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Tuesday Cannon Fodder: live sports

Washington Capitals v Edmonton Oilers

You really can’t beat watching sports live and in-person. And that’s coming from someone who (obviously) watches the Premier League from his couch every weekend and whose Sunday ritual to watch as many hours on the RedZone Channel as he possibly can.

I went to the Capitals-Oilers game last night (Caps won 5-4), and it was fantastic. You really can’t beat being in the arena. The biggest thing lost is the speed of play. Everything happens so quickly — they play at a million miles per hour. And I don’t think that’s exclusive to hockey, either. When I went to the Arsenal-Everton match in Baltimore this summer, I was shocked at how fast the play was. You “know” that the Premier League is fast when you think about it, but something gets lost watching on television. There is no substitute for seeing the speed in person.

I’ve written about this before for CF, but it has been an absolute blast watching Alex Ovechkin’s career. I didn’t fully appreciate it until he got into the twilight years of his career, but watching one of the all-time greats play for my team will be among the best sports things (for lack of a better word) of my life. Ovechkin is nowhere near the level of player he was at his peak (in part because his peak was otherworldly), but when he picks up the puck and starts rumbling down the ice, that primal, visceral excitement is still there. He’s still a darn good hockey player and so much fun to watch. He didn’t disappoint last night, either. He ripped a powerplay goal over the goalie’s shoulder from his office at the top of the circle, and he assisted on the game-winning goal with a pass you have to see to believe.

And speaking of the in-person experience — go watch Connor McDavid if you possibly can. Last night was his 500th NHL game. He has the most points of any active player over their first 500 games. He’s unreal. That thing that Ovechkin had in his prime — that he might score or create a goal any time he’s on the ice — McDavid has got it, too.

His greatness is different from Ovechkin’s, but just as exciting. Ovechkin’s calling cards were power, strength, and his lethal shot. He would shrug off or go physically through defenders before ripping one home. McDavid’s edge is acceleration and skating. He’s got another gear or two of speed that almost nobody else has. He’ll be circling with the puck, see an opening, and boom. He’s gone past two defenders in the blink of an eye. Ovechkin was a fast skater and his stickhandling is still slick, but he’s always had a “bull in a china shop” way about him. McDavid glides around the ice and handles the puck so gracefully that you almost don’t notice that he’s doing it at a near-impossible speed.

Totally shifting gears: a friendly reminder for all the American TSFers out there — it’s Election Day. Remember to vote! If you have time, check out the local paper / newspaper from the nearby big metro area to read up on your local and state-wide elections. Those elected positions have the most impact on your day-to-day life.