First round is the best round

That does not last, however. Canadians treasure their late spring evenings. It is a time to be outside, to be in the yard, to be biking, walking, golfing. The more north you go, the more light there is in the evening, and the more one can do. Sitting indoors watching hockey in mid-June is not one of them. We tend to watch more out of habit than passion at that stage.

The NHL loves to brag about "attrition," as if the Stanley Cup will go to the last team standing. That sounds good in gladiator movies, but in hockey reality it means the actual game takes a backseat to survival. Some might like that. I don't.

And so, for me, hockey is the only sport known where the final is not the climax of the season. The presentation of the Cup comes, almost invariably, well after the best games, the best hockey, the greatest drama has already happened.

My Stanley Cup is the first round of play. Sometimes the second round. But it sure isn't a final played in late June when outside is calling with far better options.

No slight intended. I'm OK with that. If I didn't love this trophy, why would I be prancing around half dressed with it raised over my head?

Roy MacGregor is a national columnist for Canada's Globe and Mail.

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