Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Tribute to Bridesmaids

As newspaper pages yellow and hairs become gray, time tends to remember only the winners and people who break other people's necks. It takes a Super Bowl savant to even remember the losers, let alone the many teams that couldn't even get there.

This post could just be a one-shot deal, but the hope is to find out about missed dynasties and could've been champions from days of yore. So please let us know about some of the most interesting Hypothetical Champions from hockey's elder years too.

Recent Memorable Almost Champions from Hockey and Otherwise

The St. Louis Blues of the 90's

OK, so this squad never got especially close to a Cup but that's part of what makes their completely failed dynasty perplexing. Brett Hull - Al MacInnis - Chris Pronger - Adam Oates. They had all four of those HoF-caliber performers for big chunks of their primes but could never really put together even a deep playoff run. Perhaps those teams weren't constructed well or simply lacked goaltending, but it still is pretty stunning those guys didn't break through the Dallas/Detroit/Colorado gamut at least once.

The Drury-Briere Buffalo Sabres

Awww, now this one is still pretty sad. Sabres fans are frowning and muttering "Open Wounds, James. Open Wounds." Let's take you back, though: after teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and contraction the Sabres suddenly became hotter than Emma Stone. With a solid goaltender in Ryan Miller, a makeshift band of defensemen lead by "Tepid" Teppo Numminen and line after line of flighty forwards, it was pretty difficult to not love those Sabres. Even with their goofy old logo:

And their even more terrible new logo:

Still, despite those logos, it was pretty much impossible to root against the Sabres until they played against your favorite team.

Sadly, a big part of what made those Sabres team so difficult to play against (rolling line after line of quality forwards) is what made them so difficult to sustain in a small market, salary cap world. Their most important forwards went on to be grossly overpaid; with Briere and Drury going to other teams and Vanek staying in Buffalo for a crap ton of money.

Basketball Teams

The Barkley Era and Steve Nash Phoenix Suns

This one hits close to home. As a kid, I didn't choose sports teams based on geographical convenience but rather who captured my immature imagination. Naturally, the brash, bald and bold Charles Barkley captured my attention like no basketball player before him.

Those Barkley-Kevin Johnson-Thunder Dan Suns teams were outrageously fun to watch. If you want to find the key to my heart, make sure that you find a solid and charismatic coach, an explosive and quirky offense and a largely terrible defense. Is that a formula for a championship? Almost definitely not. But perfect defense and coaching usually kills fun (see: Devils, New Jersey and Spurs, San Antonio).

After Barkley was traded away, I thought that a basketball team would never captivate me in the same way again. Jason Kidd lobbing alley oops to Shawn Marion was entertaining but ... eh. Stephon Marbury nearly killed basketball for me.

Just as I thought I'd never care again, floppy haired banger of Elizabeth Hurley Steve Nash came along and captained the priceless "Seven Seconds or Less" Phoenix Suns. And it was good.

You can conspiracy theorize all you want, but those teams ultimately fell short because they didn't want to pay to get to the top and because they couldn't play defense. So what? They were a joy to watch and I miss them terribly (since Steve Kerr murdered them with terrible decisions).

Seriously, though, fuck you Steve Kerr.

The Webber-Ugly Dude Sacramento Kings

Much like the Nash Suns, the Chris Webber-Mike Bibby-hairy European Sacramento Kings were a lot of fun to watch. Also a lot like those Suns teams, the Kings probably had as many flaws as strengths.

If nothing else, the Kings will always make me smile when I remember that Shaq referred to Vlade Divac as "a flopping bitch." Good times.

The Cuban-Nowitzki Mavericks

It's crazy how close that team came to a championship before getting absolutely screwed in the Finals. But let's face it, they're done.

Football Teams

The Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills

No sense kicking this dead horse anymore. No sense bringing up Scott Norwood's name. That would just be mean.

Late 80s Bengals/Browns

The state of Ohio actually came pretty close to winning a Super Bowl. For the Browns, it was their epic choking and John Elway that kept them from glory. For the Bengals, it was Joe Montana.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

a nice tribute to bridesmaids actually, and I think I think that I read a piece of news on host pph about this too