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In an Original Six state of mind

Tuesday, 11.11.2008 / 10:47 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

I admit it, there's a soft spot in my heart when I hear or think of the Original Six. Those two words bring back so many fond memories because I am actually old enough to remember when only six teams played in the NHL.

Growing up in Detroit, I was lucky enough to have a father who worked in the auto industry and was the recipient of a boatload of tickets to all the sporting events, especially Red Wings games.  I attended about 30-35 games a season for a span of about 10 years, and during that time, my love of the game was established.

I studied the stats of every player in the league, knew their hometown and became a student of the game. Memories of that time are embedded into my mind and will live forever.

Today, I am starting to get an Original Six flashback. Are we going to see a season where all those teams make the playoffs?  Only Toronto would be "out" if the playoffs started today. But as we know, the playoffs don't start until mid-April. Maybe I'm just dreaming, but seeing all six making the playoffs would put me in hockey heaven, at least for the first round, and then my mind will start thinking of an Original Six Stanley Cup Final.

 
 
The overall record of the six teams as of this morning is 49-20-16, not too bad and I do hope this pattern continues. Having all these teams actually competing for a playoff position would not only be good for the overall health of the NHL, but the interest generated in each of the those cities would be fun to follow.

At one time not too long ago, both the Boston and Chicago hockey teams were on the minds of the sports fan from the respective city. Then other sports took over, the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics all have won their championships and in Chicago, the White Sox, Bulls and Bears were at one time crowned champions too.

Maybe the time is now for the Bruins and Blackhawks.  Both teams are fun to watch and determined to become what they once were, champions of their sport.

In Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and New York, hockey is part of the city. We all know about the coverage both Montreal and Toronto receives and in Detroit and New York, those teams get their fair share of media coverage too. Imagine what would happen if say Detroit would meet either Montreal or the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. A matchup made for the media and it could happen, if the hockey gods are receiving my vibes!

When checking the daily results of NHL games, I first look at the teams from the Original Six. Can't help it, my mind has been trained to focus on the Blackhawks, Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Rangers and Red Wings. All I am asking for now is those teams make it to the round of 16, then I can really start dreaming of the Stanley Cup Final I have been waiting for.

No matter what happens during the season, I will be rooting for every Original Six team -- Go Habs Go, Lets Go Leafs, Boston Bruins (clap, clap, clap), Chicago is Back, Lets Go Rangers and We are the Red Wings, mighty, mighty Red Wings, everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are!


Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres