I don’t know how many East Coasters stay up to watch Western Conference hockey, but last night we had a doozy between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues. The game 7 went to overtime, the 4th time a game 7 has done so these playoffs (an NHL record), and ended in 2OT on a scrappy goal from St. Louis native, Pat Maroon.
Quick note on Pat Maroon’s story, if you haven’t heard already.
After having two solid seasons for the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils, respectively, Maroon went into this past offseason expecting to make some good money. Those offers never came, for reasons unknown, so he decided to take a 1 year “prove it” deal with his hometown team. A nice sentiment to begin with. However, the real reason he took this deal was to be closer to his son, who’s remained in St. Louis as he’s played elsewhere.
Here’s a video of them two years ago. Grab a tissue. (Start at :45 if it doesn’t automatically)
Here was the scene in the locker room. Grab a paper towel.
And here was the immediate aftermath of the goal. Just bring a bucket to cry into at this point.
Did, I say this would be a quick note on Pat Maroon? Apologies.
Anyway, I know this is lovely and all, but in all of this we forget that a team still had to lose. And not only lose, but lose after one of the most amazing goalie performances in recent memory.
Not counting that last goal, which Bishop couldn’t do much about, he was 52-53. What the fuck. Thats 24 more shots than his counterpart, Jordan Binnington, who’s no slouch, but still.
I cannot imagine losing a game after putting up a performance like that. There’s just no way his brain doesn’t at least dance around the thought, “You guys couldn’t get one more fucking goal?”
It just goes to show how unpredictable playoff hockey is, especially in overtime. It always just comes down to a lucky/unlucky bounce of the puck. When your team plays in OT in the playoffs, every time the other team goes into your zone, it’s a heart attack, and every time you see them wind up for a shot, your heart actually stops.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the constant blackouts you experience every time your team shoots.
(Accurate actor portrayal of events)
I know this because I went through it. I’m a Rangers fan. We lost the 2014 Stanley Cup 4-1. Three of those losses came in OT. I still think about what could have been every week. It was my first real heartbreak in sports.
Last night, all I kept thinking, watching shot after shot was, “these poor, poor fans.” Because they don’t deserve this. No one deserves that kind of pain from a team they love. Well… one person does.
Fuck that guy.
So I’ve come to the realization that the best thing you can ever ask for is just missing the playoffs all together. There’s too much hope to be ripped away. If you’re an 8 seed in the NBA, you’re just happy to be there. 6 seeds in NFL have hope, but the NFL is so top heavy that it isn’t shocking if you lose to a 1 or 2 seed. Baseball, who cares.
Hockey has real, genuine hope every round. As a cynic, that’s something I can’t subscribe too.
And while all these teams are fighting to lose games, and a few elderly fans, in the playoffs, the New York Rangers landed the 2nd overall pick. Guaranteeing American star, Jack Hughes or Finnish freak, Kakko Kaapo.*
That’s real hope. Nothing is more guaranteed to bring success than a high draft pick. I know from experience, dude.
*I know it’s a different culture or whatever. But names that rhyme should be banned in all cultures. Kakko Kaapo is a name that gets made fun of in middle school no matter where your from.
I’d call him Kaka Ka-poo.