I’ve been watching sports. My favorite ice hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, have overcome adversity during the regular season, hired a new coach (Dan Bylsma) and some new players and still reached the play-offs. In the first round they eliminated their state rivals Philadelphia Flyers and then they were matched up against the Washington Capitals with their star player Alex Ovechkin, who doesn’t get along too great with Penguins superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. I got to see two games of this seven game series. One of them live at 1 am in the morning, but it was no trouble at all to stay awake during the intense action on the ice (the commercials on the other hand…). Besides the two games I saw the Penguins also won two others, including Game 7 and thus advanced to the Conference Finals.
They had the Carolina Hurricanes beaten before I could even make arrangements to watch a game, but because of this I did get a chance to see a couple of games of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Detroit Red Wings also had little trouble with the Chicago Black Hawks and finished the series in five games. Because both conference finals were done so quickly the real final was pushed forward by almost a week. Good news for me, because in the original schedule all games were during my holiday (and I don’t think they show much hockey in the Sinai desert).
The Stanley Cup Finals 2009 is a rematch of last year, when Detroit beat Pittsburgh in six games. But with more experience and less injured players the Penguins should have a better chance this time. In Game 1 they proved to be evenly matched, but unfortunately the Red Wings had more lucky bounced and won 3-1. However, the series is far from over. I’m currently downloading Game 2 and hope to be able to watch it before I leave. Game 3 is on Tuesday night and I might be able to watch Game 4 live Thursday night. Then I’m off to Egypt and have to wait til after my holiday to discover the outcome of the series. Go Pens!
At more convenient hours I followed the Giro d’Italia, the cyling tour of Italy. It was more exciting than ever, with almost all big names present (Armstrong, Basso, Menchov, Di Luca, Cunego, Leipheimer to name a few) and a challenging route, including finishes at Block House, the Vesuvius and the ancient city centre of Rome. It came down to a battle between local favorite Di Luca and blant Russian Menchov, who proved to have some fire in him when he eventually crossed the final finish line as the winner (he almost lost it with a fall on the final kilometre of the slippery Roman roads). Canadian rider Michael Barry did a good job for his team mates, who won more stages than any other team. Canadian sponsored team Cervelo also had a lot of succes with four stage wins. It could have been five if sporting director Van Poppel wouldn’t have told Serge Pauwels to wait for team leader Carlos Sastre while he was on the decisive break.