As history has recorded, Patrick Roy is not overly fond of coaches who leave their goalies in between the pipes when it’s clear they should be elsewhere.
So it should come as little surprise that St. Patrick pulled Semyon Varlamov when his Avs trailed the visiting Minnesota Wild by a goal late in last night’s opening game of their Round of 16 playoff series.
Any coach would have pulled his goalie in that situation, of course. But Roy yanked his ‘tender with three minutes and one second left on the clock.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Roy will win the Jack Adams Trophy (best coach) this year, but if the NHL had a time machine Gary Bettman would be DOCTOR WHOing himself back in time this morning,
so he could hand the hardware to Roy last night. Bettman would have to go fetch the Adams Trophy from wherever it’s kept (the Hockey Hall of Fame, in Trawna?)
and ABRA-CADABRAed himself back to Denver as soon as Varlamov broke for the Avs bench.
If there were any justice in the world (past, present or future), Bettman, the stupid Mairkan, would have been left behind in the past, but more likely the case that the bastard would, through some sort of black magic, have wriggled his way back into the British Police Call Box and made it back to the game.
Bettman would have to remain in the shadows with the trophy until Paul Stasny made a genius out of Roy by tying the game at 4 with 13.4 seconds left on the clock (this time travel expedition is really fucking up my tenses, huh?). But when the red light started spinning behind the Minnesota net, Bettman could have appeared next to whomever was doing colour commentary from between the benches
and explained what was going on.
Then, when Stasny scored the winner at 7:27 of the first overtime, Bettman could pounce over the boards, order the spotlight to beam on him, not Stasny, and hand Roy the silverware.
Indeed, it’s a good thing that my Habs are serious cup contenders, because if they’d not made it into the playoffs, me and the entire population of Quebec would be howling for the head of Marc Bergevin for passing Roy over and installing Michel Therrien as the bench boss of les Glorieux, instead.
Three minutes and one second? Are you kidding? No one pulls their goalie with that much time left.
Well, actually, I’ve seen it before. Actually, actually, I played in a game where our goalie was pulled with over 19 minutes left to play.
Yeah, yeah, I know, you don’t give a fuck about my glorieux days. You wanna read about the NHL playoffs. Well, go ahead. I’m sure you can find tens of thousands of stories about last night’s games in less than a second. But this is the only place your ever gonna get this story, and I’m the only fucker who can tell it.
I’m the only one who can tel it, in the written form, because – while there were a couple thousand people who witnessed it, or were involved in it – I’m the only one who is literate enough to write about it (we are talking about hockey players and fans, after all, n’est-ce pas?).
I was playing Junior, in Manitoba. Tier II Junior A. The Snow Lake Spartans. It was 1982. We had the worst team in the history of Junior hockey. We had no business being in a Junior A league. Junior C, maybe.
We were contenders at the start of the year. Then the price of copper dropped horribly. Snow Lake, you may have guessed, is a copper mining town. The team lured players by getting them jobs in the mine. When the bottom dropped out of the precious metals market, half our team packed their bags and went home. I wasn’t going home. I didn’t give a fuck about job. In fact, I didn’t even take job when it was offered to me. Me and job don’t care much for each other.
So, it was me, a couple Indians from Sioux Lookout and a bunch of homeboys, some of whom were pretty damned good. Some. Like… one of them. The rest were bums. Including our goalie, who was 14 years old. Back then, Junior hockey started at 17. If you were real good, you might make a team at 16. Not even Gretzky played Junior at 14. Our goalie was 14. The last line of defence behind a very porous blueline.
Seriously, we sucked. A good midget team would have kicked our asses
A bunch of girls could have beaten our asses, especially if they looked like this!
Even these guys could have stomped us
Our goalie, the little fucker, was… well, a little fucker. He was under five foot.
Even for a kid, that was short. And he wasn’t good enough t be playing Bantam A, never mind Junior A. But he was a keener. And we had no choice. Coach asked if anyone wanted to put the pads on and get between the pipes. We were averaging about 75 shots against, per game, by then. Coach got no takers.
We were in The Pas. The Huskies had already pumped about a hundred shots on the poor kid by the end of the second period. The kid only let in a dozen or so goals, but his entrance into the dressing room was something like this
The Huskies scored two more in the first minute of the third. Coach Baird, a hometown boy,
threw his hands up in the air and ordered the kid to come to the bench. For his own protection. We didn’t have a backup goalie. It didn’t matter; Ken Dryden could not have saved us.
Fuckin’ H E Double Hockey Styx, Jesus Fucking Christ could not have saved us.
The Huskies’ coach laughed. The fucker was falling down laughing behind his bench. When he ordered his goalie to the bench, the whole arena burst into laughter.
The officials conferenced. They scratched their heads. They determined that there was nothing in the rules necessitating the use of goalies in a game. They dropped the puck.
We lost 24 – 8.
It was like playing pond hockey! There wasn’t a single fight in the third period. If a junior game went a period without a fight in those days, it was a sure sign that the apocalypse was nigh. The Lost Tribes of Israel must be gathering in the parking lot outside the rink. The ref was turn into a Sasquatch. The The menstrual blood of unbaptized virgins was going to stream out of the Zamboni.
There. That wasn’t such a bad story, was it? It didn’t hurt you none, did it? You’ll remember it long after you’ve forgotten all about last night’s games, won’t you?
Good. Now share it with your friends. If you do, I promise to come back with more yuks for y’all, yeah?