It’s a slow day in Loob Town, friends, and with the withered hand of death cruelly outstretching his decrepit index finger, inching ever closer to the fragile shoulder of the 2012-13 NHL season, it’s safe to say that looking forward is depressing as all shit right now.
So I decided to look back.
I keep harkening back to a game against the Oilers early last season, a flowery, delightful time before all hopes of any kind of playoff activity were callously dashed, and we all still maybe believed
Rene Bourque would have a bounce back year I don’t know, something about Minnesota winning the division (okay, no one believed that one either)
The game, even almost a year later, still sticks out in my mind. Not because the Flames won (they did), or because they beat the Oilers (they always beat the Oilers, so that’s not why either), or because Jay Bouwmeester scored (that also happened in this game), or because Kipper stole the show (what else is new?), or because for some reason the game sheet had the name Pierre-Luc Letorneau-Leblond on it (which I will never understand why it did). No, this game, nay, this Alex Tanguay goal, is the sole reason I ever remember this installment of the Battle of Alberta (which ‘d like to reiterate the Flames won because the Oilers still don’t have a hockey team)
Yeah, it was a Tanguay goal, which is impressive in its own right because it means he didn’t pass the puck off for once. Maybe. It was kind of a broken play so I can’t say for sure that wasn’t his intention and it still went in the net because LOL how does anyone think Devan Dubnyk is an NHL caliber goalie I don’t even…
Anyway…the element of the goal that impressed me the most was the play made by Cory Sarich. Why don’t I just go ahead and show you the goal? (This is the best video I could find. You’ll have to skip to the 30 second mark to see this magic go down)
I know, for Sarich’s part, it’s a quick little play and may not look like much. But consider the following:
- Sarich takes the pass without bobbling it
- He deftly walks the line into a favourable shooting angle well clear of a sprawling Lennert Petrell
- Sarchy puts a low, hard shot on a bananas crowd in front of Dubnyk, perfect for rebounds or tips and not injuring screening teammates
- All of the above, while remembering Cory Sarich is generally a terrible hockey player
and then all of a sudden we have the makings of a career best moment (if we exclude the fact that Sarich is one of those assholes who won a Stanley Cup in 2004 even though IT WAS IN)
Just, I know it doesn’t look like much, but man, what a play. I wrote about it at the time, remarking that:
“Sarich’s play on Tanguay’s goal was Hall of Fame material. Seriously. He walked the line like he was Johnny Cash, if Johnny Cash was a nimble skater who could handle a puck with poise under pressure.”
(At the time, as now, I refrained from calling the play Bobby Orr-esque, not because it would be an insult to compare a paltry, early season assist from a third pairing defenseman to the exploits from the career of a man many deem to be the finest pivot to ever play the game. No, I avoided the parallel altogether because Bobby Orr is an asshole, and Niklas Lidstrom is by far the best defenseman of all time. Fuck you, Bobby, stop believing you were better than Gretzky)
It was a big goal too, as far as big goals go in reference to Calgary’s playoff missing season. Sarich slathered this sauce on with less than 5 minutes in the game. Tanguay’s notch was your game winning goal, and it came just 58 seconds after Bouwmeester tied the game at 1. This was the first round of the season’s Battle of Alberta, and the Flames took it from the Oilers and held it in their faces while punching them in the groin, like the dominant big brother they are. The goal helped illustrate Edmonton’s uncanny ability to choke and die when they are poised to win a game, and it’s the reason why they haven’t seen a playoff game in 80 some years and why I’m laughing while typing this. It never matters what the scenario is, when the Flames beat the Oilers, it’s a cake full of strippers and good.
Having said all this, I cannot stress enough that this is not a defense of Cory Sarich as a member of your Calgary Flames, or as a hockey player at all. In fact, it perturbs me that he’s widely considered to be both of those things, and no one complained more than I did when Jay Feaster, against all odds, heroically ruined the Flames would-be season by re-signing him to a two year contract. In fact, I’m not sure at all what I really did intend to accomplish in writing this. I guess maybe it’s that it’s good to know that, once in a non contentious CBA negotiated year (rarer than one of those fucking blue moons, I’ll tell you that right now), Cory Sarich can be remembered for more than killing Taylor Hall or Patrick Marleau or that body bag he destroyed in junior with his body, or being a defensive liability, or for whatever the fuck else it is we’re supposed to know about him. Even if it was against the Oilers, it was a special moment. So I guess in that sense it’s worth honouring.
Also, I don’t recall ever watching Anton Babchuk make a good hockey play, so I guess Cory’s got a one up on him there. Fuck you, Anton Babchuk.
So here’s to you, Cory Sarich. I award you the Jofa Helmet of hockey excellence. I guess.
Posted in Hlushko Hodgepodge |