Tuesday, August 3, 2010

June 16, 1998

This Thursday at 8:00pm, the NHL Network will air another game in its "Raising The Cup" series, which highlights the Stanley Cup clinching games from the last 35 years. Tonight, I'm watching the Devils sweep Detroit and win their first Stanley Cup with I can't believe I shook his freakin' hand Claude Lemieux winning the Conn Smythe.

But this Thursday will be something else entirely. It will mark the first time I've been able to watch Game 4 of the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals. It's the first time I've allowed myself to watch Steve Yzerman hoist The Cup on Verizon MCI Center ice. I'll have to watch Doug Brown and Martin LaPointe and woop woop Larry Murphy score on Olie Kolzig. I'll have to witness Chris Osgood holding his arms in the air as the clock counts down to zero. I'm really looking forward to watching.


You see, I want to see all of those things if it means I can see Brian Bellows score. If it means I can watch Olie at the pinnacle of his career. If I can see Ron Wilson coach his heart out. If I can watch that team just one more time. It was a fun team; a team built for playoff hockey and the closest any Caps team has ever come to the prize. As a Caps fan, I'll be a bit saddened that it didn't end the way it should have. But as a Caps fan, I love watching that team.

As a hockey fan, I'll look forward to seeing Vladimir Konstantinov, just one year removed from the horrific limo accident that nearly killed him and ended his career, holding The Cup once again. Moments like that don't happen much in professional sports and while I hated the Detroit Red Wings that summer, I couldn't help being a little happy for the spirit of 'team'.

So on a Thursday in August, the clock will be turned back to June 16, 1998. It should be a good evening.

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