When I look at some great Father’s Day gifts available from Sonos speakers to Green Egg barbeques, most of the them are geared towards enjoying the day with your family. The saying that “the best things in life are free” may not always be true but this year they certainly made Father’s Day weekend better as it was great to get together with friends and family at watch an amazing game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals and Game 6 of the NBA Finals, where both made history. It was one of the best gifts I had on Dad’s Day in a long time.
The great weekend kicked off with Game 7 the NHL Stanley Cup Finals as the St. Louis Blues traveled to take on the Boston Bruins. On top of the drama of a deciding game, we had one of the NHL’s “Original 6” taking on a member of the “second six”, two of the greatest and most fervent fan bases in the US, a sport that moves at the speed of light, in a winner-take-all game where fortunes can turn in an instant, I’m in! The Blues were looking for their first title in their 52-year history and the Bruins, part of the ol’ guard, looking to capture their sixth championship. To put it in perspective on how much this meant to the cities on top of the 17,500 fans actually at the game at TD Garden in Boston, there were an additional 18,000 fans at the Enterprise Center watching party, and when that sold out Busch Stadium started their own which sold just over 25k tickets so a football stadium of 60.5k would have been suitable to view the game live. The 8.2 viewers that watched on NBC gave the game a 2.5 rating and was the most watched game NHL ever since the ratings data started to be compiled in 1994.
The game itself took a decisive direction in the final minutes of the first period as the Bruins scored twice to take a commanding lead they wouldn’t relinquish and won going away 4-1. Seems anti-climactic in retrospect but in the middle of those final two minutes of the first period and the end were some amazing saves made by Jordan Binnington who kept many of those 17k + fans at TD Ameritrade in their seats for the night. Although I would have loved to see a tie score going into the 3rd period, as a sports fan, I could just imagine if one of my clubs was playing what kind of a wreck I would have been late in the game, then I can appreciate a blowout. But it was a great game to sit back and watch with a cold one to kick off the holiday weekend.
The NBA has its own version of the NFL’s “Patriot Problem” in the Golden State Warriors. As it seems like every year they are either in the NBA Finals or winning the NBA Finals. In face it’s been 3 of the last 4 and they were going for a third straight championship this year. The truth is that it’s really not a problem because much like the Patriots, when it comes to the Super Bowl, no one gets higher ratings because half of the country appreciates the excellence and the other half wants to see them finally lose. The Warriors have their version of Bill Belichick in Steve Kerr, outspoken, brilliant, with an ostentatious winning percentage. The Warriors have assembled a ‘super team’ with four all-stars, 2 first ballot Hall-Of-Famers and are always the number one seed. Once again, just as many tune in to see them finally lose as to see them win and in this case, when the opponent is a true Cinderella, forget it, this is made for prime-time TV.
The Toronto Raptors have never been in the NBA Finals, have never won a world championship in basketball, in fact, the country of Canada has never even hosted an NBA Finals game in its history. The Raptors were huge underdogs and the odds were higher that they would get swept than win the series. Then came the injuries to the top player in the world today, Kevin Durant, and then another to Klay Thompson, and all of the sudden we have a series. Then a memorable game 6 that came down to the final seconds where Steph Curry, the future HOF member, couldn’t knock down the 3-pointer to send it to a game 7 where anything could happen. Much like in St. Louis to see the celebration in Scotiabnak Arena, Jurassic Park located just outside the arena, and in the streets of Toronto like a 24-year war was finally over. Priceless TV that you could share with your son. One day he’ll tell his kids he saw the series where for the first time a team from outside the United States won the NBA Championship. Now that’s the type of thing to share on Father’s Day.