Press Row Confessions: The Islanders score 7

islae

Ah, if only one could will a puck into the net using only their mind. Alas…

Sometimes a game or event occurs in which the environment around me proves to be far more entertaining than the game itself. When this happens, I like to do what I call “Press Row Confessions“, in which I describe my day as the event in question unfolded around me. 

Today’s event is the debacle of a game between the Islanders and the Canucks. In a meeting of these two teams, it was simply a question of who would suck less, and while one team had to come out the loser, Vancouver took it too far this time….

Read more after the jump, and you’ll get a cookie!

– I headed down to the game full of hope, promise, and a new pair of jeans.
Yes, my old jeans had rips in them, and rather than add to the blogger
stereotypes by showing up looking homeless, I was dressed up in a nice shirt and
new pants, raring to go. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Freddie Mercury was
blaring in my headphones, and I won’t lie, life was good. Life was damn good.

– I met my friend before the game to give him tickets to the game tonight,
so he could take his young son to a Canucks game. I pondered briefly of
explaining the trials and tribulations the young boy was going to be accepting
if he took on Vancouver as his team of choice, but decided to let the hockey gods
take care of it (spoiler alert: they did). I told them both “let’s hope
they score at least one goal” and we all laughed. Ah, the innocence of
yesterday…

– I then ran to Gate 9 because I wanted to secure my spot in press row. If
there are too many people there, you (and by you, I mean me or my blogger
partner J Bowman) get sent to the basement of Rogers Arena to watch the game on a couple of TV’s in the same room Torts does his post game questions (Stick tap to Dimitri, I almost wrote ‘Roger’s Arena’ there, but narrowly
avoided it). It’s like being at home when you’re in the Rogers Arena basement, except
sometimes security walks in the room to sneak some handfuls of popcorn from the
bag they hide in the corner (no joke, they have a system of covert popcorn
eating. It’s amazing.)

– I made sure my backpack was gum free, and free of anything else security
might frown upon (though fair warning, I had a copy of Dog the Bounty Hunter’s
book in my bag, but let’s not get into that) and headed to the elevator.

– Random Fact: The chair in the elevator that the host uses to take media up and down from the bottom floor to the fifth floor, is locked.

chair

I don’t know why it’s locked. I don’t know who would enter this elevator and go “sweet, free chair!” and run away laughing, but there had to be a reason they started locking the chair in the first place…. I just really want to know who stole the first chair, that’s all I’m saying.

– I managed to secure a spot in press row, though, and made sure I was ready for the game by loading up my laptop..

diablo

Yes, Diablo 3 was still open on my laptop when I opened it up. Any thoughts of breaking free from the blogger stereotypes were shattered at that moment.

– Anyhow, the game started and things were amazingly going quite well. The Canucks
and Islanders are both very very bad teams right now, so it was a bit like
South Park’s “Cripple fight!” joke, where you basically get to watch
two teams battle it out over who can suck less. This time, though, the Canucks were actually
winning.

– Again, both teams are not taking Lord Stanley’s Cup this year, and it showed by
how much time and room each team had on the ice to make decisions. Hamhuis had at least 3 seconds to
decide how he was going to shoot the puck into the ankles of the other team,
and Edler sometimes had up to 4 seconds to think about how he wanted to turn the puck over. Mistakes were made by both sides, repeatedly, but the beauty of two
bad teams playing is that barely anyone can cash in on the mistakes.

– As a result, the game got looser and looser, and it was actually
entertaining. Gone was the 14 shot, 2-1 game over Calgary, and instead it was open
hockey with no thought of actual defense.

– Things got weird when the Canucks took a 1-0 goal lead. On the power
play. I know it was the power play because the Canucks like to announce power
plays these days. “Hey…..hey….did you guys know……The Canucks……are
on….. THE POWERPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY”. Yup. We sure did. We could tell due
to the other team having a guy in the box and the Canucks playing with an extra
guy on the ice. Thanks, though. 

– Things got even weirder when the Canucks took a 2-0 lead.

– You still with me? Well wouldn’t you believe it, it became a 3-0 lead. DUE TO ANOTHER POWER PLAY GOAL! 

– This is where things got weird (and sad, in hindsight). Press row lit up
as the beat writers celebrated an easy night of writing. A three to nothing
lead after two periods, surely that will be enough of a lead. Time to write those
stories!

“I want to write about how the Canucks are still in this”
proclaimed one reporter, “everyone says they’re out of it, but they have
an easy schedule!”

“I want to interview Eddie Lack and talk about how well he’s performed
this year. He’s been fantastic!” crowed another.

People began hugging each other and some started high fiving each other. Someone even openly talked about Burrows possibly scoring a goal in the third period (I told you it was crazy). One person married
his daughter to another person’s son on the spot. It was madness. It was glorious. It was the last
time we were ever happy..

– The third period began, and honestly, if you’ve ever wanted to see press row change, watch them soak in a game changing so drastically that it demands
re-writes of everyone’s deadline stories. Here is the break down of how that
third period played out:

– The Islanders score a goal to start the third period. Press row nervously laughs and begins looking
left and right. It speaks volumes about the Canucks season this year that it only
took one goal for people to begin muttering “they can’t blow this lead,
can they?” while nervously tapping their keyboard.

– The Islanders make it 3-2 and now press row is in full on sweat mode.
Popcorn is tossed aside, allegiances are severed. Everyone is rooted to their
computers, watching the game like it was a live action video of JFK battling it
out with the Soviet Union over Cuba. “Will they nuke my story?? WILL THEY??”

– The Islanders tie it up, and press row slumps back in their seats. A few
nervous giggles escape. “Maybe they’ll pull this one out. Maybe this just sets
the stage for Burrows to be the hero, what a moment that would be.” says one person (it was me. I said
that. I was wrong.)

– The Islanders amazingly go up 4-3. I sit back in my chair, I don’t know what to do. Ed Willes is laughing beside me on my left. Bowman is looking down the row to my right and I lean back and Bowman and I both stare at Scott Rintoul and shake our heads in shock. I lean forward, then lean back to share another shocked look with Rintoul, as we do the vaunted double take look of surprise.  I then look up and see Nicole Van Zanten of the Canucks social media team and I shrug my shoulders, and she shrugs hers, both of us trying to out shrug the other one. It was madness. 

– Then the Canucks tie up the game. Now there is some grumbling, because if
the Canucks win, the re-write of the re-write will have to be-

– JUST KIDDING, Islanders take the lead back 10 seconds later. We had barely gotten over the fact a Tanev point shot had resulted in a goal, when the Islanders take the lead. Then the Islanders score again a minute later. It was when the two goal lead was set by the Islanders where everyone slumped back and knew they could safely write their stories for the night. What had started off as a night of writing about triumph quickly turned into a night of “Who do they fire first?”

– With the Clutterbuck empty netter to seal the game (the goal was oddly enough recorded as 8 hits for Clutterbuck), all that was left was the trip to the locker room. I don’t enjoy angry locker rooms at the best of times, and this one looked to be the potential worst of the season, but I headed downstairs anyways. You have to get the story regardless of if it’s happy or not.

– At this point Blake Price walked past me to his radio show and we shared a momentary glance, one where his look said “I get to yell at people on the radio”, and one where my look said “don’t tell Rogers Arena to kick out the blogger, I have money, I’ll pay you”.

– Now, when you first go downstairs to the locker room, usually you wait outside in the hallway until the players who want to clear out and not be around the media types have scurried away. It sometimes takes five minutes or so before we head in, and usually there are only 5-7 players in there. Tonight it was around a minute, then we were allowed in, and everyone was still sitting in their stalls. There was a noticeable “WHAT THE **** WAS THAT” stench hanging over the room. 

– Henrik Sedin was the first to talk to the press, and he was surrounded by everyone. Henrik, who is soft spoken and really really makes you have to earn his sound bytes by leaning in real close to him with your microphone, was polite as ever. When he looks at you, he really LOOKS at you. Still, I was late to the group, and since I find it hard to mosh pit myself into an already formed scrum, I stayed on the outside.

– As Hank was giving his scrum, I heard an audible sigh behind me. It was Kesler, and he was just sitting in his stall. Then he proceeds to slowly, and loudly, unwrap his sock tape. *Screeeeeeeeech* went the sock tape as people awkwardly looked over at him. You can tell one reporter is excited to talk to Kesler and sees him as a way better sound byte than Henrik, as his phone starts wavering near Henrik’s mouth, before he decides to bolt for Kesler in order to be in the middle of the Kesler scrum.

– Kesler gives his interview and talks about the embarrassment of losing to the Islanders, and happy with his more verbose than usual interview, the media scrum moves onto Eddie Lack. I hang back because I don’t like to charge in the middle of those things, and I hear behind me:

“F*** me. F**** me. What a ****ing joke.”

It was Ryan Kesler letting loose behind me, as he walked out of the locker room. I now have a quandary on my hand. Am I allowed to report that? Should I report that? I saw the press world eat one of their own in Jason Botchford when he quoted Joe Thornton in the now infamous “Four goal celebration” quote, so I honestly had no idea what to do with it. I found it interesting because anytime a player shows that much raw emotion, it seems like a good talking point. Kesler also said it like literally three seconds after his scrum, with the press like two feet away. However, I honestly view myself as the lowest rung on the bar. It’s one thing for Botch to report a quote, it’s another for a random blogger to talk about it. 

– That being said, I quickly texted it to Jason Botchford. It was interesting enough that I knew if someone would use it properly, Botch would. I only mention it now because I find it an interesting back story to how my day went, plus you know what, it is an interesting thing that happened, damn it. 

– I quickly run over to the Eddie Lack scrum and see Eddie Lack being upset for the first time in my life. The interview with Eddie ends, and then I see him walk out of the locker room, winging an orange powerade as hard as he can at the wall. It was really really awkward in there. Also, I was kind of thirsty, and saddened that a bottle of powerade was thrown away from me.

– I headed over to the Torts presser, and after watching the room visibly deflate when Torts didn’t erupt, I headed home. Where I was met with a wait for a bus that involved 10 minutes of listening to a guy play the electric guitar and one guy playing the bongos.

https://soundcloud.com/wyatt-arndt/fucking-bongos

I only mention the bongos and the guitar because I have discovered the only thing worse than a horrible Canucks loss is listening to bongos and a guitar make random noise, for ten minutes, while you wait for the bus.

And that was my night. It honestly was an interesting one, because the atmosphere in the building was so weird. It was like people couldn’t believe what they were seeing, yet they could believe exactly what they were seeing. “WHAT THE HELL, oh this is so Vancouver, WHAT THE HELL, oh Vancouver.” was basically the way the night went.

Will Torts get fired this week? Will Gillis get fired? Will nobody get fired?? Some people want blood, so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, goes down this week. All I know is I could really go for some orange Powerade right now..

    • dougtheslug

      The Oilers did it twice to the Canucks in the 1980’s. Of course, that team featured guys named Gretzky. And Kurri. And Messier. And Anderson. And Coffey.

      As opposed to Bailey. And deHaan.And Lee. And Clutterbuck.

  • andyg

    Wyatt your diary entries are quite refreshing during these challenging times for the franchise.

    The only thing that could have added to last night’s collapse was Strombone tweeting along…

  • dougtheslug

    For the second time in recent memory your story is a thousand times better than most rehashes of how much the Canucks are sucking right now and a million times better than watching an entire game.

    I feel bad for Kesler, Hank and all the other players (well about as bad as I’ll feel for millionaires getting to play hockey for a living). Tortorella and Gillis are the clown cars, the drivers, the clowns, the tent, the steaming turdpiles on the big top floor, everything else in this circus. The players are, I don’t know, the elephants or something.

    I don’t want to blow it all up. I just want Gillis and Tortorella fired or alternatively roasted very slowly over a slow flame. I will accept 3-5 losing seasons if only that will happen.

  • dougtheslug

    Time to put the Canucks on the back burner a bit. No playoffs and that’s OK. If we got in, we’d be swept out. Let’s get a solid draft pick and make moves after the playoffs. I doubt I follow their moves in the off-season as closely as I did last year. I don’t know if Gillis will make any major moves. I am also betting the owner is too cheap to fire Gillis and Torts. SOmething tells me both will be back and that is not good!

  • Just One Cup

    My favourite part of this article was learning that the Canucks are now announcing when the team has a powerplay. Could this season not descend any lower? We have given up our place amongst the enlightened hockey fans, so that the dolt standing with his back to the game can know “hey ya better watch two pointless minutes of Canucks Hockeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!”This isn’t Nashville. We know how the game works.
    Nice narrative piece, Wyatt.

  • The Benevolent Orca

    I’ll solve the chair thing for you, since this was a pretty entertaining read and it’s obviously plaguing your mind. Full elevator with chair, extra space without, what gets left a couple floors behind from time to time if it isn’t locked down? What we should be doing is figuring out a way to lock our GM onto that chair. I am absolutely certain he’s make a great elevator operator. At the very least, he’s got the going down part perfected