Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Game Seven Diary

7:53pm...While spacing-out during a break in the pre-game show, an ugly thought enters my noggin. What if the cable goes out?

7:58...A shot of Lord Stanley's silverware being lifted from a trunk, sets the scene for what is about to occur.

8:00...Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas appear on screen, donning their sweaters. The Vancouver goalie looks tall and slender, while Tim Thomas is short and round.

8:08...Another phone call, but the same old conversation, "Who do you think will win?" I provide the standard reply of "Well, the team that wants it more, I guess." Being an Original Six fan, I have a soft spot for the Bruins. On the other hand, it is great having a Canadian team in this position. Ultimately, national pride wins over. The only Boston player who takes me back to the Original Six era is Tim Thomas. Honourable mention goes to Mark Recchi.

8:16...The national anthems are being belted-out. The players look oblivious as to what is going on around them. They are lost in their thoughts.

8:20...The puck drop. An entire hockey season is narrowed down to one game, with the winner being crowned Stanley Cup champions.

8:25...An anxious moment around the Vancouver goal, as a loose puck sits in the goal crease.

8:31...The first commercial break comes after a Tim Thomas save on Henrik Sedin. A quick check of the snack supplies reveals a serious dent being inflicted in the chip/mix bowel. A case of nervous eating?

8:32...The crowd demonstrates their appreciation when an injured Mason Raymond takes a bow. His upper body is wrapped in a brace.

8:41...The second TV time-out takes place. Although there have been no huge scoring chances, Vancouver and Boston have set a nice pace.

8:43...Boston scores the first goal off the ensuing face-off. Patrice Bergeron from Brad Marchand at 14:47. It is Bergeron's first tally in the final - timing is everything.

8:51...The TV camera follows Tomas Kaberle during a a stoppage in play. For Leaf fans, it brings a smile, knowing this long-time member of the Blue & White is this close to winning all the marbles.

8:56...The first period is over. A couple of observations. The officials have made a decision not to become the focus of attention. Secondly, Tim Thomas is clearly on his game.

9:01...Coaches Corner. Don Cherry's coat looks like it was made from the material on my grandmother's old couch.

9:08...As the sun is setting, I decide to check the mailbox. Okay, so I forgot, there is a postal work stoppage/lock-out in progress. I take a glance to make sure none of my neighbours are watching.

9:13...A TV ad (Coors-Light "Who wants a cool one?") shows a mailman being chased into some bushes by a pack of dogs.

9:15...A crowd shot of William Shanter as the middle frame gets underway. Where is Scotty when we need him? "Beam me up a goal", Captain Kirk would demand if his pal was at his side.

9:22...To gage the atmosphere, I listen to the crowd noise. The large gathering resembles a father-to-be. They are quietly waiting for something good to happen. On defence, it is a collective inhale, then on offence all the hot air is exhaled.

9:29...Zdeno Chara turns the puck over, but recovers to prevent Burrows from getting Vancouver on the scoreboard. Another missed opportunity for the Cancuks. An excellent stop by big Number 33.

9:35... A wrap-around goal by Brad Marchand gives Boston a 2-0 advantage.

9:41...The first penalty goes to Boston. A commercial break provides Vancouver with some additional rest.

9:46...Disaster for the home team. A shorthanded goal by Patrice Bergeron at 17:35.

9:52...Forty-minutes of play is in the books. This game is slipping away. It is taking on the feel of a pre-season contest, as opposed to a game seven in the Cup final.

10:07...An advertisement for "Bud Camp" lifts my spirit.

10:11...The final period of 2010-11 is underway. Will Boston sit-back and protect the lead or continue on the attack?

10:17...I crank-up the TV located in the kitchen. Time to toast a few slices of french-bread, then coat them in peanut butter. While I'm at it, I pour a large glass of chocolate milk.

10:22...The Bruins failed to score with a Canuck in the sin-bin.

10:25...Glenn Healy references Tim Thomas' age and his accomplishments in game seven to those of Johnny Bower and Jacques Plante.

10:32...The Canucks go on the power play. Boston, had the best scoring chance in this two-minute span.

10:38...Looking at the Canucks 40th anniversary logo at centre-ice, I can't help but think of players like Orland Kurtenbach & Company.

10:41...With three-minutes remaining, Luongo is yanked for the extra-attacker. At 17:16, Brad Marchand scores into the open net.

10:45..."It's an Original Six Stanley Cup championship for Boston", declares CBC play-by-play announcer Jim Hughston, as game seven is put to rest.

10:50...The handshakes are over and Boston takes over the Rogers Arena ice surface.

10:51...Gary Bettman proclaims Tim Thomas as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. I can imagine the smile on Glenn Hall's face. Roger Crozier glancing down and giving his approval.

10:53... The Stanley Cup is marched out and presented to captain Zdeno Chara, followed by assistant captains Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron. The next in line is Tim Thomas.

11:06...Time for the team photo at centre-ice. Although a relatively new tradition, it is a must each and every year.

11:27...The on-ice interviews with players and their family members continues. These are wonderful to watch, as the Cup winners share their special moment with loved-ones.

11:30...I can't help myself. I flip over to Leafs TV. They are showing game three of the 1964 Stanley Cup final, featuring Detroit and Toronto. The contest, played in the Detroit Olympia, took place on April 16.

11:37...Hockey Night in Canada signs-off. I miss the old HNIC theme song (now owned by TSN) which played over the closing credits.

11:45...Quickly switch over to the CBC affiliate in Vancouver. They are covering car fires and fights on the streets of the city.

11:50...Sportsnet and TSN continue with their Stanley Cup coverage.

11:52...The Vancouver police use teargas in an attempt to disperse a large crowd. It looks like a scene out of a western movie or TV show. The people moving like cattle,  as farmhands (riot police) try to maintain order.

12:01am...Canucks Connected is now on Sportsnet. Host Don Taylor is joined by John Garrett and Gary Valk.

12:08...CBC in Vancouver is in breaking news mode, as hockey has become the secondary story.

12:16...That's Hockey 2 Nite is on TSN. The panel is critical of Roberto Luongo.

12:30...On Leafs TV, former Red Wing Marty Pavelich is being interviewed by Frank Selke Jr. The contest from 1964 is in the first intermission, with Detroit leading 3-0.

12:45am...Turn off the lights (and TV), the party is over - the 2010-11 hockey season is a wrap.

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