Friday, August 13, 2004
Family and friends night
I’ve been deluged with one letters asking how last night’s Summer League championship game went. We won, 7-1, and I contributed a goal and an assist. But that’s not why I’m bothering to blog about it. I’m bothering to blog about it because for the first time since I started playing again four and a half years ago, a whole bunch of people came to see me play˝ Janet, Jamie, Nick, and (a major surprise) four of Nick’s friends, Dan, Peter, and the blog-reading Arthur and Jane (the latter of whom made a “Berube for Vice Prez in 2020” shirt for the occasion). Hello, blog-reading kids! Thanks for showing up. Now stop reading this blog and get back to the salt mine.
Really, it was very sweet of you all. The only thing was that Nick also brought a sign reading, “B╚rub╚˝ score a point?! Paid for by Obama-B╚rub╚ 2020.” While it was good of Nick to suggest that an assist would be as meaningful as a goal (thus assuring my linemates that I wouldn’t be doing any puck-hogging/grandstanding on Nick’s behalf), the curious punctuation troubled my team, who consequently were not at all sure what I was being urged to do. As for me, I wondered whether the sign wasn’t going to be a classic jinx: on my first shift, I hit the left post from 20 feet out, and the inside of the post, at that. A big loud clang in a scoreless game˝ a horrible sound (unless you’re a goaltender). Later in the period I came in on a one-on-one, froze the defenseman with a faked slapshot, beat him cleanly to his left, and then threw another fake at the goalie, tucking the puck under him as he did the splits across the crease . . . only to see him smother the puck on the goal line. So I began to worry about this point-scoring ?! injunction and its material effects on the game.
Finally, picking up a loose puck in the corner toward the end of the second period, I did manage to slide a pass (while down on one knee for some reason) to my linemate Jim, who scored from the slot to make it 5-0. Then in the third I put a shot over the goalie’s glove, off the crossbar and in to make it 7-1 . . . a truly meaningless goal that did nothing to advance the cause of peace, love, and understanding. Even worse, it was the eighth goal of the game, which, as King Kaufman pointed out this past June, is a deadly goal that almost always leads to defeat:
The real hypothesis, courtesy of reader Scott Van Essen, was that the first goal was no more important than any other goal, that all goals are tremendously important in a sport where 3-2 is a high-scoring game.
Here are the records, updated through Game 7, for the entire playoffs, for the team that scored each goal in a game:
First goal: 70-19 (.787)
Second: 66-17 (.795)
Third: 60-18 (.769)
Fourth: 31-26 (.544)
Fifth: 29-13 (.690)
Sixth: 16-5 (.762)
Seventh: 8-6 (.571)
Eighth: 1-4 (.200)
Ninth: 3-0 (1.000)
So the lesson here is to try to avoid scoring that eighth goal, but if you can get to the ninth one, you’re home free.
Anyway, despite choking a couple of times and not really having any “jump” all game, and despite scoring that kiss-of-death eighth goal, I didn’t do too badly, and we won, and no one can take that away from us for ever and ever. Thanks again to the family and friends for coming out˝ and doubling our attendance figures for the night!
Back next week with more serious matters.