Tuesday, May 20, 2008


YES! The Stanley Cup Finals are here! And no matter where we placed our hearts or money, I think we're all feeling like the two best teams made it through and this might be a Cup for the ages. Okay, so one team's jersey features wings attached to wheels and the other has flightless birds, neither with any connection to either masculine semiotics or sport -- but I'm sure it means something special!

Over at Will's Place, he figures the pool's a two player race. But here at Optimism Central, we're gearing up for a whole new contest. Get ready for the world's first edition of Hockey Props!

Betting on sports has been around as long as there have been guys who needed to pump up their self-esteem by proving they were right about something. And for centuries money changed hands based on who won or lost a contest. Then Las Vegas and the Superbowl were invented. Pretty soon the smart guys who ran the Casinos realized that while you could make millions on who won the Superbowl, you could make Billions with side wagers.

So "Proposition Betting" was created to give us degenerates an opportunity to blow our money on outcomes nobody in their right mind can confidently predict.

You might be wagering on the coin toss (Janet Gretzky's favorite -- seen here at Caesar's Palace with absolutely non-betting Hockey Great Wayne) or if a touchdown is made by a player whose number is over 30. "Props" are also not one bet options. You need to pick at least a half dozen. The odds of collecting are infinitessimal. But then, you can't put a price on a good time, can you?

So here's how the "Infamous Writers Pool Hockey Props" works. There are six bets. All are related to the Stanley Cup Finals. Some require sports knowledge. Some only require guts! The player with the most correct answers wins. And a special piece of Canadian Hockey memorabilia (currently treasured by Yours Truly) will be awarded to the winner.

Should there be a tie -- uh -- we'll figure that out if there's a tie.

But this contest is definitely going to come down to the final game!

Entry is open to all current pool players and anybody else who needs to boost their self image. Entries must be sent to seraphic@sympatico.ca anytime between now and the first faceoff of the first game on Saturday night.

Cunningham, you KNOW you gotta be a part of this one!

Your six Hockey Propositions are:

1. The 2007-2008 Stanley Cup winner will be decided in:

a) Four Games
b) Five Games
c) Six Games
d) Seven Games

2. The total number of goals scored in the Final series will be:

a) Less than 20
b) 20 to 30
c) More than 30

3. The number of Octopi (Octopusses) flung on the ice on Opening night in Detroit.

a) One
b) Two
c) Three or More

4. "Hockey Night in Canada" icon Don Cherry always confidently predicts the winner of each game prior to the opening faceoff. For the FOURTH game of the series, he will be:

a) Correct
b) Incorrect
c) Politically incorrect while making his prediction

For non-Canadian players -- CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" is streaming all games at www.CBC.ca/sports.

5. The Leading Scorer in the series will be:

a) Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit)
b) Pavel Datsyk (Detroit)
c) Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
d) Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)
e) Other

6. The Captain of the winning team is the first player to hoist the Stanley Cup and skate a victory lap. The Cup is then passed to each member of the winning team. And it's usually passed to someone the player with the Cup feels is deserving OR his roomie. The Goalie of the winning team will be:

a) One of the first six players to hoist the Cup
b) The Seventh to Twelfth player to hoist the Cup
c) One of the remaining players to hoist the Cup

Tough enough? C'mon, suck it up! How often are you gonna get a chance like this?

And one last thing about the actual Pool. I know it hasn't been as exciting as we'd hoped. But it's still had more going for it than some of the promotions the NHL thinks up. I mean, we could have been whiling away the playoffs with stuff like this.

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