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Off to see game six

in Ye Olde Iglooe with a couple of friends.

It really is an odd little place, originally designed to house the Civic Light Opera.  (More fun facts here.) But I can’t believe I got face-price tix on the Internets!  Thanks to the Penguins for putting 2000 seats on sale at 1 pm on Saturday, and thanks to my trusty Lenovo X61 for navigating the tubes for me at three minutes past 1.  We’ll be in section C11, if you’re watching on the “Against” channel.  We’ll be the guys wearing white.

And while I’m packing up:  though I mostly agree with Scott about the silliness of national anthems before sporting events, and I agree that the Chicago version by Jim Cornelison and twenty thousand crazed screaming people is pretty stunning, I just want to put in a nice word for this young woman:

I remember this well:  it was almost two years ago, game four of the Senators-Ducks final, and when Ms. Morissette’s name was announced, I cringed, thinking, “I know, I know, she’s a local Ottawa kid and they love her, but Holy Shrieking Greataunt of Moloch, this is going to suck even worse than anthems usually suck.  This is going to have all kinds of vibrato and bizarre emoting and maybe even ‘thank you frailty, thank you consequence’ in it.  I must go and get a beer right now.” So I missed her “Star Spangled Banner,” and returned for “O Canada,” the first twenty seconds of which seemed to be everything I’d feared.

And then!  “Car ton bras sait porter l’épée, il sait porter la croix/ Ton histoire est une épopée des plus brillants exploits!” In Ottawa!  I wasn’t expecting that.  And she does a great job!  She actually sounds much better in French.  And then she has the crowd sing the next two lines (back to English)!  And she’s like totally charming about the whole thing right down to the final bow!  So yeah, national anthems before sporting events are silly. But just this once, I was pleasantly surprised.  And as she left the ice, I said, for that, Alanis Morissette, everything is forgiven.  Alas, Disneyland won that one 3-2 and then crushed Ottawa at home.

There probably won’t be any “O Canada” in the finals this year, though.  Eardrum-bursting Star Spangled Banners from Jim Cornelison and twenty thousand crazed screaming people, perhaps.  That would be fun!  The last time Chicago won the Cup I was crouched in the fetal position, being a fetus.

OK, off to Pittsburgh.  This series has been absurdly exciting so far, and I expect tonight to be, how you say, une épopée des plus brillants exploits.

Posted by on 05/11 at 10:26 AM
  1. Unfair that Canada’s anthem sounds good in two languages when ours doesn’t even sound good in one.

    I recall Eugene Levy doing a very sensitive singer-songwriter version in the early days of SCTV, which, sadly, I cannot find anywhere on the innertubes.

    Posted by Dr. Drang  on  05/11  at  01:11 PM
  2. And as she left the ice, I said, for that, Alanis Morissette, everything is forgiven.  Alas, Disneyland won that one 3-2 and then crushed Ottawa at home.

    I know that correlation does not automatically imply causation, but…

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  02:07 PM
  3. Nothing tops Marvin Gaye’s SSB at the NBA All Star Game. Only thing in the same class was Hendrix at Woodstock.


    Posted by  on  05/11  at  02:22 PM
  4. ......porter l’épée, il sait porter la croix...

    Zut!  Or combine into one handy if somewhat Gotique package

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/11  at  02:59 PM
  5. Freshman year in college, there were two seniors on our floor.  One of them lost a bet with the other and, as a consequence (thank you frailty!) he had to sing “O Canada” to all the freshman.  So of course his rendition was sincere and heartfelt and it stopped our freshman giggling in its tracks.  Ever since, I’ve liked the Canadian anthem, a lot.

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  03:26 PM
  6. How can you take hockey seriously when it requires you to write phrases like “Senators-Ducks final?”

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  03:36 PM
  7. Now this is how you sing the Canadian National Anthem.  Monsieur Roget Doucet at the Montreal Forum in 1976.  Is that Frank Mahovlich I see before they cut to the oh so groovy pictures of the Canadian countryside?

    GO PENS!!

    Posted by Jim Leous  on  05/11  at  05:21 PM
  8. Sens/Ducks at least makes some sense: Government Seat (e.g., Washington Senators) and Marketing Tie-In (of all the reasons Michael Eisner is hated, this is one of the lesser ones).

    The league has, apparently, decided that this is another year to show that Gary Bettman’s “Southern Strategy” will work only 200% less well than its Ancestral-Party Predecessor.  So instead of “Love, Sidney” Crosby or OvoidChicken the Kneer, the four people who accidentally tune in NBC in a few weeks likely will be hearing about the Raleigh Hurricanes and wondering what late-summer weather has to do with a winter sport.

    “And the Wings move up the ice. Rafalski to Chelios--those two are both American, by the way--moving in, trying to find Draper. Taken away by Rod Brind’Amoor, one of only two non-U.S. born centers on the team. He finds Eric Cole from Oswego as they cross the center line.  Back to Corvo--also a U.S. player--to Brind’Amoor who shoots.  Osgood, the non-U.S. born goalie, makes the save and the Wings start back up ice.

    “Brind’Amoor was traded to Carolina after one of his teammates in Philadelphia got involved with his wife.  That has worked out well for him.”

    Posted by Ken Houghton  on  05/11  at  05:29 PM
  9. You’re among friends, you can admit that the real draw is the Yanni concert there tomorrow night.

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  05:52 PM
  10. Heck Michael, I’m so used to that version I don’t even remember the English words to the middle. Hockey games are the only place I sing the anthem these days and the only time I get the inexplicable lump in the throat. Who’s playing? I know it ain’t the Leafs. Never mind. Jim’s bringing us another team soon.

    Posted by Clare  on  05/11  at  07:15 PM
  11. If you’d said what seat numbers, my hi-def TSN feed might be able to help pick you out amongst the very few white shirts in the stands. Sadly, I’m posting too late to get you to go stick chewing gum to the top of Pierre Maguire’s head as he does his thing between the benches.

    Snowed again here last week, and even though it’s hot today they’re predicting more later in the week. Really and truly still hockey season.


    Posted by Derryl Murphy  on  05/11  at  07:23 PM
  12. Bazz Fazz!

    Posted by  on  05/11  at  10:56 PM
  13. Several years ago I was engaged to play the SSB at an NBA game on a bamboo flute, believe it or not.  Two days before tipoff, the office called and asked whether I’d be willing to play the Canadian anthem as well-- the visiting team was the Vancouver Grizzlies, and the singer originally scheduled to accommodate the Canadians had dropped out due to illness.

    I readily assented despite having no idea how the tune went, since strangely enough I’d never been exposed to it.  (You can probably tell that I haven’t been exposed to hockey much, either.)

    After two days’ anxious preparation with the sheet music and a band recording from the library, it went smashingly!  A much nicer melody to interpret convincingly on solo bamboo flute than that bombastic, angular glaring-rockets thang.

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  01:15 AM
  14. And then!  “Car ton bras sait porter l’épée, il sait porter la croix/ Ton histoire est une épopée des plus brillants exploits!” In Ottawa!  I wasn’t expecting that.

    Ottawa a une forte population francophone: environ 10% (plus de 20% dans l’agglomération urbaine).

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  08:00 AM
  15. Well, you got to see a record breaking game. There were more lead changes last night than in any other playoff game in NHL history. It was exciting as hell, and a nightmare for the goalies. Is there anything better than overtime in a playoff? During the intermission I thought I’d a have another beer. I opened, sat down, had maybe a sip, and it was all over.

    If you like, I do an astonishingly moving version of the Canadian anthem myself, but only in English. My voice is a cross between Dylan and Leonard Cohen, except not as good as either. I could send you a recording or just call you before every game. Have you a speaker phone for the full effect?

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  01:27 PM
  16. Just back!  Wow.  Well, it certainly was une épopée des plus brillants exploits, that’s for sure.  But my goodness, it’s hard to lose at home in OT—now I know how Caps fans felt Saturday night.  It was like somebody turned off the lights in the Igloo all at once.  Much worse than losing in regulation.  At least we had some advance warning:  when Scuderi’s shot hit the crossbar, I knew we were done.  Very bad omen, hitting the crossbar in OT.  (And how weird would it have been for Scuderi, Eaton, and Letang to score in one game?) So, to Chris Robinson’s question:  yes, there is one thing better than overtime in a playoff.  Namely, winning in overtime in a playoff.  And what were you doing getting a beer, Chris?  This wasn’t Alanis Morissette, now.  As I told my friends, at least we could be sure that OT wouldn’t go more than five or six minutes—the Caps and Pens had scored seven goals on 37 shots in periods two and three, and I didn’t think there would be any tentative, feeling-out kind of play in period four. . . .

    Thanks also to Mr. Hound for the stylish two-in-one épée-et-croix.  That’ll come in handy for game seven.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/12  at  02:00 PM
  17. And the one thing better than winning in overtime in a playoff game six is finally winning in overtime in game seven. Good luck, enjoy--and go ‘Canes!

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  03:21 PM
  18. I’m just a ‘Murican, but O Canada brings me close to tears.  Msr. Roget Doucet certainly has a fine voice, though he made a hash of the English lyrics.  Only about 1/2 step above Frank Sinatra crooning “dooby-dooby-doo.” on “Strangers in the night.”

    Detroit has the best anthem singers, bar none.  Nobody can beat Karen Newman on the SSB.  A few years ago, when the Wings played the ‘Canes for the cup, down there they had some hill-billy girl who was so out of tune she literally made me wince.

    Ken -
    Rafalsi and Draper are both hurt.  Chelios has been replaced by somebody half his age.  I doubt we’ll see any of them again this season.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  05/12  at  04:19 PM
  19. As a lurker here in the Airspace, let me just add

    GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Posted by  on  05/12  at  04:32 PM
  20. OK, now as for Jim @ 7:  ah, that takes me back.  M. Doucet was one of a kind—and, I think, singlehandedly won the Cup for the Habs in ‘76 by outsinging Kate Smith of the Flyers.

    But the really impressive thing is those fishermen at 1:00-1:03, standing on guard for Canada.  I presume they’re using those long nets-on-poles things to protect the border from being overrun by Americans seeking health care?

    Posted by Michael  on  05/12  at  04:42 PM
  21. Whoops, missed Lefty Lefty @ 19.  Sister of Ba’al, your Black Hawks don’t need any encouragement.  I managed to persuade the bartender at the Marriott lounge to give us just one screen of Hawks-Canucks (the other seven were dedicated to post-game interviews with Penguins talking about how lousy it feels to lose at home in OT), and we caught the third period—all six goals of it.  My word, that looked like a pickup game out there.  Seven goals on Luongo.  Twenty-three for the series.  Three words:  In. Cred. Ible.  Those Red Wings better brace themselves.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/12  at  04:47 PM
  22. As the local paper describes all that is right with this world (out here on the northern left coast): “The Canucks lost the old-fashioned way; Vancouver gave it away...” Praise Molock for insuring that those momentary fleeting happy thoughts of hope were smashed upon the rocks of consistent reality.

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  05:29 PM
  23. Red Wings? We’ll see later tonight… Anyway, Go Hawks! indeed. I could only listen to it on the radio, which made the third period sound like a loop of “...and he SCOOOORES!”

    Posted by  on  05/12  at  07:08 PM
  24. Well, about those Canes.  Despite Ken’s remarks @ 8—which seem to claim some kind of moral high ground by way of the use of the term “Southern Strategy,” but which are clearly motivated by the fact that Ken’s New Jersey Devils somehow forgot to keep playing against Carolina for the last three minutes of game seven—it appears that the good people of North Carolina are coming around.  In 2002, Carolina in the finals was a novelty and a fluke, and no one cared.  In the Cup year of 2006, they experienced a legitimate bandwagon phenomenon, but it was still pretty thin.  Sian (hi Sian @ 17!) and I caught a game in late March of that year, and despite the fact that Carolina broke 100 points for the season that night, there were still a few thousand empty seats.  And before the conference final with Buffalo, I decided to run a little experiment.  The moment tix went on sale, I tried to get a few in Buffalo.  Not a chance, of course.  So I checked Carolina, and tix were available for the next couple of hours.  This year, by contrast, the local fans seem to know and love their hockey.  Problem is, the Canes are only going to play one more game this year.

    I might be wrong—I can’t figure out that series.  Seesaw series, but the individual games are mediocre.  By the end of game four I was beginning to believe that Boston earned the top seed by playing four B minus divisional opponents all year, but now they’re looking like the real thing after all. . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  05/12  at  09:56 PM
  25. Late to this, but:

    Nothing tops Marvin Gaye’s SSB at the NBA All Star Game. Only thing in the same class was Hendrix at Woodstock.

    Jose Feliciano, Tiger Stadium, 1968 World Series.

    Posted by  on  05/15  at  09:51 AM
  26. Speaking of Roger Doucet, I was a teenager in Montreal in 1972 (the first USSR-Canada series) and I can recall the reaction when he sang the old Soviet anthem (now, with different words, Russia’s).

    The point was, nobody had sung the words to the anthem since about 1957.  Reason, the first verse talked about building a glorious communist paradise under the mentorship of Comrade Lenin, while the second was identical save for the substitution of the name of Comrade Stalin.  Not done after Nikita the Jolly’s 1956 speech.

    All the Russian players were astonished, looking at each other while shaking heads, sotto voce conversations, etc.

    Posted by  on  05/15  at  07:24 PM
  27. I forgot to add that Mr. Doucet got around the Stalin bit by simply singing the first verse twice.

    Posted by  on  05/15  at  07:36 PM





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