Friday, April 27, 2007

4-26-07: Sharks 2, Red Wings 0

One of the truly insurmountable problems with being a Habs fan is the lack of good silly metaphors for wins/losses. It seems like every other team is named after a thing such that you can describe their victory and defeat via cutesy imagery- ‘Avalanche bury Coyotes’, ‘Hurricanes blow away Leafs’, ‘Devils condemn Rangers to black pit of eternal damnation’, ‘Senators vote down Penguins by 3/5 majority.’ I always said that I thought these things were horribly corny, but really, I was just jealous because I couldn’t do it. I mean, come on, what can you do with ‘Canadiens’, or ‘Habs’, for that matter? You can’t even hardly get any good puns out of those, much less higher-level wordplay. It’s sad.

But Sharks, now that’s got potential. Sharks can do all sorts of things interesting, bloody things that might make good metaphors for winning a hockey game- biting, chomping, devouring, ripping into tiny little shreds of flesh, etc. The problem, in this case, is the opposition. Red Wings? What is that? That’s not even an animal, that’s an animal part. It’s like something already ate most of it and just left the bony, feathery bits behind. So I think I’m going to have to go with ‘Sharks Scavenge Red Wings’ for this one. And it’s particularly fitting, given Detroit’s depleted roster- it’s just like picking the last little bits off the carcass, really.

1. Games with weird scoring make me itchy. This was one of those where the only two goals were scored within 24 seconds of each other, and I can’t help suspecting that that’s the sort of cosmic weirdness that will get evened out eventually. Especially with the point-circus of the Jersey-Ottawa game scrolling across the bottom of the screen, I rather expected the game to get tied up in equally bizarre way. Who wins on a 2-0 lead after the first, in this day and age? But I was wrong to doubt; the Karmic Principles of Being ain’t got nothin’ on Joe Thornton.

2. Or Lolita, for that matter. 34 saves for the shutout, barely even breaking a sweat. That should be enough to set somebody’s loins on fire…

3. Defensive hockey gets no respect. Seriously, every hockey fan in the world rips on defensive hockey- damn low scoring, conservative styles, ruining our game. Even fans of obviously defensive-minded teams (myself included) get very, well, defensive if you point that out, and will irritably tell you that at least they’re not like New Jersey. Even Devils fans get sensitive about it sometimes, anxiously reminding anyone who will listen they’re not nearly as trappy as they used to be. Now, because of this, if I told you that the Sharks spent the last 40 minutes of this game playing very defensively, trying to hold the lead, you would envision a very, very boring game. But not so! See, evidently the Sharks’ interpretation of ‘playing defensively’ is a gigantic, ice-bound game of schoolyard keep-away, wherein they thump and dance their way around the offensive zone with the puck, dodging all and sundry Wings, and acting essentially as though this is a good time to practice their stickhandling drills under combat conditions. Then, sometimes, just for fun, they let some Wing get the puck for a second, but only for the pleasure of THUMPing him and taking it right back. Mike Grier sez: Defensive Forwarding Can Be Fun! No, Really!

4. Well, it’s fun if you want the Sharks to win. By the last 5-6 minutes of this game, the Joe Louis looks to be half-empty and very, very quiet. Detroitians are evidently kind-hearted, ‘classy’ folk who leave in a discreet and dignified fashion when hope is lost. This is a very reasonable way for human beings to behave, but it is not the way of hockey fans. First of all, in a game when the only two goals went in less than a minute apart, who gives up with that much time left, even if their team is being badly outplayed? But more than that, what sort of hockey fan doesn’t take this as a perfect opportunity to explore the various ways that displeasure can be expressed en masse? Take pride in your heckling, dammit! How will the team understand how upset you are if you don’t tell them loudly and often? Don’t think of it as ‘booing’, Detroitians, rather, think of it as one long continuous groan punctuated by bursts of outrage: aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnNOOOOOOOOOOoooooouuuuuuuuYOUSUCK. Trust me, you’ll feel better if you let it out. Well, maybe not that much better.

Of course, it would be premature to count the poor Red Wings out just because they looked like pure crap in one game. Cut them some slack, they’re elderly and disabled. And anyway, remember how they embarrassed the Flames over and over again, even when Calgary was trying to look all big and tough and macho? That was funny. They deserve some sort of credit for that. Presumably Detroit probably be fairly upset about this loss, getting so sadly shut down in their own building, so I’d expect a more threatening effort next time around.

[Sorry I stopped posting for a while last week. I got pretty badly writer’s blocked, for reasons that are not worth going into. Fact is, I take hockey personally. Too personally. And way, way too seriously. It sometimes causes problems.]


Julian said...

Speaking as someone who attended game two in Detroit of the Oilers-Wings series last year, I'm quite glad that the Wings fans were dignified and classy enough to not beat the crap out of me on my way out of the building.
The third period of that game so weakened me that I probably would have had trouble fighting off a half dozen kittens in pink bows. Seriously, when Stoll scored an EN to seal the victory for Edmonton, I was so relieved I worried momentarily that I might wet myself.

Which I'd like to think is more a reflection of the Joe Louis' insufficient washroom facilities than any stress level I might have exhibited.

glad you're back E, i know i still owe you one.

PredJoe said...

Great blog and insights...glad I found it.

kazmojo said...

I thought I heard some booing, but I thought even that was fairly classless. I would never boo my beloved Habs. Well, never is a little too definite, but let's just say I never have. Ok, I get plenty frustrated, but booing at the tv would be a little weird.

Even on the rare occasion I get to see them in person, I can't see myself booing the entire team. Maybe a "Samsonov, you suck!" or something equally childish, but always directed at the particular object of my disaffection. BTW, that particular invective was directed at the tv many a time this past season.

So maybe I'm one of the fans Jack Todd would like to boo. But I like to think that fans like me are the reason the Habs are competitive year after year -- not to mention staying in Montreal instead of threatening to move to Kansas City.

It's loyalty, Jack. Go get yourself some.

Tapeleg said...

How about:

"Habs Have At Khabibulin"

E said...

oh tapeleg, i think that's the exception that very much proves the rule.