Sunday, March 04, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Six: Just a Regular Old Game



I decided it was a good time to check in and see where I stood in terms of applying all this delicious knowledge I’ve been acquiring, and what better time than the Sabres first post-trade game against the Canadiens on Friday night (Tuesday’s slaughter against the Leafs didn’t count, the locker room still smelled vaguely of Biron). Having been downgraded to one of the smaller screens at the local sports bar- if there’d been one more spring training scrimmage on, I think we would have been relegated to an old computer monitor in the back- the action wasn’t as visceral as past games, but the refs weren’t as fun either, in terms of allowing fights. I suppose getting inadvertently punched in the face a few times can do that to a man.

Two Sabres goals within the first two minutes was some pretty potent foreshadowing of the kind of game it was going to be, and I had to make peace with the fact that if I wanted to take a piss, I would likely miss at least three goals. Two beers in, I waxed a little philosophic (internally, waxing philosophic out loud at my sports bar is prohibited)- is it better to have a high scoring game, with more moments of elation, or does that dilute the joy of a goal? Two more beers, a glass of whiskey, and a Sabres victory later, it turned out I didn’t give a shit.

I was disappointed not to see Conklin go in for his trial by fire; I either want to see this guy go down in flames or carried off the ice on Slavic shoulders, anything in between would be a letdown. Wondering how wide the gap would have to be before Lindy Ruff would let him try to win the crowd/his freedom proved pointless, as the Habs wouldn’t roll over and die spectacularly enough to allow it. I was definitely feeling more comfortable watching this game than I have been in previous weeks, and I think this was the first time I managed not to give bystanders the impression of "Baby’s First Hockey Game". Though my slang usage is more at the "hat trick" than the "dump and chase" level, I’m feeling adventurous, and when I attend my first official NHL game as an American Hockey Fan next week, my goal is to have enough command of my lexicon to be able to intersperse the appropriate swear words.

In the meantime, this week’s theme is "Classic Hockey Plays/Games", starting with a "Miracle on Ice" as an amuse-bouche. I’ve got the Sabres/Stars Cup game in my YouTube queue, but here’s where I need a little help from AHF readers. What plays are considered to be seminal/controversial moments in the sport of hockey? Line ‘em up for me and I’ll watch ‘em.

Birthing Status: Bitching at the Baby’s Father for Getting me Into This

9 comments:

Sven said...

It doesn't get any better than the game winning goal of the 1987 Canada Cup. Lemieux assisted by Gretzky and Messier in what most hockey critics agree was the greatest series ever played.

As a Rangers fan, I would also have to add in Stephan Matteau's double overtime game winner in Game 7 of the 1994 series against the Devils. Richter's stop on a Pavel Bure penalty shot in the final series against Vancouver is pretty classic as well.

will said...

as a sabres fan, i have to recommend this:

http://www.wgr550.com/sabres/top10/02.php

2-5 are my personal favorites.

Alec said...

Do I even need to mention the 1970 stanley cup clincher- Bobby Orr flying through the air? This goal makes "all-time" lists in places where hockey is not even a minority sport.

Kevin Stevens flattening Lindros is a favorite hit that will get a response. Lindros thought he was a tough-guy Steven was a tough guy

Steve Yzermans OT game winner against the blues with a nasty slapper- thats a good one.

Public Masturbation said...

When the Detroit Red Wings won the Cup in 1997 it was the first time in forty two years. There was much celebrating until defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov was paralyzed in an accident a few weeks later.

When the Wings repeated in 1998 by winning the 16th game (needed to get it) on June 16th and they brought Vlady (number 16)out onto the ice and let him hold the cup in his lap again I bawled my teenage eyes out.

But I'm a biased Wings fan since they days they were awful.

Ritch said...

Wow- that's a nice story, made only slightly less nice by the fact that it was written by a public masturbator.

I mean, Jesus.

But to get back on topic, This goal is one of my particular favorites, Mario Lemiuex in the 02 Olympics lets a Pronger pass go through his legs straight to Paul Karya who finishes.

I hate Mario like poison, but this is a simply beautiful goal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb7M9JVnPO4

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The Forechecker said...

Forget great goals, go for the mayhem. There hasn't been a great rivalry in the NHL since the glory days of the Red Wings and Avalanche in the late '90s, and March 26, 1997 was the climax of the Claude Lemieux/Kris Draper episode. That feud features all the great elements of hockey - genuine hatred, elite play, Hall of Fame participants, and the Stanley Cup at stake.

Best yet, that was the first time I got a press pass to cover an NHL game. It was a pretty amateurish effort, I'll admit, but it was easily the most exciting regular season game I've ever seen.

Public Masturbation said...

I agree with the forechecker about that series in 97 (and subsequent series) being the height of hockey rivalry recently. To this day I curse the name of Claude "Turtle Cheap Shot" Lemieux and Patrick Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

P.S. the name is a joking reference to what all blogging is, public masturbation

Anonymous said...

This is the NHL. No matter how far the Sabres were ahead Millsie wouldn't have been pulled to get Conks some action. You just don't do that in the show.