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

Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up Clash of Clans Hack

Amazing article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It's intriguing, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own concerning this subject. fridge repairs

I discovered your this post while looking for data about web journal related exploration ... It's a decent post .. continue posting and upgrading dat reconditioned gearboxes

This is such an incredible asset, to the point that you are giving and you give it away for nothing. I cherish seeing blog that comprehend the quality. Im happy to have discovered this post as its such an intriguing one! I am dependably watchful for quality posts and articles so i assume im fortunate to have discovered this! I trust you will be including more later on... click for info

A debt of gratitude is in order for your post. I've been contemplating composing an extremely tantamount post in the course of the last couple of weeks, I'll most likely keep it straightforward and connection to this rather if thats cool. Much obliged. booking hotel

It is basic that we read blog entry deliberately. I am as of now done it and find this post is truly stunning. vintage dresses

I was perusing your article and thought about whether you had considered making a digital book on this subject. You're composing would offer it quick. You have a great deal of composing ability. 50 style dresses

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliantwhere can i buy a decanter

Love what you're doing here folks, keep it up!.. gearboxes

Amazing article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It's intriguing, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own concerning this subject. fridge repairs

Farah is a top Real Estate broker at home Life Bayview, with a particular focus on Richmond Hill in York region and Toronto. Farah is amongst the top 5% Agent in Canada and has earned numerous awards in the last 10 years for her quality services. richmond hill real estate

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. link building network

Every week-end I used to pay a fast visit this site, because I’d like enjoyment, because this web site conations certainly fussy material.
Mark Curry

I was getting bore since morning but as soon as I got this link & reached at this blog, I turned into fresh and also joyful too.
payday lenders

I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this article. I am trusting the same best work from you later on also.. best selfie phones

Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. michael spencer gilroy

I have perused your web journal it is exceptionally useful for me. I need to express profound gratitude to you. I have bookmark your site for future upgrades. lebanon escort girls

I just couldn't leave your site before letting you know that I genuinely delighted in the top quality data you present to your guests? Will be back again often to determine the status of new posts. buy YouTube views

hi!! Extremely fascinating examination happy that I went over such educational post. Keep doing awesome. Happy to be a piece of your net group. loft conversions london

high tf backlinks Great article Lot's of information to Read... johntechseo Great Man Keep Posting and update to People..Thanks trust flow backlinks

A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing us. website

Extraordinary substance material and awesome design. Your site merits the majority of the positive input it's been getting. check it out

Rattling work man, ready your heads last you did it.transfer from ataturk airport to istanbul

I am glad to discover this post Very valuable for me, as it contains part of data. I Always like to peruse The Quality and happy I discovered this thing in you post.garage flooring ma

I have bookmarked your website, the articles are route superior to anything other comparative web journals.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an awesome site! example

It's you again who has given me the data I expected to finish my paper. more Info

That’s really amazing and extraordinary blogs & can help those who get issues in searching this type of information.
Sequoia Capital India

This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. example

I needed to thank you for this fabulous read!! I certainly cherished each and every piece of it. buy salvia

I was searching for decisive information on this topic. The information you have provided in the blog is really important.
Curry Macfarlane

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.
telecharger minecraft |
free psn codes 2015

You fully match our expectation and the selection of our data.
short term payday loans

Great site and a great topic as well I really get amazed to read this. tattoo supply

I don’t suppose many of websites give this kind of information.
money in minutes payday loan

Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place.
for more info

Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place
for more info

I know this is quality based blogs along with other stuff.
affordablewhole life insurance

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions
for more info

I Never ever found such edifying blogs.
car insurance liability

Just wanted to tell you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. The information you provide is really very good
for more info

You have a real ability for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article.
check this page out

That man doesn't even have a stick; he's using the broke dick of a dead dog.anabolic steroids online

All you share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job
fly screen roller blinds

Pleasant to be going to your web journal once more, it has been months for me. Well this article i've been sat tight for so visit website

Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know Star-Fin Screw Piles

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.. personal injury lawyer marietta ga

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one
for more info

This is such an awesome asset, to the point that you are giving and you give it away for nothing. I cherish seeing blog that comprehend the worth. Im happy to have discovered this post as its such a fascinating one! I am dependably watchful for quality posts and articles so i assume im fortunate to have discovered this! I trust you will be including more later on... My Cheap Price blog comments here

there are a few main reasons will likely affect the internationalization involving sneaker sword near Finland. werbemittel und werbetraeger

Furthermore, there are a few main reasons will likely affect the internationalization involving sneaker sword near Finland. buy salvia