Posted by IronCityspy
Last night’s game was an important one, and not just because it resumed the best rivalry in the NHL. No, it was important because it honored the horrid tragedy of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, which unfortunately puts into stark perspective just how meaningless “the NHL’s best rivalry“ is.
I guess I would be remiss not to make a few quick points about last night’s action, but I leave it to Brad to recount it in gratuitous fashion.
- It was an objectively thrilling and fun game. If the NHL is serious about growing the sport, literally every Penguins/Capitals tilt needs to be broadcast nationally.
- In the immortal words of Shane Falco, it’s better to be lucky than good. The Penguins dominated the Capitals statistically for the game, and for the 1st and 3rd periods they looked superior in ever facet. The Capitals were beyond lucky to get out of there with a win, and I doubt even they would dispute that.
- I wouldn’t be celebrating too hard, Caps fans. The Penguins were without 3 of their top 4 players and still should have won.
All right, with that formality over with, back to the real story.
The plane crash that ended the lives of virtually every Lokomotiv player was so utterly preventable that had it happened anywhere in the developed world other than Russia, there would be quite a few people in jail by now. The plane in question, the Soviet-era Yakovlev Yak-42D, is so reviled for being unsafe and liable to crash it’s not even allowed to enter European Union airspace. So the idea that Russia has yet to scrap these flying coffins is unconscionable.
It would be quite easy to collectively roll our eyes last night over all the pageantry, overly dramatic music, et all. But my normally spine-covered heart felt slightly thawed watching Malkin and Ovechkin, both obviously shaken by the tragedy, participate in this tribute. Keeping this shameful event in the forefront could end up saving quite a few lives — which is far more important than anything that happened on the ice. Good for the NHL, good for the Penguins and Capitals and good for the many Russian players that displayed nothing but dignity.
P.S. If you are an aging NHL veteran considering going to the KHL for one final pay day, one word of advice; DON’T.