The Road To The Stanley CupI started a "Be A Pro" career in NHL 09 in June.
Eli 7.10 (back then) noticed me playing one day and asked if he could watch. I'd created a center and was beating my brains out in the minor leagues on the highest difficulty level, grinding out XP and hoping for a promotion to the NHL.
After watching for a few days, he asked if he could start a career of his own. I told him he could start with a real player, instead of creating one, and of course he picked Sidney Crosby. Plus the Penguins had just won the Stanley Cup and we'd watched the entire playoffs together, so he really wanted to play as a Penguin.
I put the game on All-Pro difficulty (one notch below the hardest) and set him loose.
After about ten games, I told him we should play a combined career. He could play the first and third periods, and I'd play the second period and overtime. He was all for this, and it was great to be able to root for each other. Once we did that, our interest really took off.
With 5-minute periods, we were able to play several games a day, and last weekend, we finished the regular season (playing all 82 games). 127 points (in hockey, you get a point for either scoring a goal or having an assist), and in the last third of the regular season, we dominated.
Still, though, Sidney Crosby had a real season where he had 120 points, which is amazing. Even more amazing is that Wayne Gretzy had 12 seasons--in a row--where he scored more than 125 points.
That's surely the most dominant stretch for any athlete in any team sport in history. And he had four seasons where he scored more than 200 points!
So we're in the playoffs (#1 seed), and in the first round, we're up on Boston 2-0 in games. In the second game, they scored with 4.7 seconds left to tie the game, but we won in overtime.
We're into it--we're fist-bumping and hollering and celebrating and it's just absolutely great.
In game three in Boston, we're up 3-1 with eight minutes left, and I'm thinking we've really broken their backs.
Boston scores two goals in two minutes. We go into overtime again, and lose.
It was awful, but it was still a great experience--incredibly tense and dramatic.
Today, we closed out the Bruins in five games, and we're moving on to the second round.
I was thinking about how I could make the conference finals more exciting (if we make it that far), and I realized what to do: make us wait.
For the conference finals (and, potentially, the Stanley Cup), we're going to have scheduled starting times for each game, and there will be at least 90 minutes between each game. So instead of playing several games in a row, we'll play one, then have to wait.
I'm going to post the schedule on the door of my study and make it look as official as possible, with NHL logos and everything.
Eli 8.0 was blown away. "A SCHEDULE?" he shouted. "YES!"
Of course, I'll be posting that schedule here, too, and I'll post scores after each game. It takes a village to win the Stanley Cup. Or something.
What's really been wonderful about this entire season is that Eli truly loves hockey, and I'm not carrying him at all--he deserves the success of the team as much as I do. So we're doing something we both truly enjoy, and we're totally focused while we're playing.
It's a wonderful experience, to share something like this with your son.