Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nobody Panic...I Have a Backup Plan

The game: Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs (WHL playoff series) Game 6. The Hawks led the series 3 -2 going in and we had the chance to take the series on home ice. Plus, it was Chris Francis' 21st birthday. And it's his final season in the WHL. How cool would victory be just for him? It had all the makings of a perfect game.

But as in life, the best laid plans usually go awry: Despite several comebacks to cut it to a one goal lead, and a standing room only in the final minutes of the game, we fell 4-3. It's back to Spokane for Game 7. Anyone who knows their personal stories knows that nothing has come easy for the Winterhawks, either as individuals or as a team. It is only fitting that we are going to Game 7.

The quirk: Spokane has won all three of their games on our ice, and we've all three of our games on theirs.

Which means: There is still hope.

Plus, think about it this way: The only thing better than winning at home will be showing them up in their own arena.

Which is why I had a backup plan: Game 7 Shootout.

And since the refs in Portland couldn't be bothered with the rules last night, neither will I. Instead, I will take it upon myself to refresh them on a few:

1. When Brett Ponich smack talks a player who got up in his face with an almost high-stick, that's not holding. That's hockey. He's the Captain. He's taller than a Christmas tree and he could eat you for breakfast if his billets ran out of Wheaties. Get over it.

2. As one of our resident European players, Nino has too much class and dignity to get into a fight and draw a stupid penalty. So just tell the Spokane players at the beginning of the game to get a better hobby.

3. There needs to be a special rule for this: There is nothing I would love more than to see Ryan Johansen throw a punch. Or two. Or three. It would be even more fun than watching Nino learn to parallel park, better than Brett barbecuing a linesman and even better than watching Luke Walker (while still in full post-injury face gear) head butt an opponent when the refs broke up an almost fight. Any fight Ryan gets into, because of its unique and rare quality, should automatically be counted as a clean hit and let the game proceed onward, thank you very much.

And what is up with Kyle Beach grabbing someone else's second star last night?: I hate him more than those girls with the sign, so here's what I propose boys: Go home, take a nap. Take two. Eat some protein (or a ref), do whatever it is teenage boys do to get amped up and then go to Spokane, lay it down and annihilate that first class twit in his own house.

Moral of the story: Nobody panic. We came this far. If you can see the finish line, you can cross it. Here's the thing: If you have a huge "could have" moment when you're young, like say... not kicking the crap out of Spokane just because you were tired and frustrated...it will haunt you the rest of your life. Hockey is a lot like life. And the biggest rule of all is the same for both: Come out swinging and play to the buzzer. It's the only way to live and it's the only way to play.

And if that cheesy little tidbit that sounds like a line out of "We Are Marshall" doesn't do it, think about it this way: If our season ends on Wednesday, I will go into immediate and serious physical withdrawal that will require medical attention. If you win, not only will you be advancing in the playoffs, you'll be saving a season ticket holder's life.

Next up on 4/1: Back to whatever rule I promised before. Oh, and popping open a bottle of champagne to toast our victory over Spokane.

No comments:

Post a Comment