Losing Again: A Puck Opera

Late-season games between teams at the bottom of the standings are never easy to get through. When the second-to-last Flames visited the last-place Avalanche, things got dull on the ice and off the ice, they got real. A play in verse seemed like the right way to figure out how things went down.
Share |

Individuals, we're told, make history, but they do not make it as they please: they—we—make history within circumstances inherited from given surroundings and from the past. No one knows this better than a backup goaltender in the NHL. The market for goalies has gotten weird over the last couple years: big long contracts still abound, but most of them seem frightening, fraught, redolent with regret. Mostly the contracts they get are shorter now, mostly the players come cheaper now. Mostly goalies are peripatetic now: all of them journeymen, buffeted from situation to situation, mediocre-to-awful one year, record-settingly great the next year, intermittently terrible and untouchable the next.

So: life is short, and the hockey season is long. The games within and constituting the season are short, the needed effort vast, the pay grade great, the fans urgent—and the management of certain teams, inscrutable. Two such teams met not very ago: last-in-the-league Colorado Avalanche, in year four of a rebuilding project of no defined length, versus the Calgary Flames, fresh off a hastily-decided-upon rebuild of their very own and icing a team minus the best player they ever had, traded for...what one would need to round up in order to call "not nothing." As always, the best seats in the house were occupied by the goaltenders, who, on this night of broken things and minimal stakes, were backups, pressed into service and then treated to very little worth watching. But they still have something to say. Both earned that right: MacDonald by stopping 39 of 40 shots overall, GiguËre by stopping all 10 shots he faced across the power plays five minor penalties gave the Flames.

These men wear masks, but they will not be muzzled. Most are men of few words, men who operate with quiet dignity and great restraint, as befits the challenges inherent to their profession. A few celebrate or would prefer you not act in a haberdasherical capacity uninvited, but it's rare that the average goalie allows expression beyond the mask. Until now. Now, two goalies who have been exceptionally average this year (with save percentages ranking 41 and 62 out of 80 as this is written) will. Be. Heard. If you like, you can simply read a transcript of what one had to say. And his follow-up. Or you can enjoy their entirely-a-real-thing art project.

Their chosen format for expression is, obviously, a play in verse, until they burst into song.

Losing Again

ACT 1

SCENE 1

(Interior, night, The Big Can. Avs/Flames, second period: 80% of the season in the books, and they're not happy books that make kids smile. They're mean books, nasty books, the kind of books to make Jim Thompson flinch. No score yet.)

(Spotlight on: Flames goalie Joey MacDonald. 33, Nova Scotian, journeyman on his fifth NHL team.)

My name is Joey MacDonald, and I catch pucks by trade.
It's hard to work on ice, and ice is hard, and we fall,
And we hurt ourselves. Still the pucks come, each driven like a nail
I'm somehow supposed to put my body before. I do. It's stopped, I stall
for a second, catch my breath, hit my bottle's water, stale
like tonight's hotel bed and tomorrow's fart-sick air. This is the life I've made.

It's a good job, I work hard. Like how many others I've prayed
to do this for a living, and given up that and this
for the barest scraping chance to catch redirects, slappers, wrists
from the dot, and all the other shots, deflected to the wall
or caught or tipped wide or swallowed in my pads or anything at all.
Whew. Ignore the spray and taunt from dicks trying to throw me off my game—SHIT.

ACT 1

SCENE 2

(Avs winger Brad Malone gets one past MacDonald, in silence. His first NHL goal.)

ACT 2

SCENE 1

(Spotlight on: Flames goalie Jean Sebastien "J-S" "Jiggy" Giguëre. 35, Quèbècois, 47th most games played in goal in NHL history, among active goaltenders, 8th in games and shutouts, 10th in wins, 2003 Conn Smythe trophy winner for Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, 2007 champion. A man known to be honest.)

Oh. I see the problem. We don't have good players. And the bad ones we have don't try hard.
That man doesn't even have a stick; he's using the broke dick of a dead dog.
That can't be good. That can't be helping. Leave the dead dog's broke dick in the yard—
don't bring that shit to the rink. God, I'm in a fog
tonight. I keep seeing through these twerps into what I guess
is my history. I don't see EJ firing rockets wide,
I see Chris Pronger elbowing faces into a bloody mess,
but he's long gone, Chris Pronger, and EJ's the help I've been supplied;
you go to work with the workers you have
no matter how much it hurts your hope or or dreams—or your pride.

Not fifty other men have gone out more than I have against the tide.
I'm tired. (I'm not discouraged.) I tried. I'm angry; this is a drag.
These men whose shirts match mine don't work jobs like they care.
Bosses yell, nothing works, help is a hovering mirage and these guys just stare.

ACT 2

SCENE 2

(A cold and sad tableau of limp, hesitant defensive decisions and airy executions with no follow-through strand Giguëre on an unpleasant ice floe. Five minor penalties come and go. Goals come. Lights shine alone on Giguëre, who resets each time as if nothing had gone wrong before, as though nothing wrong could come again.)

ACT 3

SCENE 1

(All the skaters seem to freeze and fade to the background. Lights pick out the goaltenders as they place their sticks atop the nets, adjust their helmets and maks, and skate—ungainly, as goalies do—to center ice, where they link arms, spin, and face the audience for a SONG (occasionally addressing a line to their teammates, or to each other, as members of select fraternities might).)

WE ARE THE MEN be-hind the maaaasks
          HOW DO YOU DO so glad you aaaasked
WE STOP THE PUCK don't let it paaaast
          GET OFF THE ICE if you are gaaaased
JUST CLEAR THE ZONE I'll kick your aaaass

JOEY'S ARIA

They shoot the puck at me
I stop dropped to my knees
I skate like I'm on skis
But I stop those puuucks

JIGGY'S ARIA

I've played now for fifteen years
I've picked up trophies while in tears
I can only do so much back here
But I stop those puuuucks

WE ARE THE MEN be-hind the maaaasks
          HOW DO YOU DO so glad you aaaasked
WE STOP THE PUCK don't let it paaaast
          GET OFF THE ICE if you are gaaaased
JUST CLEAR THE ZONE I'll kick your aaaass

JOEY & JIGGY DUET

(Each man sings his song, with the other responding to each line.)

They shoot the puck at me
We do our job for all to see
I stop dropped to my knees
We wreck our hips and knees
I skate like I'm on skis
Our D-men ignore our pleas
BUT WE STOP THOSE PUUUCKS

I've played now for fifteen years
You've seen things we all call weird
I've picked up trophies while in tears
You've won it all and heard the cheers
I can only do so much back here
After this game, you'll need a beer
BUT WE STOP THOSE PUUUUCKS

WE ARE THE MEN be-hind the maaaasks
          HOW DO YOU DO so glad you aaaasked
WE STOP THE PUCK don't let it paaaast
          GET OFF THE ICE if you are gaaaased
JUST CLEAR THE ZONE I'll kick your aaaass

Curtain. Perhaps some mild, smattered applause.

Illustration by Bogdan von Pylon.


Share |

Comments

I really enjoyed reading on this article. I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. natural treatment for Fibromyalgia

Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they've added something worthwhile to the world wide web!..phone answering services for small business

my own Blog Engine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it....
How to add likes to your facebook page

A company I actually caused appeared to be not skilled and can even slightly observe information. I actually have been executing this section and absolutely everyone else’.Marketing1on1 SEO small business

The games within and constituting the season are short, the needed effort vast, the pay grade great, the fans urgent—and the management of certain teams, inscrutable.
clash of clans astuce . hungry shark evolution cheats android

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.. הסעות מלוטון ללונדון

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you ! The information that you have provided is very helpful. backlinks service

breath, hit my bottle's water, stale like tonight's hotel bed and tomorrow's fart-sick air. This is the life I've made..ajmer to jaipur cab

A company I actually caused appeared to be not skilled and can even slightly observe information. I actually have been executing this section and absolutely everyone else’. I actually are not aware how you would apply it!
unique links dofollow

This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article.Hoffman products

I do. It's stopped, I stall for a second, catch my breath, hit my bottle's water, stale like tonight's hotel bed and tomorrow's fart-sick air. This is the life I've made....buy 20 real instagram followers

These men wear masks, but they will not be muzzled. Most are men of few words, men who operate with quiet dignity and great restraint, as befits the challenges inherent to their profession.instagram followers bot | app to get likes on instagram

Sufi shrine at Pirana has sustained a unique faith even after 550 years of his foundation -
Text Your Ex back Download

Bosses yell, nothing works, help is a hovering mirage and these guys just stare.sky number to call

A school report on this topic and your post has helped me with the information I needed to complete it. dental implants leicester

topic and your post has helped me with the information I needed to complete it. . הסעות מלוטון ללונדון

No one knows this better than a backup goaltender in the NHL.SEO for local businesses

vvsubstance! it is much the same as getting to be first drop of downpour which welcomes others to do well and take part in a decent work.
Ejaculation Guru EBook

I like and enjoyed reading it's really a good and very information for me thanks for me sharing ideas with us through this site..VENUS FACTOR REVIEWS

You can't say someone of the same sex can't get married, that is taking away their rights, even if it offends people in this world that doesn't matter, they're not hurting you.Draftkings

It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work....
escorts in beirut

GiguËre by stopping all 10 shots he faced across the power plays five minor penalties gave the Flames.watchseries

Decimals and Percentages, which includes two lesson starters, one great lesson idea and a CPD discussion.
ppc management

It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work......VENUS FACTOR REVIEWS

Chris Pronger, and EJ's the help I've been supplied.. lebanon escorts

Those that are offensive or abusive will be edited or removed and we reserve thehere i found it right to suspend the accounts . packers and movers pimpri chinchwad

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting.get instagram followers without following
| buy 50 likes on instagram

MacDonald by stopping 39 of 40 shots overall, GiguËre by stopping all 10 shots he faced across the power plays five minor penalties gave the Flames.
escorts in lebanon

I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work, its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You... clash of clans cheats android

It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.escorts in lebanon

I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.
Buy TV

It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.
exchange panama coins

The poets I enjoy wearied so deep double or rewrite info moreover this does negative loom unrivaled. pinoy tambayan

You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you. USA twitter accounts

I don t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.100% Egyptian Cotton Towels

Amazing knowledge and I like to share this kind of information with my friends and hope they like it they why I do.Good Night Sms

Twitter’s instant judgment, while endlessly amusing, could not be further from fixing memories in place.girlsdoporn

I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work....cccam server

Customs officials of the book’s arrival in April, to ensure it was opened and seized.singapore printing shop

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important..beach towels uk

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.kettlebell exercises

Visit Website I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site morethanvictories.com

ig followers There you can download for free, see the first of these data. cheap instagram likes

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.curtain factory outlet

You might comment on the order system of the blog. You should chat it's splendid. Your blog audit would swell up your visitors. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
internet marketing

Your article has piqued a lot of positive interest. I can see why since you have done such a good job of making it interesting florence personal injury lawyer

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the Full Article kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else!

Bei uns finden Sie sämtliches Zubehör zum Aufhängen von Bildern. Vom einfachsten Bilderhaken bis hin zur Bildaufhängung mit Diebstahlschutz. Wir als Bilderrahmenprofi haben hier alle Produkte zur Bildaufhängung in einem Shop zusammengestellt. Steckaufhänger für Leinwandbilder

Took me time to understand all of the comments, but I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! Its constantly nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I am certain you had enjoyable writing this write-up.Ambien online

I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved being really helpful to me and Im positive to all of the commenters right here! Its constantly nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! best swimming pools for sale in London