I’m not really a huge NHL fan, even though I love the sport of hockey. The NHL lost me when Norm Greed moved the North Stars to Dallas of all places. Then when I do start to get interested again, the NHL decides it’s time to promote Lockouts instead of the game. Still, hockey is hockey, even in June, and we have an unusual situation this year as we go into the semi-finals.
Unlike the college Frozen Four, where we had four teams reach the finals that had never won the championship before. This year in the NHL, for the first time since 1945, we have the four previous champs in the final four. It’s down to Pittsburgh (2009), Chicago (2010), Boston (2011) and Los Angeles (2012) for the Stanley Cup.
It’s bound to be the makings of some good hockey, so I’ll probably try to catch the few games that Bettman will allow on broadcast television. I’m kind of pulling for the Kings & Penguins. I don’t think LA can beat Chicago only averaging 2 goals a game, but cheering for the Blackhawks is almost as bad as cheering for NoDak when you’re a former Minnesotan.
On 1 June 1933, J.P. Morgan Jr was in the Senate Caucus Room waiting to testify before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee. In a stunt worthy of P.T. Barnum himself, the press agent for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus dropped Lya Graf, a 27″ tall female circus dwarf, onto Morgan’s lap. As intended, cameras were going off instantly, and the picture of Morgan & Graf went out world-wide the next day.
Morgan profited immediately from the resulting PR. He went from being the greedy and ruthless devil that helped bring the country to the brink of ruin in 1929 to a benign, doddering, old man in the public eye. Morgan seized on that chance to humanize himself, and it worked, public opinion softened.
Lya Graf, however, was not comfortable with her new found fame. She was able to deal with her role as an ordinary, circus freak as it allowed her to make a living, but being a celebrity freak was something else. Hounded by fame, she left the United States two years later and returned to her native Germany. In 1937, Graf was arrested as a “useless person”. In 1941 she was sent to Auschwitz and never heard from again.