Hockey Hangover

You know you’ve been waiting for it to happen. You should feel lucky that every game hasn’t been this way. Sure Ellis has been good, but not unconscious. Yet. You knew it was inevitable. You just kept telling yourself, “Not this year.” It just shouldn’t be possible. Once or twice running into a star goalie at the beginning of his career who stands on his head against impossible odds, sure, but not every freaking year. Surely they’d avoid it this year.

A perfect first period with a 1-0 lead. A perfect second period with a 1-0 lead. Shot after shot after shot. Still only the 1-0 lead. 3rd period underway. 5 minutes gone, 10 minutes gone, 15 minutes gone. Under 5 minutes left and you can hardly breathe. 50 some shots have been fired at the opposing net, but still only one has gotten by. “Why do they keep trying to go five hole?” you ask yourself.

Your hands covering your mouth you slowly inch forward on the sofa. They’ve played such a perfect game. When a defenseman gets out of position, a forward is always back there to cover. Osgood has been amazing. Surely, this is going to be our perfect game? Won’t it?

But you know, don’t you? The hockey gods enjoy putting you through rollercoasters. You are a Detroit Red Wings fan, aren’t you? That excellence comes at a price. Great highs, and great lows. Which will it be tonight?

90 seconds, 60 seconds, 45 seconds, 30 se NOPE! At 44 seconds, the Predators tie it up. Pulled goalie and everything. Our best on the ice. Them without two of their offensive stars for the whole game. The Wings dominating in every way for the entire game. But they still tie it.

You’re used to it. You expected it and were waiting for it. Heck, you feel lucky the hockey gods took pity on you. They could have waited until there were only 10 seconds left. You didn’t even throw anything at the TV. This time… You’re beyond that now. You’re a seasoned playoff veteran fan. You’re not surprised by much of anything anymore.

What that must feel like for the players, you can’t imagine. Playing your heart out in a near perfect effort. Overwhelming your opponent in every respect and then back to ground zero. It would probably be so easy for them to let the demons of past seasons consume them and just figure that whatever they do, destiny is against them.

You fully expect to have to soldier through three overtime periods until some lucky bounce finally seals their fate. You keep telling yourself that if they just keep playing the way they’ve been playing it will pay off.

And by golly, it did! Isn’t hockey great!

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