In the Stanley Cup Finals, Game Sevens are pretty rare. When you are growing up, however, they happen all the time. Then again that game usually takes place in your head, but when you are eight years old, you can play hundreds of Game Sevens a day.
No matter who you are, it’s always the same. Overtime, the clock winding down. No teammates around to help you, but you make a ridiculous play and have a chance to win it. You take an improbable shot, a cross between Bobby Orr and Jason Arnott, and suddenly you go crazy. Maybe you even dance around and narrate it yourself if, you know, the neighbors aren’t watching.
Or maybe you miss the net. I was a practical little kid, and there were no do overs, even if I was playing alone. I suppose those misses were good practice with regards to my rooting interests, but that’s not the point. You always got back up and did it again, making sure to get that goal before you went inside for cartoons.
I’m not sure when it first came up for me, but even as a child it seems we all understand just how important Game Seven is. This wasn’t a math lesson or a rule we learned in gym class, but something much larger applied to the sports world. It’s an almost mythical value that we place with it.
The point is we grow up understanding just how important these games are, and so on days like this it’s hard to detach all that weight. The hype that surrounds it will almost insure that our expectations won’t be met. Overtime game winners like Orr’s come around once every few decades, that’s why it’s so special.
Still, no matter what the result tonight will be the apex of the 2008-09 hockey season. I don’t think any impartial hockey fan is hoping for a lopsided game, but even if it happens the end will be fitting. After 82 games and the long post season run, 60 minutes is all that will decide which team celebrates until October.
Sixty minutes, but hopefully more.