It’s Just Too Soon

A few weeks back I wrote on how much I was enjoying the NHL’s advertising campaign “History Will Be Made”.  However, the latest commercial has left me with a bit of a sour taste when it comes to the campaign.

When it comes to history, some moments are legends as soon as they happen.  Ray Bourque winning a Stanley Cup after 22 seasons?  Sure.  Bobby Orr flying through the air in OT?  Absolutely.  These were the climatic moments to playoff marathons and, in the case of Bourque, a career. 

This doesn’t hold true for all moments, however.  Sometimes you need the luxury of viewing a moment through the lens of history before you can truly appreciate it.  I think of Mario Lemieux’s goal from the 1991 Finals.  At the time we knew it was a very pretty goal.  However, now that we can view it through the lens of history we can see it as THE defining moment of the series.  Minnesota as a team was simply going to be unable to stop Pittsburgh and Lemieux beating Shawn Chambers and Jon Casey was the quintessential representation of that fact.  At the time, though, no one could know that.  If Minnesota had found a way to win that series, Mario’s goal diminishes a lot.

“What if Roy played like a rookie?”  Roy’s performance in the 1986 playoffs was remarkable.  But, he went all the way to win the Stanley Cup and become one of the best goalies of his era.  He inspired an entire generation of French-Canadian goalies to emulate his style.  That’s the stuff of legend.

One of those French-Canadian goalies inspired by “St. Patrick” was Marc-Andre Fleury.  Fleury had his career defining moment in the 2009 Finals when he made a last second save to preserve the Penguins one goal lead and win the Cup over Detroit, shedding the weight of some of his performances from earlier in that series.  It was a great moment — exacting revenge and leading a young team to its first championship.

However, that is not the moment that is being immortalized in the latest ad.  No, instead this is what we have:

“What if Flower didn’t come up roses?”

Really?  A performance in the third game of a second round series is worthy of being immortalized with the ranks of Bobby, Mario and Ray?  The Penguins have actually been struggling in the 2010 playoffs — they have a losing record at home and Fleury’s stats are far from being stellar.  And, as the defending champs, they know they haven’t won anything yet.

Perhaps one day we’ll look back on Game 3 of the Montreal series as a pivotal moment in a Penguins run to back-to-back championships.  Maybe it will be the catalyst that inspires Fleury to the heights we know he can achieve but, quite frankly, hadn’t had in these playoffs until that last game.  Until that happens — until we have the luxury of putting the performance into context — we just don’t know.

Even as a Penguins fan all I can say is “It’s just a little too soon, NHL.”

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