Volume 95, Issue 4
Thursday, June 14, 2001
The hockey gods must be crazy - or is that insane?
Mount Stanley. It doesn't have the mythological ring of Mount Olympus nor a pagan God who throws deadly thunder-bolts but I've always been a believer.
Somewhere in this great land perhaps in the desolate tundra of Nunavut or maybe in the dumpster of a Tim Horton's in Sudbury I always believed the gods of hockey existed.
I envisioned them in their immortal home the all-powerful caretakers of a game which remains so close to the Canadian heart. The mighty deities sat side-by-side, surveying the cold, icy landscape of the rink and the momentous rise and fall of the puck.
But my faith has been waning recently and as the holy grail itself was championed again last Saturday night, I found myself looking for proof of their immortal touch.
If the hockey gods existed...
The Tie Domi hit on Scott Niedermeyer would have never happened. I know, I know we all love Domi (he's a nice goon) but I'm still convinced it was that ominous hit which deprived our beloved Leafs of the Eastern Conference Final.
Lady luck was on their side the second the boys in blue hit the ice in Ottawa and that no-brain hit single-handedly re-shuffled the winning hand which fate had dealt them.
Beating the strife-ridden Penguins would have been like taking candy from a spoiled Czechoslovakian baby (hello Mr. Jagr) and once the Leafs were in the final well, anything can happen.
If divine influence had a say, the feisty Edmonton Oilers would have finally vindicated themselves and overcome their perennial David versus Goliath complex against the Dallas Stars. If any team deserved a break it was Doug Weight and the gang.
And what about the Montreal Canadians? I've always hated them but the playoffs seem hollow and dead without them.
The Boston Bruins deserved to squeak in too. How about the irony which saw Canada's only two Eastern Conference teams, Ottawa and Toronto, forced to play each other in the first round?
Someone's not playing fair.
If the hockey gods existed all hockey teams in the sun-belt of the United States would simultaneously cease to exist. Good-bye Florida, Carolina, San Jose, Anaheim and all you other wannabe hockey towns you can kiss your lame asses goodbye.
What about Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky coming out of retirement? Would that have been too much to ask?
A few immortal strings need to be pulled to get Ted Nolan a head coaching job. Plus, Winnipeg and Quebec need to be given back their franchises. Hell, even though it sucks, give Hamilton a bloody team.
The gods of hockey would eliminate the mind-numbing neutral zone trap, Bobby Clarke would be eaten by small rodents and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would grow some balls.
If Bettman refused to grow some balls (or at least one), he would be replaced by Don Cherry, who would proceed to eliminiate all penalties, as well as declare war with numerous European nations.
The immortal powers of the frozen pond would lend Eric Lindros their divine time machine. Eric could go back to his junior days and tell his mom and dad to piss the hell off and warn his younger self he might grow up to be a vain, egotistic meathead.
Sometimes you lose your faith (and I was oh so close), but I've found it can be reborn. After game five of the final, I was ready to give up on the hockey gods and turn to a life of hockey atheism.
In the end, seeing Ray Bourque holding that holiest of cups, the sweat
and tears streaming down his face, I couldn't help but think at least one
hockey god might still be listening.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000