Vancouver went into Chicago today and intended to close out the series. They beat the Blackhawks three consecutive games. Tonight was fait accompli. Chicago handed the Canucks their ass 7-2, the same Canucks that looked unbeatable.
Sharks in five. That’s all we heard. We took them to overtime in game one. Could have won it. Didn’t. We fed them their teeth in game two.
Tonight, before we reached the half way mark of the game, we were up 4-0. That was 8 unanswered goals. Felt good? Meant nothing. Hockey is life. Life doesn’t come with magic pills and perpetual pleasure. One day, you’re on top of what you think is the world. Look away for a moment and you have tire tracks on your back and your mother is reading your eulogy.
You want to be angry about tonight’s loss, go ahead and waste your time. Blame Penner for being a useless putz. Castigate Murray for failing to call a timeout. Forget for a moment that our opponents were supposed to walk all over us. Instead, the two games they won have gone down to the wire and the one they lost was a blowout. Weren’t they unbeatable? Wasn’t our offense supposed to stop at two goals per game? Wasn’t San Jose the elite team and us anchored in futility? The game is played on the ice, not on paper nor from the lips of media prognosticators. Every game is a small encapsulation of life and you have a front row seat to it all.
Whether you are with me at Staples Center or not, you have a job to do. Cheer this team to victory. Tonight, you did your part. They failed to do theirs. Thursday, they try again. Thursday, they win again if or when they so choose. Either way, it’s the LA Kings that control their own destiny. Your hockey team and mine is good enough to beat the San Jose Sharks and the Kings will win this series if they want it more. All the Sharks have shown me is that they have a porous defense and suspect goaltending wrapped around some talented forwards. We lose to them and we gave them the series. We beat them and we prove what you feel in your heart – that we are the better team. But even that doesn’t guarantee a damn thing.
Life is for the living. The Stanley Cup is won by the team that wants it more than 29 others. Is that your LA Kings? Is that mine? Set aside your lament and put your head on straight. Your boys need you on Thursday. A win then makes this a three game series and proves something else you already know. The victory you so crave is well within our grasp. GO KINGS!