Have we been here before?
Two goalies, no great starter. Blown leads. A Spezza injury, followed by a devastating (but short) Alfredsson injury. Sloppy, sloppy defensive work and a languid offense.
Each slump is new in circumstance and context but ultimately it comes down to the same goddamn thing: no goaltending, no defense, no offense, and no wins. No confidence, no smiles. This too, shall come to pass.
Forget about the players having a Stanley Cup Finals hangover. I have a damn hangover. I can't watch hockey for more than a few minutes without thinking of the damn playoffs and those damn Ducks and how long the season is before anything matters, how nothing was easy and conversely the ease with which the Senators played was a small miracle. I cannot practice the Zen art of hockey watching anymore, unless it's a team that I don't care for. Like the
Am I losing interest?
Is this what it feels like to be on the other side of the divide? To be sickened by hockey, to have the nerve to say "fuck hockey" and change the channel to watch Gossip Girls?
Yet it's not like I can stay away from hockey news, from knowing what the score is, who's in net, who took too many penalties, and who handed out whiskey to a homeless dude in
Please don't strip me of my hockey stripes just yet. I don't really watch Gossip Girls.
While watching the Leafs lose the game in the first period, I really enjoyed the film "Rhino Brothers" on CityTV. It's the story of a precariously professional hockey player who tries to quit hockey. He returns home to his overbearing, ambitious mother and his bitter brothers. The mother stiffly accuses his fiancé of distracting him from the ice and reminds him constantly of his points, goals, assists, ice-time … his older brother, a failed minor-leaguer, seethes in the background as an example of what happens when a hockey career fails.
The film really made me think about what happens when hockey fails. The theme of failed dreams isn't exclusive to hockey, but I find that often hockey, especially, is full of those clichés -- "perseverance," "fight through the pain," etc. Dedication, suffering through body checks and roster cuts are the ultimate badge of what it means to be a real hockey player -- one with "heart," you might say. But my god, metaphors of the ice can't be applied to the real world that easily. Hockey exists in a vacuum in that sense. As much as we glorify the "gritty" player for his heart, the player has to be constantly aware that he's an injury or a bad off-season away from losing his job. A player can try as hard as he wants but when he has marginal talent, no amount of blood, sweat or tears will ever make up for it.
What a cruel, cruel world.
How many of those real-life minor leaguers are playing in the leagues of