If Minnesota really is “The State of Hockey,” then anyone who watched yesterday’s outdoors hockey game in Buffalo between Pittsburgh and the Sabres, spent most of the time up to their garter belts in memories (yeah, hockey players wear garter belts).
There was a time when this was the way hockey was played — outdoors, on ponds, in snow, and with additional rules (any puck that drops in open water is automatic icing) and odd equipment (we used comic books taped underneath our pants as shin guards).
They were the best of times. And yet, a line in today’s Associated Press story on the game jumped off the page as if to scream “this is what’s wrong with hockey!”
Playing at the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and in elements way more suited for football than hockey, Crosby won the NHL’s second outdoor game — and first in the United States — in dramatic fashion.
Oh dear. More suited for football than hockey???? Hockey isn’t a winter sport anymore? The real snow warriors are football players now?
This is what indoor hockey, Zamboni machines, warm dressing rooms, and youth hockey leagues have given us. Minnesota, save yourselves while you still can.
Bring back the open water icing rule and comic-book kneepads!
(Photo: Dave Sandford, Getty Images)