While waiting for Game 6, it's time for another all-hockey mailbag:
I ragged you all season for dissing the Flyers and their fans while you supported that twit sport, the NBA. How does it feel to be the ultimate bandwagoneer? Don't you wish you had kept the faith all along? Should the Flyers manage to go all the way, this will be one of the greatest storybook seasons since the Bad News Bears.
I don't remember dissing the Flyers so much as the NHL and its boring out-of-market games. But you're right about me not being a huge hockey guy and hopping on the bandwagon. It's been an incredible series, and I understand now why Flyers fans are so loyal. If Gary Bettman could somehow guarantee that regular season games are as dramatic as what we've seen during the Stanley Cup, I'd be in. Until then . . .
Liked the BNB reference. Maybe Ed Snider can get Walter Matthau to attend Game 6 as a good luck charm. Is he still alive? Matthau, I mean, not Snider.
Since Game 1 was the highest-rated Stanley Cup Finals game in 12 years or so, it seems pretty clear that scheduling the start of the Finals for Memorial Day weekend was a (no doubt unwitting) stroke of genius by the NHL. Obviously the fact that it's a series between two large, old-school, rust-belt NHL cities with, um, shall we say enthusiastic fans, has played a significant role in those achievements. But you can't argue with the numbers.
Actually, you can argue with the numbers. Just because they had the highest rating in years doesn't mean much. The first game did a 2.8. That's about what you get for bad original cable series on USA or Lifetime. By comparison, Game 4 of the Finals got beaten in the ratings by the National Spelling Bee. It's all relative.
Imagine how much better the NHL might have done if it hadn't held the series opener on Memorial Day weekend when casual fans were preoccupied with barbecuing and the beach. It was a bad strategy. The league can use all the help it can get to improve its TV viewership.
You reported that Chicago radio host Dan McNeil wrote a column for the Tribune about attending a Stanley Cup game at the Wachovia Center. He described one local woman as "220 unattractive pounds, but with a neatly trimmed beard." McNeil added, "If you're considering opening a Lane Bryant store, this is as good a place as any."
Chicago seems to be more than an hour behind the times. The Friday Inquirer noted that a Lane Bryant commercial "featuring a plus-size model in slinky lingerie" was turned down by ABC because it was too sexy. Fox initially turned it down but eventually ran it during American Idol. The commercial went viral with over three million views on YouTube (including mine). Anyway, McNeil's one to talk. Carl Sandberg didn't call Chicago the "City of the Big Shoulders" for nothing.
I'm all for teasing other cities and fan bases. My issue with McNeil's column was how supercilious and earnest it felt. A little humor and self-deprecation go a long way.
Re: Lane Bryant commercial. I totally missed it. The Stanley Cup has taken away from the time I previously devoted to my soft-core smut studies.
I think down deep inside it's every true Philly fan's core fear: winning the big one. There's no place to go but down after that. That's why coming in an agonizingly close second is the best long-term strategy. Then there's always hope. Hope is spiritual and not material. It's a basic tenet of Quaker philosophy. Andy Reid knows this.
While I dig the sarcasm and humor, I think Philly fans got over that weird mental tick two years ago when the Phils won the World Series and ended the drought. If the Flyers win the Cup, people will have no trouble enjoying themselves at the parade.
Anyway, if you hear a knock at the door soon, don't answer it. After that crack you made about the Birds, Joe Banner and his thugs (Swoop and Dave Spadaro) are almost certainly trying to track you down.
While I believe that Bernie did refer to "the boys" (love when he says that), I have a hard time believing he actually typed LOL in Talkin'. Please confirm. And I'd enjoy Bernie's comments more if you wrote them with his accent. "Slash to de net and dey somehow get oben." Isn't there some type of app for dat?
Bernie has used LOL several times since joining Team Talkin'. I was surprised, too.
I'm stealing your Bernie translator app idea. It's worth millions.
Den I keen finally kweet Page 2, eh?