Saturday, June 13th, 2009, 7:57 pm
I watched Game 7 up at the Rio spotsbook with Al and Jen and Tim, though I think they were all more interested in watching me melt down than the game itself. I sat on the edge of my seat and sipped water and tried my darnedest not to spontaneously combust. There were three people sitting at the bar directly in front of us…they were rooting for the Pens, but they were loud and obnoxious and the woman had a voice that could cut through an engine block. That and she was wearing way-too-short shorts and a blue-green striped tank top that seemed to be made from sailcloth. Not a good look for a woman around 50. But I resisted throttling her and channeled my positive waves at the screen.
After Talbot scored I texted my brother “MAX TALBOT ONLY SCORES BIG GOALS!” and then when Talbot scored AGAIN I texted “Um…MAX TALBOT ONLY SCORES BIG GOALS!!!!” When the Wings scored on that fluttering shot I got that burbling “Oh, shit” feeling in my stomach, but when Kronwell rang that shot off the crossbar I felt like we were destined to win. It seemed like we were down to 31.6 seconds, then 17.4, then 6.5. Of course we lost the faceoff, Fleury stopped Zetterberg’s shot and then threw his body across the crease to stuff Lidstrom’s last-gasp wrister. And then the game was over, the Pens threw off their gloves and jumped on top of Fleury, and I jumped up and threw my arms in the air and screamed like a maniac. And nearly passed out as all the blood rushed from my head. That would’ve been embarassing.
Wish I’d been home for the game but at least I got to see it. The bar cleared out a lot after the game ended and Change100 and F-Train stopped up for a drink while I answered texts from a half-dozen people and savored each sip of my Sierra Nevadas. About an hour after the game my brother texted me saying, “I’m not even happy right now, just relieved”. I know how he felt. If Lidstrom’s shot had gone it, had we lost in overtime, I can’t imagine how horrible I’d feel. But Fleury made the save, the game ended, the Cup was ours.
And how appropriate it is that Max Talbot was the hero, as I of course briefly met him two years ago at the World Series of Poker and got a few pics of him. “I suck at poker,” he told me then. Maybe, but he scores BIG GOALS.
Jeffrey Pollack, the commissioner of the World Series of Poker, is the half-brother of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The NHL Awards ceremony is June 18th at the Palms (right across the street from the Rio) and Pollack twittered that the Stanley Cup may make an appearance at the World Series. If it does, you can bet that I’m gonna do everything I can to get pictures and just bask in it’s silvery brilliance. Is it bad luck to touch the Cup? Some people say that it is, but I thought that was limited to players who hadn’t won it yet. ‘Cause if I get close enough to touch it, I’m touchin’.
When the playoffs started I was in Argentina. When they ended I was in Vegas. Both a long way from Pittsburgh. It was a long ride in more ways than one. Pens won the Stanley Cup. Unreal.
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