If there is in fact a Canadiens-Sabres playoff series, it will probably kill me.
It will be the night of the final game, the Habs having alternated thin, scraping wins with catastrophic losses for the previous six, and during the 3rd period Montreal will give up 2 goals in 1 minute, 26 seconds, giving the Sabres a 5-4 lead, and there will be a great crashing and banging heard throughout my building. The irritable lady who lives below me, finally fed up- she’s told me before not to make so much noise on game nights, she has to go to bed early- will call the police to complain. They’ll have to break down the door when they get no response, and they’ll find me, lying on the floor amidst a heap of splintered furniture in a torn jersey, pupils dilated, lower lip bitten through, knuckles bloody from punching at the cement walls, and very much dead. The medical examiner will immediately be able to ascertain the cause: hockey-induced aneurysm. J will be brought in to identify me, and the cop will sympathetically ask him, “Was she prone to fits of hockey-rage?” And J will nod slowly, his eyes tearing up, and say, “Yes, officer, she was hockey manic-depressive, ever since October.” And the policeman will shake his head regretfully and pat him on the back, saying, “Yes, we see it all too often this time of year. Some people just can’t handle the playoffs.”
1. These games are just too exciting, and I mean exciting in the sense of ‘elevates your heart rate’, not ‘makes you happy’. They’re too fast, too close, the momentum shifts back and forth every other minute. The Habs do play the Sabres well, but they never win easily or surely. Something about
2. Following that point, although the Habs didn’t allow nearly as many shots as they used to, they were outshot in the traditional fashion tonight and Halak handled it pretty well. It really is striking how contemplative the boy is. I thought Huet was calm, but Halak is otherworldly, sometimes spooky. He just gives off this bizarre sense of stillness; even when he’s moving, it’s like he’s not really moving. He does nothing, but nothing remains undone- the essence of the Tao. I don’t know, maybe that’s a flaw in his style (some of what got past him tonight was pretty cringe-worthy), sort of the polar opposite of Aebi’s overzealousness, but it’s nevertheless soothing to watch. If they ever make a Jaroslav Halak highlight reel, I can see it being shown mostly in yoga classes and New-Age meditation retreats. Anyhow, Conklin faced fewer shots and let more in (note to other teams: go five-hole, it works). Interesting to see that the Sabres goaltending situation doesn’t look much better than ours.
3. With the trading of Rivet, the demotion of
4. Speaking of kids, Ryder celebrates his 27th birthday with his 27th goal of the season. Now, officially, no one is permitted to refer to him as one of the team’s ‘youth’ anymore. 27 = adult, even by hockey player standards.
5. A few other comments: Souray has been ratcheting up the defensive responsibility the last few games, must really be trying to market himself for the huge
As always, a final look at the competition: Islanders lose, Leafs win, Lighting win, Rangers win. So nothing changes in terms of the standings, but things do begin to look a trifle clearer: the Isles and the Canes have pretty much lost control of their fate- even if they win their remaining games, they’re going to have to hope and pray that not just one but a few of the teams above them collapse significantly, which no one looks likely to do. The Lightning and the Rangers are also unlikely to fall out of playoff slots completely, although