I already got called “soft” once today, and I deserve it.
As a long-time Minnesota/Dallas (North) Stars fan, I lost faith. I gave up. I went to bed. I know.
After a full day of fighting traffic, a seven-mile run, and hours with a 2-year-old, I got tired. I’m over forty with a family, a Monday-morning day job, and said 2-year-old wakes up at 6:45 a.m. Despite the adrenaline, nerves, and my Leo loyalty, I was exhausted.
In regulation I was pacing, tense, and unable to watch that damn Chrysler ad one more time. The tension was so high the cat hid under the chair.
The dreaded third period—Bang! Tie game.
Momentum moves and shifts...Turco is amazing! Nabokov is amazing! There goes Modano. Here comes Cheechoo. Zoom goes Marleau, and boom goes Morrow. Campbell, Rivet, Roenick! Norstrom, Zubov, Lehtinen!
On and on it goes, and everyone is involved in this great, even, and intense hockey game. Here comes the “heavyweight fight” analogy, and there goes the advertising. Oh no, more from Versus' Hockey Central.
None of that, however, is why I crashed.
I went to sleep after the first OT because I gave up.
Not from the fatigue of my day or these four periods, not because the Sharks continual fight and constant threat of greatness, not on Dave Tippett’s odd line changes, and never on Marty Turco.
I gave up because the Dallas Stars did everything positive and possible in the extra twenty minutes but did not score.
Hits were crashing all around the boards. Skaters were flying around the ice. Pucks were casually sitting in the crease and stuck in their feet. No trap-puck control tactics, just tons of shots, chances and action on at both ends.
As a Dallas fan, I was excited, pleased, and impressed, as this was unlike their third period performances during this entire series. Lundqvist missed yet another chance in the slot. Nabokov’s stop on Richards was so insanely close it’s not even worth discussing.
Ribeiro glided through the crease alone and loses the handle. Seconds later he hit the crossbar! Dallas got in close, shot from afar, and hit like the NHL I grew up with. They did everything right.
Yet, nothing worked. The puck did not, would not go in the net.
I, humbled as I write, conceded to the Hockey Gods that a Game 6 win just wasn’t in the cards. I resigned myself to a Game 7, a game I could not bear to see happen, let alone watch. I thought this was the beginning of the end of a great run for a really good team.
I did have one team-related rationalization. The last time I had to go to bed, Dallas scored four goals in the third period. Ah ha! This is a new superstition for winning—I go to sleep, they score, and win! That’s it. Yeah, I know. Soft.
The kid woke up as usual and Mommy got her out of bed. I rolled over and slumbered for another 45 minutes.
In that time, I dreamt or thought or decided or “saw” that San Jose won the game. I envisioned the lowered heads and drooping shoulders of my men in black. I got up and immediately went to the computer and slowly scrolled past the Pens-Rangers score.
Then I saw it: 4th OT. Oh, no.
San Jose 1. I knew!
Morrow, B. (PPG, 09:03 in 4th OT)
They won! Holy cow, they won! Four overtimes and they won! I gave up on them, but they didn’t give up on me, themselves, or their team. I owe you, the Dallas Stars, an apology as well as my full dedication from now on.
Go ahead, call me soft but please, put on some coffee for the next round.