Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ice Hockey game - Cardiff Devils 13 (Thirteen), Edinburgh Capitals 2

There comes a point in a one-sided contest when you just feel sorry for the team getting spanwhengled. In fact, Matt and I applauded the two Edinburgh goals out of a mixture of pity and pleasure at seeing some relief from the relentless Cardiff attacking.

This was a total shellacking by Cardiff who camped out in the Edinburgh end throughout the game. The Capitals man of the match was their debutant netminder, who let 13 goals in, it's true, but that was out of 68 shots on target. The Devils hit the frame of the goal a further three times, and there were several passes across the face of goal that were agonisingly close to being turned in as well.

13 was possibly charitable to the visitors.

And yet, despite the huge winning margin, there was something vaguely unsatisfying about the game. Firstly, it wasn't really a game, a match, a contest. It felt like we were there to watch shooting practice. Secondly, the way the Edinburgh players mustered up their reserves of strength to take up position for restart after restart was very commendable, but made me feel like I was watching a humiliation, and that was unpleasant. Thirdly, it just wasn't very exciting.

Edinburgh have financial difficulties and a barely full roster. Some of the kids on the ice looked very, very green. Cardiff were faster, fitter, stronger and more organised. That is not a recipe for a great sporting spectacle. There was none of the tension that you get in a meeting of near-equals.

So a great result in the statistics table. But not such a great result in terms of the ineffable 'competition' that makes sport really worth watching.

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