(Note: I wrote this as Game 5 was winding down. I present it now, with minor changes.)
And the Malik Effect claims another victim. Congratulations, Red Wings.
As much as I hate that team, as much as I think that their fans are (with a few exceptions–three of whom are bloggers) a bunch of drooling moronic n00blets with no class who know exactly dick-all about hockey, as much as I was hoping for them to get pwned a la 1995, I must speak truth here:
They–the Red Wings–are consummate professionals, and in these Finals they gave a clinic in how to completely and totally dismantle a team that had become–and let us be honest here–a disorganized gang that at times in this series could barely find their own nutsacks with a flashlight and a sat-nav unit. I must applaud that.
Anyone who is a fan of the sport must, in my opinion, rise above their hatred and applaud the skill and professionalism shown by the Red Wings. Valour of course doesn’t enter into this equation, not this time–they didn’t have a captain who willed himself to play on one functional leg. They didn’t have to overcome any great adversity or even have to battle back from being on the ropes. They were simply given a task, and like the band of trained assassins that they are the Red Wings terminated their target with extreme prejudice.
I must raise a glass to that. As a fan of hockey, as an admirer of individual skill, I must salute that. I must admire that.
I never said I had to like it, of course. But I must–and I do–respect it.
I must also raise a glass to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who could have rolled over and died. No lie kids, they really looked like they were going to shrivel on the vine much as the Senators did last season. But they didn’t. And do not let my satirical e-mail to NHL Live earlier today fool you–I was cheering for the Pens, and foolishly thought that I’d be able to make a “prediction” and have it fall flat to force a seventh game. I was hoping that that triple-overtime deflation would take the wind out of the Red Wings’ sails and propel the Penguins on to an eventual win.
Sadly, I was the one disappointed. Congratulations, Red Wings.
Thank you, and good night.
That’s what I am thinking of the Penguins after last night’s debacle in the Nexus of Evil. Just freakin’ pathetic.
If this series doesn’t end in a sweep, I will be surprised. Hells, at least the ’02 Hurricanes (a team full of “scrubs, has-beens, and career minor-leaguers” was what one embittered Leafs fan called them) managed to make a series of it. And don’t let the 4-1 series result fool you, either: The only game the Hurricanes weren’t really “in” was Game 4–and even then they fought tooth and nail. They at least died with their boots on.
The Penguins, on the other hand, seem to just be playing like they’re just there to grab some saganaki down in Greektown. There are several players I’d like to punch in the face right now.
I’d like to punch Rob Scuderi in the face for being out of position last night and getting accidentally clocked in the grill by his own teammate.
I’d like to punch Hal Gill in the face for accidentally clocking his own teammate in the grill.
I’d like to punch Gary Roberts in the face for his punk-ass cheap shot (and his even more punk-ass excuse) on Johan Franzen.
I’d like to punch Johan Franzen in the face for playing the “oh, it was my fault” card–but I can wait until he’s officially over his concussion.
I’d like to punch the rest of the Unspeakables in the face, just because it would be very satisfying to take shots at a team that is The Focus of Evil In The Hockey World.
I’d like to punch Michel Therrien in the face for being the same “boo hoo, the refs are out to get us, boo hoo” numbnut that he was in Montreal after the Molson Miracle.
I’d like to punch Brooks Orpik in the face on general principle, and while wearing an Erik Cole jersey. You think he could get the puck without boarding somebody?
And I’d like to punch Sidney Crosby in the face because he’s overexposed, overhyped, and Ovechkin is better–and if he had a better goaltender and better guys around him, he’d prove it.
Game 3 is tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Hopefully the Pens wake up and pull their heads out their asses so that they can make this the first truly exciting series since the first round. Their opponent deserves better than what they’re getting right now.
The Finals. Yay.
The nightmare will soon be over. As happy as I am for my wife, I just find it so hard to seriously get behind the Pens because of the gross overexposure of Sidney Crosby (and of course there’s that whole Orpik thing. And the flamage I got from a few folks when the Pens signed Billy the Rapist–who, thankfully, is back in prison like the serial recidivist that he is). But I’m on their bus pro forma, because of who they are facing:
Anyone who can read knows how I feel. I wish the Hurricanes had won in 2002, because then the Yankees Fans of the NHL wouldn’t immediately accuse me of lying when I say that I have hated their team to increasing degrees for the last 27 years (i.e. since I started watching hockey–I am 37. For Detroit fans, that means I started watching hockey when I was 10).
Such idiocy has, rather than shut me up, only served to inflame my hatred to the point where if Al Qaeda had a hockey team and they were playing the Red Wings, I would be in the stands wearing a burqa and holding a sign saying “GO OSAMA GO” in Pashtun, Arabic, and whatever other language they wanted me to say it in because I am many things–but despite what those arrogant frontrunning e-peen challenged bullies would have you believe, I am not a liar.
So, I’ll be watching the Finals, but for me it will be like watching a slow-motion train wreck because I am lukewarm at best toward one team and hate the other team to the point of near-irrationality.
Hopefully it ends quickly. Go Pens.
Mostly cos it’s pissing off all the Detroit fans and everyone who pisses and whines about teams in the Sunbelt–but also because I remember 2003 and how hard Rob Niedermayer and JS Giguere and the rest of that crew played their asses off and how disappointed I was for them when they lost.
Those guys finally got their reward. It makes me happy, because it reminds me of the Warchief five years ago when he lost and then last season when he finally got a Cup. Teemu finally got his reward, with the team he shouldn’t have left in the first place. It makes me happy, because I like Teemu. It makes me happy, because I have friends in the 7-1-4
My Golden Bitch? Fuck him (not literally, of course–who do you think I am, Christine Chorley?*). This isn’t about him. This isn’t about geographical boundaries or the Mason-Dixon Line (which doesn’t really apply to California) or any of that other window-dressy bullshit, either.
It’s about another circle closing–this one for the Ducks.
Yeah, I was barracking for the Sens. I felt it would be quite fitting (and nice) to see the first team to win the Cup after the Cup went to the sole possession of the NHL win it again after 80 years, a Great Depression, a World War, a Cold War, and a reincarnation–who better to break the Canadian cup drought than the team that was a dynasty before the Les Glorieux were even thought of?
The spirits of the Silver Seven are calling to their latter-day successors to come and join them in immortality.
The spirits will be waiting a while longer. But don’t lose hope, Sens fans–your boys will get back to where they once belonged.
deyr sjálfur ið sama.
hveim er sér góðan getur.
Cattle die, kinsmen die,
the self must also die;
but glory never dies,
for the man who is able to achieve it.
Note to Ms. Chorley and her lawyers (and Mr. Pronger and his lawyers): I AM JOKING. PUT THE FILING PAPERS DOWN AND BACK AWAY FROM THE LAWSUIT.
These are some thoughts I wanted to jot down in the wake of Tom Luongo’s post over at the AOL Fanhouse.
IF–IF your team wins the Cup (and it is always an IF until the moment the Commish puts the trophy into your captain’s hands):
Cherish that moment. Treat it like it’s purest gold, given to you by whatever powers or forces you worship, and keep it close to your heart forever because you don’t know if or when it will happen again.
Revere the Cup. It’s a holy artifact, sanctified with the blood and sweat and tears of hundreds of players from all over the world, and it deserves your respect.
Win with class, lose with dignity–that lesson was taught to me by (of all people) a Sabres fan. Sure, it feels good to dance on the graves of your perceived enemies and wave your e-peen around for all to see–but all it does is make you look like a classless piece of garbage. The gods favor the worthy, and if your team isn’t judged worthy, then you shake your opponent’s hand, congratulate him on a series well-played, and look ahead to next season. If your team is judged worthy, then you shake your opponent’s hand, congratulate him on a series well-played, and look ahead to the next round or the next season. There’s plenty of crying in hockey, but no whining.
It’s true. You all know that it’s true.
Luck to you all (even the Sabres fans), and I look forward to sparring with you all again next season.
Even the Sabres fans.
A couple friends of mine asked why I went up on the mountaintop a while back, why I left when all kinds of juicy stuff started coming down the pike and people were surely hanging on my every word about such things as Vote For Rory and Sid Crosby getting chucked from a Dallas nightclub after the ASG cos he’s underage.
I didn’t care much about any of that. I was more concerned with my complete and total inability to get upset over the Hurricanes’ performance so far this season–performance that is decidedly less than stellar.
Had the Cup win somehow made me less of a fan? Had I lost my desire to see my team win? Was I still in shock?
And then it hit me: What had happened wasn’t the win itself. It was the Cup. Specifically, it was my finally getting to lay hands on the Cup.
As I said on HLOG:
You cannot touch that thing after your team has won it, can’t dip your hand in the pool of history and emotion that the thing is bathed in, and come away unaffected by it in some way. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or dead inside.
There’s a a word for that pool in Old English: mægen. Main. It’s a spiritual energy that every living thing has. To relate it to hockey: it’s what makes a playoff game so electric. It’s what spurs a team on to great deeds. Objects absorb mægen from people that use them, that touch them–ask any craftsman who uses the tools that his (or her) parents and grandparents used if they feel like their ancestor who used those tools are watching over them and guiding their hands, and I guarantee you that the answer will be “yes”.
I keep coming back to the image of Mike Keenan sitting in his living room with the Cup, staring silently at it all night and letting its spirits quietly tell their stories to him until the sun rose and he was finally moved to tears. It’s such a powerful image, seeing somebody so moved like he looked upon the face of God and touched the stars.
When I silently ran my fingers over the upper rings and bowl of the Cup back in September of ’06, I plunged my hands into that deep pool of mægen like so many others have done before. In those few moments, I reached back through the years and shook hands with Howie Morenz and Bill Barilko and Maurice Richard and Georges Vezina and Sid Abel and all the other einherjar that have won the Cup and since moved on to play in the Eternal Game, and I came away forever changed by it.
The moment was epiphanic, an amazing moment of revelation where I finally felt like everything really was going to be OK–like an explorer cresting a rise and seeing the Seven Cities of Cibola laid out in front of him with the Fountain of Youth in the middle. I can honestly say that I wish every fan could experience it.
I still feel like I’m not properly articulating how it felt to be quite honest, but hopefully all of you will one day get to experience the wonder for yourselves.
(photo courtesy N&O photog Chris Seward)
Regardless of one’s political leanings, it’s still pretty damn cool for a team’s fans to have their team at the White House after they win a championship. I just wish that the N&O had had somebody who can actually write a good article on the trip, rather than Barbara Barrett (of whose writing I have never been enamored).
And yes, Aaron Ward, Martin Gerber, and Matt “Tim Curry’s Younger Brother” Cullen are all in that photo–according to Canes’ Media Czar Mike Sundheim’s fabulously-executed running writeup, they were standing there outside the terminal with their thumbs out so they could hitch a lift.
Doug Weight, Mark Recchi, Joe, Lord of Evil and Kevyn Adams couldn’t make it because of transcendent commitments, Great Leader Pete Karmanos couldn’t make it because he’s laid up recovering from surgery, and the new guys didn’t make the trip because of course they weren’t abtakha until after 19 June.
Hopefully this visit will boost the team’s morale and get them back on the proper path, starting with tonight’s game v. the Boston Bruins. Puck drops at 8:30, but of course I’ll be working so I’ll have to call my Score Bitch for updates at 9:00 and 11:00.
Love my promotion–hate my scheduling.
Dave beat me to the punch talking about the North Carolina Edjamacation Lottery’s new Hurricanes-themed scratch game–and I’m the one who actually has to sell the things!
But that’s what I get for having off the last two days (and tonight)–no workie, no see new scratch cards.
Tonight, the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes raise their banners, before their game against the Buffalo Slugs–and yes, Holly Wilver will be massacring the anthem tonight (so have your earplugs ready, TV-watchers). I’ll be up in 328 if any Caniac wants to come up and say hey. I might be leaving the jersey at home, for mojo purposes–don’t want to potentially jinx anything, y’know–but I’ll have the red hat on so you can pick me out easily.
I’ll also have riot gear on, in case any of you wiseacres decide to hurl cups or bricks at me.
More after the game tonight (since I’m sure I’ll be up all night). Go Canes.
The Caniac Carnival was held at the RBC today–I, of course, had to work, so I missed it. Probably a good thing, as I would more than likely have burst into tears upon seeing this:
And the best part? It can never, ever be taken away from us. Many thanks to hyena from teh LGC for snapping this photo.
A couple days ago, my buddy Nate sent me the following PM on Teh LGC:
Subj: Want your picture taken with the Cup?
I’ve got an extra ticket if you want it. My dad & his girlfriend can’t make it.
I, being no fool, replied with:
Deal me in!
So this morning at 9 AM I met up with Nate and his wife Kathryn at the RBC Center for the “Season Ticket Holder’s Day With The Cup”. Now, I am not a season ticket holder (ah, Nortel, how I miss the $60K/year you paid me)–but I managed to get my mitts on a ticket, so I went.
The lines weren’t very long thanks to the “all-day” nature of the two-day event (yesterday and today)–and you could only go once during the two days. I’m in line with my digital camera, and Kyle Prairie (Canes ticket sales boss) comes over and says “You want me to take your picture for you AQ?” I said “Nah, I’m cool. Nate’s got it. Thanks though.”
It’s generally assumed that people south of, say, Chicago don’t understand hockey. That folks down in places like North Carolina can’t wrap their brains around the idea of hockey being like a religion.
Anyone who says that certainly doesn’t know me. To me, the RBC is holy ground and my being at a game is a religious experience akin to being on the sidelines at Valhalla. The warriors beat the snot out of each other all day, and when the battle is done they shake hands and go chill out until Gullinkambi crows and they go do it all over again. It’s my opportunity to spend quality time with my gods.
I had all these ideas in my head about what I’d do when I finally got to lay hands on the Cup. I’d cry, I’d drop over dead from the shock (which would probably make some Sabres fans happy), I’d shout praises to the gods, whatever. When I got up to the holy Cup and I came face to face with it–not the respectful 3 feet away that I’d stand every other time I saw it, but right there an inch away from my rosaceated well-scrubbed grill–all of those ideas vanished and were replaced by this feeling of awe.
I started running my fingers over the bowl and the upper part of the base, reading some of the team names on it–the old ones that came before us. The Montreal Wanderers, the Vancouver Millionaires, and the Ottawa Senators, the “Silver Sevens” who died during the Great Depression and were reborn sixty years later. All the old teams that played for the Cup before the NHL was even thought of and who were just a memory now, immortalized in solid silver.
At that moment, I understood how Mike Keenan felt in 1994 when he sat there all night letting the spirits of the Cup speak to him and tell their stories. If I’d stayed there much longer, I’d probably have done as he did and burst into tears. Nobody spoke–or if they did, I certainly didn’t hear them. It was very quiet in the East Priority Lounge, a almost reverential silence as I stood there for a few seconds that felt to me like forever and marveled at the Cup. I let my fingertips linger over the name Victoria Cougars, and then I looked up and quietly said “We really won this, didn’t we?” as Game 7 played on the jumbotron and every TV in the house.
Kathryn said “Yep, we sure did!”–and I did the only thing that I could think of doing:
And I whispered “thank you” to the spirits of the Cup.
(OK, now I’m crying.)