Shit, what happened? I called home. Nobody answered. I called Thomas Drance, you know him better as @Artemchubarov, the Canucks Army stats guy. Meanwhile, the Moscow-born hockey journalist I've been covering the Memorial Cup with is celebrating. Shit, I needed a hug. I heard Jim Hughson say the play wasn't reviewable, and this was going to count.
After all, how were they going to scrape the confetti off the ice? Todd McLellan and Alain Vigneault had already shaken hands. The damage was done. I had no idea how the puck went in, who had scored, but I knew why. This game meant so much to a lot of fans my age. Those of us who went through the loss to the Rangers. Those of us who stuck through the Mark Messier era. Those of us who suffered through all the heartbreak of the West Coast Express era, a team that just couldn't win the big one. Nah, that was forgiven. I called Drance.
As you know, I have been in Toronto this week for the MasterCard Memorial Cup with my pal Andrey (two things: One is that we're required by law to mention the sponsor before the name of the trophy, and Two, Andrey can be found on Twitter @AOsadchenko. He's a great guy) and us two follow hockey. We discuss junior, International, and National hockey together. I wouldn't be halfway towards a career destination without the guy.
I digress. The two of us saw a fantastic hockey game. Tomas Jurco, a Slovakian winger for the Saint John Sea Dogs, tied it up with 15 seconds to go off of his head. The Kootenay Ice eventually won in Overtime, but this is all a formality. The point of the story is that me and Andrey went down to the post game press conferences with the score 1-0 for the Vancouver Canucks.
Fuck it. The point of this story isn't the Memorial Cup game. I still, theoretically, have a gamer to write on the matter, but I have no deadline. This is more important to me. This is my childhood, my street hockey games, my life.
Where am I in this story? Oh yeah; we listened to the post-game press conferences and cut out early to catch the last bus into Toronto to catch the Subway. We checked the score. 2-1 for San Jose, with 12 minutes to go. I texted my friend Shaun (@ShaunTLS) to give me updates. The text conversation, verbatim, was this:
Me: Keep me in the loop
Me: Over? :(
Shaun: 29 secs
Me: 28... 27...
Shaun: 15 secs left
Me: You seriously????
Me:Who is our tomas jurco???
At this point, I turn to Andrey, who, though he is Moscow-born, elected to cheer for the Canucks since he's been with me at Thompson Rivers for a couple of years. We ask the guy behind us on the bus where the nearest pub is. We get pointed in the direction of it. We walked the wrong way at first, but we ended up at the Shamrock & Thistle. This is in Toronto at the corner of Dundas and Cordova. Please visit, it, the owner is a great guy. Anyway...
It looked closed from the outside, but it was open. There were seven people there, three asians in the corner, three guys at the bar and the waitress. We got a few pints which I quaffed with admirable efficiency. We watched. We watched as the Canucks dominated the front part of overtime. We watched as Chris Higgins couldn't bury that breakaway, as the Canucks somehow got trapped against Andrew Desjardins, and puck after puck rebound off Antti Niemi's pads dangerously in front. We watched as Kyle Wellwood (Wellwood!) had a glorious chance alone in front and Luongo snatched that with his glove.
Between the overtimes we went outside. Andrey recently took up smoking (don't know why) and I had little to do. I did 20 push ups in the street because I needed to move. Andrey told me I was weird. I told him I didn't give a shit. We got back inside, and, as luck would have had it, the puck was in. Jim Hughson didn't tell us how, but the puck was in the god-damned net. Was it Burrows? The camera was focused on him. I didn't care. Hughson told me it was so and it was so. The puck was in and the Canucks were going to the Stanley Cup Finals. I hugged Andrey. I went to the bar and hugged each one of the three guys left. The owner, also named Andrey, gave us a shot (and a beer [!]) on the house.
Everybody has a story. Mine came just after midnight at an Irish/Scottish pub in Toronto. I want to know what your story was. Where were you, when Kevin Bieksa sent us there for the third time? I want to hear all of you. I will probably read these in depth, once I'm sober.
Tonight is a great night, for those of us partying in Vancouver, and for those of us who ended up alone at a house in Toronto without a member of the opposite sex to share the moment with. Heh. Whatever, Tuesday night was our night.