For a loyal fan, it’s never a good sign when the first game of the playoffs arrives and your hockey team comes out with all the verve, energy and raw dynamism of a ballad by The Smiths. Alack, such was the case last night with the Ottawa Senators. During the game’s second shift, two of the team’s defencemen woke up for long enough to crash into each other, fall down and go boom – opening the door for a goal from Pittsburgh’s Gary Roberts, who I’m not saying is old but is the only player left in the NHL who eschews the Playoff Beard in favour of the Playoff Handlebar Moustache, which comes in handy when he’s tying ladies to train tracks and inventing the cotton gin.
It’s hard to pick a low point from last night’s game – was it Anton Volchenkov getting hit in the face with the puck? was it the injured Daniel Alfredsson continuing to casually eat his dinner up in the press box while his teammate lay on the ice bleeding from the face? was it alleged “tough guy” Chris Neil gently grabbing Sidney Crosby from behind – after Crosby had cross-checked and punched a Senator – and, instead of socking him on the beak, gently holding him and possibly cooing the chorus to Afternoon Delight in his ear? or was it that Bounce commercial where they try to convince you to put a sheet of Bounce into your garbage can and running shoes to make your garbage can and running shoes smell better?
Visitor to my home: “Are… are those Bounce sheets sticking out of your shoes?
Me: “Yeah, the TV told me to… uh… why are you on the floor laughing at me. Now why are you texting your friends? Why do you keep typing the word ‘idiot’? Now why are you phoning the newspaper to take out a classified ad and why are you asking the newspaper people whether they can put ‘complete moron’ in bold text over my photograph?”
My hockey team may warrant all the confidence of a Michael Bay production of a Brett Ratner film, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look forward to during playoff season.
During the pre-game segment last night, for instance, Ron MacLean threw to commercial by dropping this on us from out of the blue: “Life, like an echo – you get back what you put in. And sometimes more.” First of all, I think it’s noble that CBC has hired a fictional character to write for MacLean – where do you come up with this stuff, Forrest Gump? Gold. Absolute gold. Second, we can now look forward to future high-level, life-affirming musings from MacLean. Suggestions for tonight:
• “Life, like a toaster – you get back what you put in, only warmer and browner.”
• “Life, like an elevator – you get back what you put in, only higher up or sometimes lower down.”
• “Life, like a whisper – you sometimes have to go, ‘Huh? What did you just say?’”
• “Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting you.”