Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Malik! Mailk! Mailk!
CSTB linked to a Larry Brooks screed bemoaning the shootout and using all sorts of scary "numbers" and "facts" to show that the NHL is backsliding into it's "play for the tie" ways. Not that this should be shocking to any hockey fan considering that, "At least we'll get a point out of this" should be their top phrase to mutter after losing in overtime. Of course, that doesn't make overtime very exciting, and considering that the only other way to emphasize the "sudden death" of the extra time is to randomly plant bombs around the ice, maybe it is time to shake up or do away with the shootout. Of course, without it, we wouldn't have ever had moments like the above, without a doubt one of the coolest sporting moments I've ever been witness to.
Something like the Malik goal turns a mundane, early season game into one that you forever regret not seeing, if you didn't get to. I did, and therefore can still recall almost everything about the best shootout that ever happened, a little over four years after the fact.
I was lucky to see it, since the only way to catch Ranger games in Washington, DC was for them to be playing the Capitals. Lo and behold, the day I was driving back from Thanksgiving break and into DC was the night of the game. During the drive, I got an excited text from Slammer imploring me to watch the replay of the game, it had been the best game he'd ever seen. So I figured I'd stay up for it, maybe even go invite the out of my league cute girl a floor above us to watch, since she was a Caps fan. Yeah, ring in the post-Thanksgiving period in style.
Instead of coming home to my empty apartment though, I ended up face to face with Tex's boarder from Hell, whose name I can't recall right now. She was supposed to have stayed with us for a few days and the stay just kept getting longer, but she was definitely supposed to be gone after Thanksgiving. So much for cute girl on the floor above. Maybe I should have gone for it anyway, but one kink in the plan allowed me to rationalize being shy and now we're getting off track.
The game came on around 11, I think, or whenever it was Comcast usually replayed games, and I did my best to ignore/vaporize with my mind Tex's friend. Despite figuring that the Rangers were going to win, since I didn't think Slammer would heartily recommend a loss, things got tense as the Rangers blew a two goal lead and there was that infuriating overtime penalty on Jaromir Jagr for an illegal stick. I then sat rapt for all twenty minutes or so, convinced that the next round would be the one that would let me leap off the couch in ecstasy. That it came after a bizarre circus shot that I have never seen performed again made it all the better.
Marek Malik's is a seminal moment in the strange ride that was the '05-'06 Rangers and if I'd be flat out lying if I didn't say I had to shootout to thank for that. So maybe it can stay.