Saturday, 22 April 2017

Real Contempt

I really tire of those people preaching how the current format of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs have ruined any chance of the best two teams in each conference reaching the conference finals. This isn't something new, folks. The Smythe Division had the same problem in the 1980s. The Adams and Patrick Divisions faced the same problems in the early-1990s. Just be thankful it's nothing like what the ECHL puts its teams through when it comes to the number of times the teams see one another over the season. That's where real contempt for one another is found.

When the dust settled on the ECHL season this year, the Kelly Cup Playoffs pitted the top-ranked Florida Everblades against the Orlando Solar Bears in the opening round. These two teams had already met TWELVE TIMES this season with Florida holding a 10-2 advantage in the season series, including the final game of where the Blades hung ten goals on netminder Mitch Gillam. I'm pretty certain that's an ingredient in the contempt these two teams may have for one another.

But, as they say, the postseason wipes the slate clean and everyone starts with the same record. Where there might be lingering hatred and a feeling of vengeance, those feelings are replaced by efforts on the ice where revenge is best served up on the scoreboard. Orlando certainly believes in that mantra as they claimed Games One and Two in this series to go up 2-0 in the series, equaling their total wins versus Florida in twelve attempts this season. Florida won Game Three by a 5-4 score to make it a 2-1 series in favour of the Solar Bears, but tonight's game was off the charts when it came to entertainment value.

With Ryan Massa looking to post his third win and the Solar Bears leading 3-0 late in Game Four, we took a wee break from the hockey action to bring you that hatred and contempt. Jump to the 3:30 mark to see the fun!

Wowzers. Not only did we get a full line brawl, but both Ryan Massa and Alex Nedeljkovic engaged in the all-too-rare goaltender fight! Both Massa and Nedeljkovic were given game misconducts, but it's pretty clear that the Florida Everblades weren't very happy being pushed to the brink of elimination in this series after dominating the Orlando Solar Bears all season. Needless to say, this rivalry just moved to a different level for the remainder of the Kelly Cup series.

11 misconducts. A goalie fight. And they do it all over again tomorrow at 4pm. Yeah, playoff hockey is pretty darn awesome!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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