score: 8-4, Buffalo over Tampa Bay.

This is how a few of the games have gone the past two years with teams with the zeal and the exuberance, of teams like Buffalo and Los Angeles. It's not just that they have that quick one or two goals. It's also that they've comeback from behind in third period games, versus teams like the Ottawa Senators, the Detroit Redwings...the list goes on. These young players are a delight to watch, and while we watch their fantastic plays, their amazing goals, and their dynamic turnarounds in games, we also get to watch them grow.

So to watch a classic game, back and forth with the final score one to zero, or to watch two young teams burst on to the ice like a bat out of hell?

Well I would take the latter any day, even in the playoffs.