See that face? It's the face of a dejected, dispirited, emotionally desolate Calgary Flames fan shown on international television after his team was beaten 3-2 in double overtime by the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
It's a beautiful face, if you ask me.
Why? Because everyone - including many in Tampa - had written off the team as dead after their loss on Thursday night. Once you lose Game 5, the theory goes, you might as well hand the other team the Cup.
Not this time.
But this was not an easy game to watch. If these photos are any proof:
The evening's hockey started with a hearty meal and two well-aged good luck Cuban Cohibas.
Why smoke cigars? Because they bring you this kind of peace, that's why.
A storm cell moved up from the south in the early evening. Could it have been a harbinger, a hint that the Lightning too would be moving from the south to the north of Canada to wreak havoc? Only time would tell.
Once the game started, though, it was clear that Tampa Bay brought it's A-game to the matchup. They were fast and furious and crisp and decisive. There were mishaps, to be sure. But it was an entertaining game.
That did not stop our offspring or that of our friends' children from losing their steam after three periods of regulation hockey.
The first casualty.
The second and third.
Even the most avid among us were on the ropes of consciousness.
Lucky for us, Mike and Autumn knocked on the door and roused us from our narcoleptic haze.
The southern portion of the room did its valiant best to maintain energy and excitement.
Or at least the best we could...
Certainly, no one at the Forum plaza was sleeping.
Eventually, even our son joined the dog in a prone position.
And then a miracle happened! Martin St. Louis scored the game-winning, series-tying goal. Much rejoicing was had. Yelling, screaming, high-fiving. Everything except gunfire and the gnashing of large pieces of machinery was employed in the celebration.
And Mighty Martin was feted as the hero on international television.
All to the delight of fans back home.
There was no small amount of rejoicing at the Forum, where my friend Alan shot this photo and the next.
Winnipeg Jets jersey + winning team + cute girl = gratuitous bear hug that under other circumstances might be considered a misdemeanor sexual assault.
Ultimately, though, what it meant was that we could fold up the party tent and take our children and ourselves to bed. We were tired, but it was a good kind of tired. The kind of tired that makes you want to watch more hockey, another game in fact, just not right now.
Posted by Jeff at June 6, 2004 04:26 AM