The St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo has been a quiet emerging star in the league for years now. These playoffs have been his chance in the spotlight and he hasn’t disappointed.
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He gets the toughest matchups and takes the lion share of ice time. As he should, the quick thinking rangy defence man uses his tall frame, foot speed and soft hands to stop offence at one end of the ice and create offence at the other side.
He’s been physical too, nailing top Line Sharks again and again. Latest victim was an already injured Pavelski a heart and soul player for San Jose. Who launched an all time great comeback in game seven for the Sharks versus a superior Las Vegas team. Pietrangelo wasn’t going to allow that. Pavelski left himself slightly vulnerable at the Blues blue line and Alex finished a clean check which aggravated Pavelski’s condition. Not saying to injure anyone, just clean hard checks is the effective way to separate the man from the puck. He’s exactly what the Maple Leafs need…I hope the great hockey minds like Dubas can find time to watch the Blues play or is he “above” all that hard nosed defence stuff? It only seems to win year after year.
I’m sad that the series is so close to conclusion is my only complaint. It’s dawned on me that this is how the “new” NHL can be still as entertaining as past years and it has given me new optimism towards seasons ahead. Some will understand what aim blabbing on about as I’m pretty consistent with my beliefs and obvious biases with the sport. Maybe I have it wrong here but personally I think that sports is the column in life that allows such tribal thoughts. As a society, country, continent and overall world we want and need to do better human to human, country to country, etc. But when the game is on can we just be tribal apes for an hour or two?
Note: a week ago Canada beat host team Slovakia 6 to 5 in a thrilling game which should have been an easier win for us but nevertheless we pulled through on a Mark Stone wrist shot with just over a second left in the game. The fans fuelled up on emotion and booze then threw coins on the ice then booed and jeered through our national anthem. This is not what I’m suggesting with the “tribal apes” comment. Class and respect must remain intact even with high emotions or it’s not sports anymore.