Tag Archives: playoffs

How David Volek became synonymous with playoff hockey

Image

Andrew McGilligan | One Volek In Time

At the age of 12 years old, I became aware of David Volek.

In fact, he’s become somewhat of a folk hero to me. If it weren’t for Volek, my greatest hockey memory may not have happened.

On June 9, 1993, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Volek was nowhere near the ice of the Montreal Forum when this happened. No Volek’s contribution to this moment, the greatest one for me as a life-long Habs fans, happened almost a month earlier on May 14. With a well-placed one-timer, Volek and the New York Islanders eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins – correction, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Volek’s goal paved the way for the Habs to win the Stanley Cup with a series of amazing overtime wins. Had Volek not scored that goal, I truly believe the Habs would have been overmatched against the Pittsburgh and not captured their 24th title in franchise history.

Just look at the Penguins roster from that season which included four 100-point scorers – including 160 from Mario Lemieux. Of note, Jaromir Jagr was not among the four 100-point getters, he finished with 94.

Compare that to the Habs to scorers which included zero 100-point players (Vincent Damphousse and Kirk Muller were three and six points away, respectively).

The goal was jaw-dropping at the time and has come to symbolize what I love about playoff hockey. There’s really no way the Islanders should have won that series and that goal resulted in one of the truly amazing playoff upsets. However, Volek’s marker has been somewhat marginalized due to the unlikely overtime heroics of the Canadiens during their Cup run (10 OT wins in the playoffs)and the fact it was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup.

Despite all that, Volek’s goal epitomizes playoff hockey. It was the shocking moment, the embodiment of the ‘anything can happen in the postseason’ cliché that gets thrown around too often.

All this to say, I’m always reminded of Volek every time I sit down to watch playoff hockey. I revert to being a 12-year-old kid watching the playoffs hoping to witness a miracle.

Tagged , , , , ,

Reggie Ain’t Right: An Argument Against the Asterisk

Image

Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

“It doesn’t prove nothing.”

“That was a lockout season.”

Those were the comments of Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans when asked by the Daily News what it would mean to defeat the defending champion Miami Heat in an NBA regular season game earlier this year.

Evans is putting forward the asterisk argument, one that has gotten very popular in the past few years.  The asterisk argument means an accomplishment – be it an individual one or team – is made less because of varying circumstances. In the Evans case, he regards the Heat’s championship as devalued because it occurred during a shortened season due to a lockout.

The National Hockey League is facing the same question as its season progresses. Should the team that wins a Stanley Cup have an asterisk besides its name in the record books? This should not take place under any circumstance. Just like the Heats’ epic playoff run last season, the hockey world should embrace its postseason heroes and transcendent moments because – until someone proves otherwise – they’re not tainted in any way.

It’s often said that winning the Stanley Cup is perhaps the hardest championship to capture in all of sports. The four-round grind is grueling and will not be made any easier because of the lockout. Players will be a bit fresher heading into the playoffs compared with seasons past, but that should be a selling point not a negative. A shortened season should mean an even higher level of play during the postseason. A great example of this was LeBron James performance during last year’s NBA’s playoffs. James was unbelievable in leading the Heat to the championship and had a game for the ages against the Celtics in Game 6 in Boston.

Perhaps the NHL is hoping for a similar performance from one of its stars, be it Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews or Steven Stamkos.

The NHL knows its best showcase is the playoffs as the intensity increases and the players go all out to win the Cup, that’s why it’s the one part of the season that is not affected by the lockout. The playoffs and schedule will be going ahead as it has in years past.

So no asterisk is needed when it comes to this season’s stats or championship.

Reggie Evans was wrong; a shortened season resulted in one of the best playoffs in NBA history. The NHL will be hoping for a similar outcome when the puck drops on the 2013 postseason.

Tagged , , , , ,