By Rob Kotaska
I am not giving up on the Predators by any means. Though they are down 3-1 in the Western Semis they have a puncher’s chance. As consistent as the Coyotes have been, they are far from elite. If Nashville can play like they did in the Game 4 loss, it is easy to see them moving onto the Western Conference Finals. One game at a time, that has to be the focus. It is hard to believe with Barry Trotz as coach they will not be ready for that reality.
Even if the Preds cannot move on, I have a team to root for: the Los Angeles Kings. While watching Dustin Brown being interviewed after the Kings dispatched the Blues in 4 games it occurred to me that if the Kings win the Cup, that Lord Stanley’s trophy will likely be heading to the jewel of the Finger Lakes: Ithaca, NY.
One of the great traditions of the Stanley Cup is that each player gets to take ownership of the Cup for a day. The players usually bring it home to celebrate with family, friends, and more often than not the public. If the Kings win it all and the Cup is in 14850, then you can be sure my family will be there.
Lately my son James has been making noise about wanting to play hockey. At four he has miles to go. Skating lessons will start this fall, followed by basics. He has been told that if he chooses to play hockey that is it. He nods his head and gives me a look of determination. James has loved the sport since he was an infant. I used to plop him in front of the TV on his “lily pad” when the Sabres were on. His eyes would grow wide as he tracked the puck. Every time hockey is on, which has been often this post-season (thank you again NBC) he will end up glued to the television more often than not.
If the Kings win, if Dustin brings that Cup home, and if James had a chance to touch it…I think it could be one of those moments that would sear hockey into his heart for life, not only as a player, but as a fan. It gives me chills to imagine such a scene. It feels good to have another team in the race, this one for the heart.
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