Well, here we go. The Cup is in the building tonight, we’re seriously regretting having just eaten dinner, and NBC is attempting to defuse our tension by setting their highlight into to “Pirates Of The Caribbean” music. Oh come on, NBC — surely you can do better than that!
ACK! What is Doc wearing? He’s dressed like Captain Kangaroo tonight. ACK! What is Hullie wearing? What is this retro, skinny-tie look? IPB is split on his suit — Pookie likes how “over-the-top” the material is, Schnookie doesn’t — but the tie comes up a unanimous loser. Okay, NBC earns major kudos from us for replaying Hullie’s “The Ducks suck” commentary from the WCF, and Hull is forced to eat some crow on the air. (Although he does say he did the Ducks a favor and that they’ve played well ever since he made those comments. Actually, Hullie, the reason everyone was laughing at you about that was because they were playing well before you made those comments.)
The absolute pinnacle of unintentional comedy is reached as Pierre McGuire goes all Oprah on us in his interview with Alfredsson about the infamous “shooting at Nieder” incident. Alfie’s excuses fall on deaf ears with Hullie and Ray, who are merciless in their criticism of him.
Okay, here’s our prediction for tonight’s game: Pronger is definitely going to do something so staggeringly stupid to Alfredsson that no one will be able to believe it. We base this prediction on experience — in 2000 when the Flyers brought Eric Lindros back too soon from a concussion (presumably just so Bobby Clarke would have a scapegoat when his team blew a 3-1 lead to the Devils), everyone was understandably horrified, but Schnookie kept saying calmly, “Oh come now. What are the chances he actually gets further concussed?” So when the thought flitted into her head that there was no way Pronger would really go Bertuzzi on Alfredsson, she immediately realized there’s was actually no way he wouldn’t.
Pierre interviews Pronger and Pookie says afterwards, “All I could hear from Pierre was ‘touch’, ‘cup’ and ‘coming out’. Ewww.”
What’s this? No anthems tonight? The Anaheim fans don’t get a chance to outsing Ottawa on national television? That seems unfair.
19:34 Pookie perks up as NBC gives us the “Team Leaders” graphic, “Hey! I didn’t just think that said ‘Meat Leaders’. I think it’s because I’ve finally realized ‘meat’ isn’t ‘team’ backwards.”
18:36 We go to Pierre “between the glass”, but he’s actually just standing behind the Ducks bench. That seems so… skeevy.
18:28 Doc explains why Pierre’s on the bench; he says there are only about “six inches” between the two benches. Pierre should just suck in his breath and try to fit.
18:20 Preissing gets called for holding Moen on a charge down the ice after a long dump-in, and Pierre responds as though Preissing just killed a baby or something.
17:59 Teemu shoots high on a wide-open net, and Pookie spits chocolate chips everywhere when she screams, “How did he miss that?” Replay shows Volchenkov blocked Teemu’s shot.
16:42 Emery is whining that he’d like to see some goaltender interference called after he gets jostled in the crease; Pierre floats the shocking notion that none of us had considered: Emery isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt after the dive in Game 4. Really Pierre? You think?
16:35 Volchenkov gets a hooking call for apparently just thinking about hooking. But… but… that’s the kind of call that goes against the Ducks.
16:19 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Just as the 5-on-3 expires, after some confident passing around an ever-collapsing perimeter, McDonald whips a shot through Phillips and it beats Emery five-hole. We are not at all surprised to feel compelled to say that was not a great goal for Emery to be giving up.
14:52 Eddie tells us Spezza is skating with Neil and Vermette; if Murray was a Devils coach he’d have been fired by now for the mismanagement of his top line.
14:21 Spezza gets called, justifiably, for holding the stick. Wait, this wasn’t the script. What happened to the overemotional Ducks we were all expecting?
13:51 It is noted that Pronger is not out on the PP after having been hit hard by Vermette, then literally stabbed in the back with a stick by Neil. Eddie: “Pierre, do you see Pronger on the bench?” Pookie, answering for Pierre: “I do see Pronger. I’m in his lap.”
11:50 The Ducks get called for icing, and Schnookie is surprised to realize it’s still only 1-0 — it feels like 4-0.
We come back from commercial and Pierre is broken-record-ing about Pronger not being on the bench. We get it Pierre. You’re on the bench and Pronger isn’t.
11:14 Spezza is ridiculously awful — he gets an easy tap-in opportunity to tie the game, but is slow enough to let Beauchemin block his shot. (Schnookie is proud to say that this is the fourth series we’ve watched the Senators in this year and she had to say on that play, “Who’s number 19? Is that Spezza?”)
9:41 Pahlsson sends us to commercial by taking an elbowing penalty on Kelly in front of the bench. We are eternally grateful we aren’t playing the “Without Pronger” Pierre McGuire drinking game, because if someone was trying to drink every time he says those words, they’d be suffering massive liver failure by now.
8:57 We would like to issue a moratorium on NBC’s announcers telling us Pronger’s not on the bench. Pookie: “At this point just tell us if he comes back.”
7:59 Somehow the Senators just miss wide of the far post after a huge save by Giggy.
7:30 Getzi draws what little ire we have for our SCF boyfriend by getting a clear-cut 2-on-1 from his own blue line coming off a great PK by the Ducks, but he is indecisive the entire way down the ice and runs himself completely out of room without ever passing or shooting. Doc jokes that America is the land of choice, but Getzi had too many choices. Pookie: “In Communist Russia he would have scored.”
6:00 Nieder is the only Duck on the ice right now who’s seen the book on Emery. The Penner/Perry/Getzi Line decides to fancy things up, but when the puck finds Nieder at the point he just rips it on goal as fast as he can. And Emery is predictably shaky stopping it. How hard is it to figure out at this point? Shoot. The. Puck.
5:43 We come back from commercial with the joyous news that Pronger is back! We are only happy about this because it means Pierre will have to think of something else to say.
4:59 Penner is strong as an ox. Perhaps too strong, though, and while he’s able to one-arm a Senator d-man off him, he also bulls the puck right off his own stick.
4:29 In perhaps the weakest show of “tough manliness” ever, Perry and Redden have a little sparring match at center ice that concludes with them nose-to-nose like the two pretty-boys they are. Perry is called for roughing, but both guys could have been penalized for sissiness.
2:42 Giggy makes a solid save on a tricky, sharp-angle shot, and the PK really smartly clears past a very strangely vacated Ottawa point.
2:19 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Baby Nieder storms down the ice on a 2-on-1 at the conclusion of another inspiring penalty kill (and seriously, what is up with the Senators getting burned twice like this in this period?), and just shovels the puck onto Emery, who crumbles in response. If the first goal looked soft, it’s hard to find the right word to describe this one. How does a Baby Nieder backhand find its way through an NHL-caliber goalie? (Answer: when that NHL-caliber goalie is as bad as Emery.)
1:50 Teemu lazily holds Kelly in the neutral zone and gets called for it.
1:10 Pierre splurts, “I don’t feel enough intensity from the Senators.” Pookie finishes his thought, “Let me go feel each one of them and gauge their intensity level for them.”
0:00 The period comes to a stirring end with a strong clear on the waning penalty kill. That was an emphatic 20 minutes from a Ducks team that clearly has no interest in going back to Ottawa.
SWEET! Pierre asks Fisher after the buzzer how the Sens feel, “because right now the body language just looks awful.”
Hullie and Ray take turns during this intermission making their heads explode with how horrified they are at the Senators repulsive first period. Hullie even hilariously calls back his anti-Ducks tirade. We really hate to admit this here, but we have thoroughly enjoyed how these two have blossomed during this playoffs. No, they’re hardly the NBA on TNT crew, but who is? I wish we could have these two in the VS studio instead of Jonesie and Engblom.
Oh, burn! Ray says the 2-0 lead is “looking insurmountable”. Don’t make us start thinking this is every which kind of over, Ray — there’s still a lot of hockey to be played! (Although we have to admit: we agree.)
Pierre apparently tried too hard to gauge the intensity of the Senators, because he is not welcome on their bench this period. He talks about seeing a lot of fight still in the Senators’ eyes, prompting Pookie to say, “He’s totally going to be standing there on the Ducks bench facing the Sens and holding up a boombox playing Peter Gabriel.”
19:02 Pahlsson meanders up the wing, decides to rip a slapshot on Emery, and despite making the save, Rayzor looks behind himself, startled that the stopped it.
18:34 Pierre praises Fisher for being the only Senator who has come hard for this game, and Doc comments it was good, then, that he was the guy Pierre interviewed at the end of the first. Yeah, because considering what an asshole Pierre was to Fisher, imagine how he’d have been to a player he was displeased with.
17:44 Nieder somehow manages to almost give up the puck twice deep in his zone, but is his usual humming, unflappable self and turns the sequence into a dazzling display of stickhandling.
17:05 Yikes! A bouncing puck goes goes behind Giggy’s net and Marchant brilliantly leaps to the post to stuff the Senators wraparound attempt.
16:06 Sounds of the Game tonight is our SCF boyfriend! This is not the first time we’ve said it, and we doubt it will be the last: Getzi is a dolt. (We appreciate the way that Perry blocked our view of Getzi’s teeth during the bulk of the talking part of that mic’d up.)
14:52 Further demonstrating his ox strength, Penner just shoves Kelly off the puck in the corner, whirls and throws a shot on goal. Emery snatches it in his glove and it looks for a moment like he really wants to whip the glove up in a Statue Of Stupidity, but at the last moment he remembers what the score is and keeps his glove at his side.
13:27 Doc winds up a lengthy discourse on which Ducks would automatically get their names on the Cup with a half-hearted, “of course we’re getting ahead of ourselves” disclaimer. He sounds as convinced of this outcome as we are.
12:12 Getzi, what’s wrong with you? Do you not want to be our boyfriend anymore? He gets another 2-on-1, but lets himself be bested by Kelly. (Ew! Poor Getzi is going to need to be deloused after this game — when he goes back to the bench Pierre says, with his mic live, “Nice shift Getzi.” Hands off, Pierre! He’s ours!)
10:14 While Eddie has a point that Ottawa is skating better this period, Pierre tries to smack him down by pointing out they only have 4 shots so far here. Pierre is so adamant that NBC’s viewers believe the Senators are a ginormous pile of puke that it sounds like he might climb up to the booth to start whaling on Eddie. Pookie says, “If Pierre keeps this up, I might find myself cheering for the Senators.”
9:19 Giggy is apparently allowed to handle the puck outside his trapezoid.
8:33 Eddie is vindicated as Alfie roofs a shot over Giggy after a really nifty little tip pass by Schaefer. (The shot looks like it got tipped up by Perry’s stupid decision to go down to block it.) Pierre immediately revises his opinion of the Senators by saying that goal was all the product of their excellent play in this period.
6:42 Pierre reports Murray and Spezza are having a catfight right now on the bench over a shooting opportunity Spezza opted not to pursue. We decide we’d like having Pierre on the bench very much if he could sidle over to the exchange and use his mic as a boom.
5:41 The Ducks look like they have already mentally popped those champagne corks.
5:33 A deflected shot from the point just rings off the pipe next to Giggy.
4:47 Redden leaves a drop pass in his own zone for an attacking Duck. Pookie: “Wade just looked like he was being controlled by me in NHL 2K7.”
4:16 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And oh god, but does your heart ever break for a guy when that happens.) Phillips gets just distracted enough by Baby Nieder coming around behind the net, and, on an otherwise totally non-pressured play, fumbles the puck into Emery’s skates and it floats into the net. In our ensuing tizzy, we fail to note who is credited with the goal.
3:17 We admire the “Emery” chant going into commercial break. That third goal sucked, but he deserved some chanting on the first two.
3:14 Because that goal wasn’t enough of a momentum-killer, Schubert takes an idiotic elbowing penalty on Beauchemin immediately off a faceoff. Eddie’s outrage feels more appropriate for an infraction more in the vein of cannibalism.
2:16 Getzi coughs the puck up to Alfie, then does an atrocious job defending him down the ice, and Alfie beats Giggy up high. Getzi is having some decision-making issues tonight.
1:32 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now this is what you call a great hockey game! McDonald carries the puck into the zone, the Senators collapse deeper and deeper, and McDonald drops a sweet little pass back to Beauchemin… who gets a week to wind up and crank a monster slapshot that deflects off Volchenkov and in off the pipe.
0:00 After a period that wild, Pookie declares, “The third period can either be the craziest period ever, the dirtiest period ever, or the boringest period ever.” And now the IPB Machine needs a break because there were almost no stoppages in that frame. There is smoke coming off our keyboard right now.
We pay literally not a whit of attention to the intermission show. We guess our newfound fondness for Hullie and Ray has its limits. Your humble game diarist decides to take this break to try to catch up a little with the comment stream, and realizes we’ll need a lengthy ice-repair delay to even make a dent in it.
Doc completely cracks up while reading the sponsor scripts coming back from commercial. You don’t hear that very often.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We see it entering the bowels of the arena. Pant… pant… Our pulses quicken with the memory of being in the building to see the Devils win the Cup. (Oh, and Stanley, while we love you above all else, why the assy SUV? Couldn’t you have smaller wheels on your carrying case so you could fit in a Prius? If you need a Prius to try fitting into, we have several to offer.)
18:34 Eddie is confident the Senators have this game right where they want it.
17:46 Teemu gets the benefit of a very generous call when a Ducks icing is ridiculously waved off.
17:16 Meat Leaders! Alfredsson and McDonald have both acquitted themselves well tonight, according to the stat screen.
16:51 After a huge hit on Penner by Neil, Eddie snots that Neil “took 15 steps” before the hit. Doc shuts his whining down with a prim, “I’m surprised that after 7 you were still counting.”
16:13 Redden juggles a bouncing puck and turns it over to Teemu directly in front of Emery. Pierre says Wade hasn’t looked right in this series. Pookie: “In this series?”
15:59 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Schaefer is weak on the boards and lets the puck squirt loose to Nieder at the point. Nieder just shovels a perfect tippable shot toward Moen, who perfectly tips it past Emery.
14:17 The Ponda is reverberating with the single most fun chant in all of hockey fandom: “We want the Cup!”
14:12 Because he’s not sure what they’re saying and he’d like the fans to get louder with the aforementioned chant, Schubert takes a slashing penalty.
13:26 The Senators look utterly broken on this PK. For the sake of the quality of what might be the last 13+ minutes of hockey we get this season we hope they’re not throwing in the towel as badly as it looks.
12:37 Vermette makes a great yoink play on Beauchemin at the point, and, while Marchant’s crazy wheels almost let him catch up with him, he still hooks him from behind and a penalty shot is called. Doc’s head nearly explodes. (We would like to point out here that this “most exciting play in hockey” crap is just that: crap. We think penalty shots are overrated, and they’ve been further cheapened by the shootout. But we digress.) Then the building very nearly explodes when Giggy stops him.
12:01 Not at all happy with having failed to convert on the penalty shot, Vermette gets a great shot off that Giggy just barely gets a toe on.
11:00 Teemu leads the way on the slowest-moving most anticlimactic 3-on-2 in NHL history, and concludes the whole affair with a half-whiffed shot.
9:13 Doc winds up his story about how all these guys are playing with undisclosed injuries with that old story about John Madden declaring he didn’t stop hurting until the end of July in 2003. We are officially now really tired of that story. (Prior to this retelling, we were only officially quite tired of that story.)
7:33 Volchenkov gets a penalty for putting a fork into his own team. (Yeah, we said it!) Pierre pipes up with a funereal proclamation about the Senators’ spirits are broken. Pookie: “Pierre would so totally ask that, too. ‘Spezza, is your spirit broken?’”
5:34 The crowd sounds surprisingly subdued, and we get into a discussion of the timing of the fifth goal. It’s very hard to be in an “Oh my God we’re winning the Stanley Cup!” frenzy for that long. (We speak from experience. The Devils very kindly scored their icing goal in 2003 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third, then went on a penalty kill, then we were fed right into that final, lusty-cheering minute. That’s a long time to be in a sustained delirium.) Of course, the building is also a hell of a lot louder than it sounds on TV.
4:33 Eddie discusses how the Ducks were constructed, and says that last summer “Pronger showed up.” Yeah. He just “showed up”. It was like a virgin birth.
4:06 The Ducks get called for icing, and the crowd starts into the “final stretch” frenzy.
3:42 The “Oh my God, we’re winning the Cup!” cheers are supplanted briefly to boo Alfie at center ice. Nice!
3:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let ‘er rip, Ducks fans! Alfie, hounded by our SCF boyfriend and rattled by the booing, blindly tosses the puck straight up the center of his zone and Perry is there to skate right into it and rip the one-timer right through Volchenkov and Emery.
2:29 We will take another moment to impose our Devils fandom on this game diary and say we’re flashing back so happily to 2003. That was the awesomest day of our fan lives.
1:00 It’s our last minute of hockey this season. Sad.
0:53 The whistle blows as the puck is frozen on the boards by the penalty boxes; we discuss how incredible it was how the Senators really rolled over in this game.
0:30 Doc tells us about Marchant’s t-shirts again. We roll our eyes. It wasn’t Marchant’s shirts that made this happen. Unless the Senators were all wearing t-shirts that said “Listless, Lifeless, Heartless, Gutless”. We normally think Doc can do no wrong, but he should shut up right now and let us listen to the crowd.
0:00 Let the party begin!
What in the hell are they playing on the PA? It’s like a triumph march as performed by a polka band. Amidst all the chaos we get to see Nieder. Huh. He looks distinctly like a guy who’s been here before. Baby Nieder, meanwhile, is crying because he’s pretty confident now that he knows what it takes to win just one that he’ll never get as many as Big Nieder. We admire Baby CrunchyPickles’ chutzpah — he is right behind Nieder in the handshake line, all “Yeah, I’m important. My brother’s an all-star.”
We find out now that the game-winner (the Phillips gaffe) was credited to Moen.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice is served, as much as it can be after the Great Conn Smythe Heist in 2003, and Nieder gets the Smythe. He darts away with it, then races back for the Cup, which is just making its way onto the ice. (In 2003 we were in the second-to-last row at the CAA for this moment. And let us just say, the Cup is so bright and so shiny you can see the engraving on it from all the way up there.)
In awarding the Cup, Bettman announces that the Ducks are the first west-coast team to win it. Schnookie: “And that makes him ‘Pierre McGuire’ in his pants.”
Gary looks like he wants to give Nieder instructions on how to lift the Cup, and Nieder’s all, “Um, I think I’ve figured this one out by now.”
The Cup order here makes no sense at all. Nieder hands it off, after a blink of an eye, to Baby Nieder (and, well, he’s the reason Nieder’s there at all, and Nieder’s the reason the Cup is there at all…), who gives it to Pronger (NBC really could have cut away to spare us all that sight), and only then does it go to Teemu. We are not big-time Ducks fans by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems Teemu should have been right after Nieder.
We cut away from the Cup hoisting to get an interview with Pierre and Teemu, and Teemu is crying so hard that he demolishes the unintentional comedy scale. And while we’re sure laughing hard, we wouldn’t mind watching the Cup get skated some more.
We cut away from the Teemu interview in time to see what everyone tuned in for: Motzko with the Cup. Then we see Baby Crunchy with it, and we are positive that somewhere out there Crunchy is crying so hard he re-demolishes the unintentional comedy scale. (We are, needless to say, peeved we missed out on Getzi with the Cup. Although maybe we should thank NBC for sparing us the sight of those teeth reflected on Lord Stanley.)
We want to praise the Ducks here for not letting the families on the ice to skate with the Cup. That sucked so bad that Carolina did that last year. Having been lucky enough to witness our team win it in person (have we mentioned that yet?), we can say it’s a very, very weird thing as a fan. It’s the happiest thing in the world, and while the guys skate with the Cup it’s all about interacting with the fans, but as the players start drifting off to hug their families at the benches, and the scrubs and scratches and suits all start getting their chance to lift it, the whole thing stops being about the fans. The players all start turning back into real people (if that makes any sense) and the celebration turns into their party. So to have had the families on the ice from the start, to make it immediately about the players’ personal relationships instead of taking those first few celebratory moments to make it about their relationship with the fans, just seemed wrong.
Wait, did we say the unintentional comedy scale had been broken by Teemu crying? We were wrong. The Prongers appear for an interview with Pierre, and Lauren jumps in to kiss Chris and coo, “I love you so much!” and Pierre slimes, “She does love you very much.”
In our assessment of this game, we decide this was a weird game. It was awesome, there was great action, but it never really seemed, in our opinions, to have the intensity of a Cup-clinching game. We agree it’s because the Senators barely showed up. Schnookie snarks, “You just knew when that first penalty was called that they were going to put in that kind of game. It makes you say, ‘Why’d you bother winning Game 3?’” Boomer snaps, “Why’d you bother winning the New Jersey series?” And on that note, happy off-season.