Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rout the Islanders and Call Me in the Morning

Sometimes I wonder why I even follow hockey. Why do I invest so much energy into a passion that has provided so little return? You have your team that you cheer for and if you are lucky it's not run by soulless corporate jerkoffs and if you are really lucky, they even win championship or two. But sometimes you are not lucky and you find yourself stuck cheering for a group of stiffs on skates and it becomes really easy to remember how trivial sports can be, when compared to quiet revolutions in Burma or even just one man's fight against cancer. Sometimes for me it's just a bunch of bulky ballerinas chasing a rubber puck around on skates.

And then sometimes something special happens, and I am reminded why anyone would care about hockey, would care about baseball, would care about football, would care about professional snookers even. Sometimes Mats Sundin takes the all time scoring lead in Maple Leafs history and the ACC erupts into delirious ovation and Mats can just sit there beaming, wiping the hint of tears from the edges of his eyes as he acknowledges the crowd's appreciation as many times as they need it and on times like that, all I can do is sit back and remember why I bother with any of this at all. We're all waiting for those special moments, whether they are as obvious as winning the championship, or the small personal accomplishments that set a benchmark in perseverance and dedication. A shiny headed Saku Koivu stepping on to the ice. Cal Ripken breaking the Iron Man streak. Mats Sundin passing Darryl Sittler. That's why I'm here.

The best part of the night was that Mats received two ovations for the occasion. The first was a false alarm, a ghost assist tacked onto deft goal by Kaberle. Leafs TV, and Mats himself (this guy is Class), were quick to point out that he had not so much touched the puck on the scoring play. Didn't stop the PA from dropping his name, and it certainly didn't stop the crowd from giving Mats his due. The assist was retracted eventually, though Sundin wasn't finished. In the third he sent a cross ice pass that deflected off an Islander defenceman and past Dubielewicz and there was no argument on this one. The officials paused the game, and the cheers rained down as Mats couldn't keep his smile down. We may never see him raise a Stanley Cup, but if he has a bigger smile than the one he had tonight, a Cup win is the only time we'll ever see it.

And how about the game? The Leafs were coming off a 7-1 undressing from the resurgent Hurricanes (who ended Ottawa's win streak tonight, oh yes, oh yes), so of course they responded with eight goals of their own tonight against Long Island, good for an 8-1 win, number two on the season.

Raycroft was solid, though this just creates more questions in net. Raycroft or Toskala? I have a soft spot for Raycroft, and if he's going to pay off like he did tonight, I say ride that pony for all he's worth... It's pretty clear after just one game but Simon "Smache" Gamache should have started the season with the big team. Though the guy looks like he's been called up from the Ozarks, not Ricoh Colosseum... How about Matty Stajan. He had a goal and three assists to give him six points in his first five. I'm going to start calling him the Big Stage... Alex Steen played on the first line and got his first goal for it. I like Steener and Sundin together. It just occurred to me that because this game was broadcast on Leafs TV, a very large number of people who might normally be watching did not, and therefore missed Mats' milestone. This is so wrong. Seeing it on the highlight reel is not the same.


PS I'm just finding this out now, but Mike Comrie has hooked up with Hilary Duff which is both non sequitur and a decent explanation for his strong start. It also raises the number of famous hockey girlfriends in the NHL to, by my count, two. I expect the LA Kings' youth brigade to get working on this shortage. I mean, if the sight of Anze Kopitar doesn't get you hot...


walkinvisible said...

the duffster is olllld news, dude...
you can read my take on it here:


walkinvisible said...

ohhhh, mccabe !!! however did the leafs get suckered into 6mil, when clearly you are playing for the sabres !??!?

so sorry, dude.