HOCKEY WILL TEAR US APART
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
California Dreaming: Part V, the End

GAME 5: OTTAWA 2 at ANAHEIM 6

Anaheim wins series 4-1

Anaheim wins the Stanley Cup

I head into this game knowing this is a mere formality.

We can pray for a different team to come out, that the real Senators will shine, but they have -- the desperation of Philchenkov, Fisher, it's all been out there, all this time, I just don't think we have the technical competence to overcome. At some point, it's not about how much you want it. It's about the other team just being better.

(I'm sorry. If this weren't the final game of the season and if I weren't in such a daze and my brain and emotional thresholds weren't fried -- then maybe I could find it in my heart to give a recap but I doubt any of you are reading to find out how they scored only that they did score and they scored 6 and we scored 2 and they got Stanley and we didn't.)

We are down 2-0 in the first period, I started crying into my Sens Army scarf and this is it. There is no come-back, no miracle, and no little brief flashes of hope -- even when Alfie rifles the puck past Giguere to make it a "real" game. Every inch we grab, they grab a foot back. So, this can only mean that Phillips makes a rare unforced error and bounces the puck in off Emery's skates to score on his own net. Steve Smith, anyone? Then this can only mean that Alfie will give us another bit of hope by scoring shorthanded, in a play born out of will, but the penalty killers only to surrender a flukey goal that Ray seems ill-positioned for. They never surrender their 2-goal lead for more than a few minutes and they take it into the third period, and the players know it, no matter what brave words are being said, it is over. We don't have many chances generated now anyhow and it would take someone of immense, immense naivete and courage to believe that we can come out in the third period with God on our side and score 3 goals and not get scored on.

I am not that person. I wish I could be that person. But that person would probably punch something once they found out they were wrong, or start questioning God.

Like why, God, you would have us in the Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose. Why you would allow us to win our series' in 5 games only to lose the only one that counts in 5. You have a great sense of humour, God, but sometimes you are just cruel. Cruel! Maybe you have something you would like us to learn from this, but I am too distraught right now to think.

(Just why, God, if you are merciful and just, would you allow Corey Perry to win the Stanley Cup?)

"They're climbing uphill here," Bob Cole tells me.

This isn't a hill. This is asking the Senators to climb Mt. Everest, then Mt. Olympus. The gods have already forsaken us.

On the bright side, this has become another arena where you will know for sure when Alfie has the puck. I don't think any Sens fan at this point gives a crap at what other people say about Alfie -- weasel or spineless or classless -- he is our beating heart. We are willing to forgive his rare trespasses because of this.

Muckler stares furiously at the crowd, gnashing at his nails, trying to figure out where he went wrong. When Perry takes an Alfie-giveaway to make it a real blow-out, Emery's brows are straight. He doesn't look flustered. I wonder how Gerber would look in there right now, but this is thought for the off-season.

So Anaheim has the Stanley Cup. And any major city with a major sports championship will feel the giddy thrill of this, the utter ecstasy of this, but will they remember this in a month? Will they remember this in another season? Will they remember this when they are older and telling their children stories of heroes and hockey players?

This is the end, as it's always been, except this time … this time, it's Stanley.

Every hug evokes an onslaught of tears. Orange is deathly and dull. The Senators somberly hug each other, Emery is re-assured. Alfie taps everyone, muttering something in the ears of everyone. Chris Neil grimaces, looking like he has been shot and twists his face against his stick. Handshakes are exchanged, and the boys can't cry -- they probably want to -- but this is all just a daze, a dream corrupted, gone terribly wrong. Do they want to watch this? Do I want to watch this?

They say I should be happy for Teemu Selanne. I am not capable of such complicated emotions. I feel only sorry, for Mike Fisher, for Phillips and Volchenkov, for Daniel Alfredsson and myself.

Thank you all, for reading. Thank you for being here during the lows of the season where the future of this team was in serious question and thank you for being here as we sailed through the highs and then crashed and burned, just now. Thanks for reading.

Thank you, Ottawa Senators. I won't turn this into an Alanis Morissette song, but ... thank you for doing more than I thought we could do, more than I realistically expected. Thank you for making me happy and putting a smile on my face when I was stressed with real life. You stole about two months of good sleep from me, but it was all worth it, driving to Ottawa, feeling spiritually connected, being proud to be one of the only two left and just that feeling, that feeling like, for an instant, you exist as something bigger than yourself, and now, now I think I understand why, why people become sports fans and why people stay this way.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous PRQ said...

It's been a tough few years, but you've spent it making us feel a lot better by putting into words exactly what we're thinking.

Thank you.

06 June, 2007 23:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On t'aime - whatever the outcome of our boys in the red, white, and black. Merci pout tout que VOUS avez nous offert! A l'annee prochaine! (et bonne chance en Montreal?!!) Your home closer to the Capital/your kind awaits you.

07 June, 2007 00:58  
Anonymous Bob.C said...

I couldn't have said it better in a thousand rewrites. Congrats AQG, they went on an incredible run.

07 June, 2007 02:18  
Blogger Phunkadelic said...

I can only agree with your sentiments. Once everything is said and done we were taken on a great ride that brought the city together which rallied behind the Sens.
I only have good hopes for the future

07 June, 2007 08:28  
Anonymous Paul said...

AQG: Thank you for your writing. It's not easy to write as consistently as you have, it takes effort and discipline. And you leave your heart there on the page, just as we hope our players leave it on the ice.

I didn't think I would find a blog I liked as much as Chris McMurtry's when he dropped out of sight. But this one is the one I turn to first the day after game day now. It's different -- less technical to be sure. But it's better it its own ways - more engaging, more passionate.

Thanks and I hope you can sustain this level next year, and maybe even step it up a notch further. Oh and that goes for the sens too. :-)

Cheers

Paul

07 June, 2007 09:06  
Blogger SalaciousBoy said...

I reserved my emotions for this morning. I'm not really sure how. I welled up for the first time when I read your blog.

Alfie did his part and I'm so proud of him for it. 14 goals in 20 playoff games and of course the two last night. Mon Capitaine!

The rest of the team has a lot to be proud of too. Thanks to the Sens for a great ride.

And thank you so much for providing this great voice and context for our beloved team. Is there an email address you can be contacted at during the off-season? I'm sure there are a lot of fans that would love to drop you a line from time to time.

Have a great summer and enjoy the memories from the Sens 07 playoff run. There are many.

07 June, 2007 11:03  
Anonymous kv said...

Amen.

And thank you.

For everything.

07 June, 2007 13:44  
Blogger Adam said...

AQG, perfect post. Somehow, you always seem to say it 'just right'.

Trying to digest the game/series/season right now. It's not working.

Great season. Great blog.

07 June, 2007 14:29  
Blogger aquietgirl said...

It's been a tough few years, but you've spent it making us feel a lot better by putting into words exactly what we're thinking.

I was sure you meant season, until I realized that the first entry in my archives dates back to April 2004. It's been a loooongg three years. I feel ancient.

On t'aime - whatever the outcome of our boys in the red, white, and black. Merci pout tout que VOUS avez nous offert! A l'annee prochaine! (et bonne chance en Montreal?!!) Your home closer to the Capital/your kind awaits you.

:( Merci beaucoup. Montreal va me manquer parce que je ne vais pas y aller cette annee, je vais déménager a Hamilton. Oui, c'est plus loin ... I hope my poor heart can take it.

I couldn't have said it better in a thousand rewrites. Congrats AQG, they went on an incredible run.

Thank you for the comments, and thank you for the linkage throughout the run, Bob.

I didn't think I would find a blog I liked as much as Chris McMurtry's when he dropped out of sight. But this one is the one I turn to first the day after game day now. It's different -- less technical to be sure. But it's better it its own ways - more engaging, more passionate.

Technical, schmenical -- I kid, I kid. I'm a pretty analytical person in other realms of my life, it's nice to be driven purely by emotion in this arena. Chris McMurtry's absence leaves a gaping technical void in the Sens blogosphere that I will not even attempt to fix.

And thank you so much for providing this great voice and context for our beloved team. Is there an email address you can be contacted at during the off-season? I'm sure there are a lot of fans that would love to drop you a line from time to time.

I'm so jealous that Stephen King gets to publish books about some silly baseball team, whereas the only Sens book I could find was by Roy MacGregor and it detailed our first season, and our tanking of the draft ... not this franchise's greatest moment.

I've added an email address, and thank you so much for the suggestion.

Amen.

And thank you.

For everything.


:) I'm just glad to know I'm not alone.

Somehow, you always seem to say it 'just right'.

It's just subliminal messaging. If you copy & paste my entries in Microsoft Word, turn everything backwards, then highlight the 5, 7, 9 and 11th vowel along with the 2, 3, 4th consonant, you'll find why it sounds so right.

(I am joking.)

11 June, 2007 21:08  

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