Well Hockey fans it's been almost a year since the last game 7. There's just something magnificent and special about a game 7 in a hockey series. The do-or-die intensity. The panic that every shot on your goal gives, and the hope every shot towards the opposing net brings. The hush of the crowd as a shot goes gets taken. How one little red flashing light can lift the entire arena to their feet, or knock punch 20k people in the stomach at the same time. The gasp of watching a grown man contort his body in ways unimaginable just to keep a small piece of rubber from crossing a line. The calm cautious buzz in the arena as the play builds. The nervous anticipation as the gladiators rest for the next battle. The frantic orginized chaos in front of a masked man as one group desperatly tries to put a puck across a line, as the other group of men desperately try to keep it from crossing that line. It's the very essence of not just hockey, Game 7's are hockey's soul. It's the entire reason we watch sports in general, and why hockey is the best to watch. It's enough to get even Evgeny Malkin to (probably) try to block a shot.
Game 7's are rare, at most we get maybe 4-5 per year, then it's another dog-day summer until we even get to see our heroes on Ice again, then another wait through a long, exciting regular season just to get to the playoffs to experience 3-5 more game 7's. Relish them hockey fans. Even if you don't like the Stars or Canucks (and I'm sure many Avalanche fans fall into this category) you can admire the way grown men will unselfishly throw themselves in front of 80-90mph pucks for their teams and dreams. How they will leave every ounce of energy on the ice knowing that both teams have earned the right to continue playing, but only one will get to.
The intrigue and suspense is tortureous. Turco has answered every doubter he had by being spectacular.. but is it enough? Luongo has come from purgatory in Florida only to have some talented Sweedes not be able to do what they do best. Can he rescue them? Can they rescue him? It is beautiful.
Now tonight notice all that magic. Take in the intensity. Soak up the buzz. Admire the tenacity. Envy the skill. Marvel at the teamwork. Respect the dedication. Relish the blood and the sweat. Think about the crowd, the teams, the frenzies, the celebration and even the post-series handshakes. Think about the tears, the cheers, and the jeers. Take it all in, absorb it all.
Now think about what it would be like if the game were to come down to a shootout. It would be an entertaining, but ultimately unsatisfying, souless experience. And If hockey sells it's soul, what does it have?
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