Currie’s Corner 622, May 10, 2018
Allow me a few more loving words about ‘Canada’s Hockey Team’ , and I’m not talking about the impressive squad who are trying to win a world championship in Europe.
I speak of the magnificent Winnipeg Jets who are continuing to make us proud and crazy on the prairies. It takes 16 victories in the post season to win the Stanley Cup, and Winnipeg’s finest are halfway there. Who on earth woulda thunk it ?
Now they’re battling a team made up of players who were more or less regarded as ‘expendable’ by 30 other clubs in the NHL. They are the Vegas Golden Knights, and again – who woulda thunk it? Winnipeg has ‘home ice advantage’, but we know what that was worth in round two against Nashville. One of the more intriguing storylines in that series was the connection to Finland, a country of less than six million people who continue to produce some truly amazing hockey players. 20 year old Patrik Laine of Finland is due for a goal scoring spree, but in his second season in the NHL he evolved into a more complete player, rather than just a prolific shooter from the point. Going back to the WHA days in the 1970’s, the old Winnipeg Jets were the first North American team to bring players over from Finland, with names like Heikki Riihiranta and Teppo Numminen. We had trouble pronouncing the names, let alone spelling them, but boy were they good on the ice.
Then there was Teemu Selanne, probably the most popular Winnipeg player of all time. He got a standing ovation during game six against Nashville, and that says so much about the community that welcomed him with open arms 26 years ago.
I do feel a bit sad right now for Pekka Rinne, the goaltender from Finland who had a terrible second round series with the Predators. In game seven he was pulled from the ice after just 10 minutes. Hey, the game was already lost, and there was no need to humiliate a player like that.
Onward and upward everybody !
I’m Roger Currie