May 21, 2008
If you don't love this, there's no love in you.
This new NHL commercial captures everything that separates the Stanley Cup from the rest of the trinkets given out in the world of sports. Seriously, what comes close to the depth of tradition and honor among champions the Cup symbolizes? A gold medal at the Olympics? Do you realize Vin Baker has a gold medal from the Olympics?
Back when I was writing "The Jester's Quart," a weekly sports column for SportsFan Magazine, I penned a piece called "My Trophy Can Beat Up Your Trophy" that extolled the virtues of the Stanley Cup against the other pro sports hardware. Having seen the Cup awarded from the upper deck of the Meadowlands in 1995, here was my take on the Chalice:
There's no way to explain the feeling you get when you're in the building and you see this thing carried out onto that little pedestal near center ice. (And by "little pedestal," I mean the stand, not Gary Bettman.) Fathers lift their children on their shoulders for a clear look at the chalice. More flash bulbs go off than during a Lindsay Lohan nip slip. You could be waaaay in the upper deck, like I was when the Devils won the Cup in Game 4 against Detroit in 1995, and still feel the gravity of the thing. Remember the look everyone got in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" every time they'd see a mystical artifact, whether it was the little nugget at the beginning that set off the booby traps or the big enchilada at the end? Well, that's the look every fan within eye-shot gives the Stanley Cup.
This commercial, I think, perfectly captures all of that. Oh, National Hockey League marketing people. You really are trying to make up for those soft-core samurai hockey porn commercials from right after the lockout, aren't you?