December 3, 2009

2002 Finals, Game 5 -- The Liveblog


Yesterday, Yahoo! Sports offered us this question: Who is the Sports Team of the Decade? One eloquent commenter from that article summed it up for all of us:

"The '08 Lions, lol."

(Channeling my inner 'Puck Stops Here') *I'm going to disagree with Marzipan23's selection. The Lions played 16 games last season and lost all 16. They did not win a single game. They were 0-16. 16 times they played football and they lost at football 16 out of 16 possible times. It is for this reason that they are not the best team of the decade. It would be more accurate to say that they were one of the 50 worst teams of the decade. Zone starts.*

I'm a little biased. My selection for best team is obviously the 2002 Detroit Red Wings. A spectacular collection of talent that rarely has been seen in this or any decade, in any sport. If you are not a Red Wings fan, you have already clicked away because you are so unbelievably fucking sick of hearing about this team. And I wouldn't blame you.

But holy hell this team was awesome for us to watch. Luckily I have taped a preposterous number of games in my lifetime, and more than a few of them are from this season. The moments I didn't stop to savor in 2002 have been relived dozens of times on my VCR, with this usually occurring on sick days or before I learned how to talk to women. Yesterday I had one of those sick days, and to lift my spirits I put in Game 5 from the 2002 Finals. And like anybody else would do, I decided to liveblog it.

*****

  • Oh, these were the days, weren't they? An epic opening ABC Sports montage .... Al Michaels .... the music .... Thorne and Clement .... national television. It's as if this game was played on Jupiter.
  • Jiri Fischer is suspended for this game after a vicious cross check in Game 4. He will be replaced by the incomparable Jiri Slegr. (Slegr played 17 minutes and finished a plus-2. Inspired by his own performance, he retired to a start a new career as a replacement double for guys named 'Jiri' during awkward moments. Currently you can find him in Jiri Hudler's bed trying to explain to a Czech prostitute what that "clucking" maneuver was all about.)
  • Brian Engblom's mullet is at it's apex in 2002. It just asked Carolina coach Paul Maurice -- after his team hadn't scored in the last six periods -- if "the offense had to improve". Hmmm.
1ST PERIOD
  • 17:00 -- The Wings pile on the shots early, firing at Arturs Irbe at every chance during the first few minutes. The gameplan here was to get Irbe's disgustingly old pads to disintegrate by the first intermission.
  • 15:01 -- A shot deflects into the crowd, and a moron with a tucked in #91 jersey with the name "GORDON" on the back tumbles over three rows of people. Boy, it's a good thing Fedorov eventually left so that #91 was all Gordon's, otherwise he'd look like a fucking idiot with that jersey on.
  • 14:20 -- Crazy sequence unfolds. Luc Robataille makes a phenomenal cross ice pass to Fredrik Olausson, who gets robbed by Irbe but the puck squirts through his pads. Igor Larionov picks up the puck at the side of the net and sends a saucer pass to Luc, who then hits the post on an open net. A serious buzz takes hold of the Joe for the next 30 seconds.
  • An anti-Windows commercial for Mac computers comes on. With the all white background, a pretentious guy, the elevator music and everything else. I swear I do not remember these Mac commercials dating back this far, with the same theme and style, no less.
  • Zero offense so far by Carolina, who are sticking to the trap game and taking absolutely no chances. I don't think they have attempted a pass of more than five feet yet. Sami Kapenen literally just picked up the puck and handed it off to Ron Francis like a quarterback.
  • 9:15 -- Gary Thorne relays that Chris Chelios has more playoff experience than anybody else on either team. And this was seven years ago.
  • 7:09 -- First power play of the game goes to the Wings. It feels strange, because in my head I've already called 27 interference penalties. Carolina kills it off by committing interference another 12 times.
  • 3:34 -- After a turnover, Fedorov breaks in alone on goal, but the puck rolls on him and he shoots it right into Irbe's stomach. I know this is probably my selective memory at work, but it seemed like Sergei opted for shooting 5-hole way more than deking on breakaways during his NHL career, and that annoyed me a bit. Maybe I'm just bias toward the deke since the name of this site isn't "Shoot At The 5-Hole And Hope He's One Of Those 80's Goalies That Tries To Make Saves By Acting Like He Just Got Shot". (Although "SAT5HAHHOOT8GTTTMSBALHJGS" would be a pretty sweet acronym.)
  • Intermission -- The way Barry Melrose is breaking down the game would make you believe that the Hurricanes feel like they're up 6-0 right now. They just could not be more thrilled that this game is scoreless. They love it. In fact they would rather find a loophole that allows them to win 0-0 than actually record a goal.
  • More commercial entertainment: Be sure to pick up Black Hawk Down on DVD this week! That Josh Hartnett is rising like a blinding, fiery comet. His fame will know no bounds in the future.

2ND PERIOD
  • 17:43 -- The Canes had a guy named Jeff Daniels. Still find this funny. By the way, the Canes haven't scored a goal in this series since the middle of the 3rd period of Game 3, which spans about eight periods. I can't believe this series felt as close as it did with a scoreless streak of that length.
  • 15:53 -- GOAL: Tomas Holmstrom ... Igor centers a puck from the corner and Homer stretches with one arm to poke home the first goal of the game. This was an awesome, cycle-filled shift by this line, mostly Homer, Igor and Chelios.
  • 14:09 -- Bill McCreary calls the Wings for their first penalty, but the Canes don't convert as they spend the entire two minutes playing the trap in the neutral zone. This team is allergic to puck possession. Paul Maurice is now working furiously on the bench with his cronies on a way to mathematically win this game while down 1-0.
  • 9:14 -- A spry Pavel Datsyuk forechecks with my long lost cousin Boyd Devereaux. Sadly this is the closest that I will ever come to playing hockey with Datsyuk, and even more sadly this doesn't make fucking sense.
  • That one annoying Coors Lite commercial: "BECAUSE WE CAN CAN CAAAAAANNNNNN! BECAUSEWECAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN....."
  • 5:57 -- GOAL: Brendan Shanahan ... On the power play -- after a very pre-lockout-y looking penalty by the Canes, Shanny took a perfect pass from Sergei and blew it by Irbe on a one-timer. After being incredibly snake bitten previously, this marked Shanny's second straight game with a goal.
  • Ahhh, Circuit City. "We're With You", their slogan says. No, you're really not, guys. You are like the opposite of that.
  • 3:45 -- Classic, classic Kirk Maltby. He delivers a fairly harmless hit to Erik Cole, then chirps at him a bit trying to bait him into doing something stupid. Bates Battaglia takes care of the stupidity part by decking Maltby from behind, thinking he's helping his buddy, and a penalty is called. Fantastic.
  • 3:07 -- Shanny takes a bad hooking penalty to cancel out the Wings' power play though, which actually will have a big impact on this game. The Canes get a few seconds of power play time a minute later and Jeff O'neil, defying coaches orders by shooting the puck, scores to make it 2-1. But not without a bit of controversy as we had to go to video review. Bill McCreary goes to the phone to call the video judge, Lord Zordon:
~ McCreary: "Hey, we're trying to see if the puck went in off the back post there."

~ Zordon: "PATIENCE MY SON -- IN TIME WE WILL KNOW. TELL ME -- ARE YOUR BALLS DRY."

~ McCreary: (sighs) ".... Yes, my l0rd."

~ Zordon: "EXCELLENT. BARBARA WILL BE HAPPY TO HEAR THAT HER NEW PANT DESIGN -- THE RBK TOASTY TIGHT -- IS A ROUSING SUCCESS."

~ McCreary: "While I appreciate the pants, my lord, we need to--"

~ Zordon: "MY SON I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND IT WILL BE CHALLENGING TO YOU AND YOUR BAND OF ZEBRAMEN. MANY A PENALTY WILL NEED TO BE WHISTLED AND BALL SWEAT WILL BE OF GREAT CONCERN. YOU WILL BE HIGHLY SCRUTINIZED, FOR EVERY GAME WILL BE CALLED TIGHTLY .... MUCH LIKE THE PANTS AROUND YOUR VERY DRY BALLS."

~ McCreary: "My lord I must admit this is embarrassing. You are shouting loud enough for the linesman to hear me-- Oop, did you hear that? Brian Murphy just called me a fag. Great. Thanks for that."

~ Zordon: "IT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE GAY MUSTACHE, WHICH WILL GO LARGELY UNCHANGED THROUGH THE REST OF YOUR CAREER. BY THE WAY, IT WAS INDEED A GOAL."

~ McCreary: "Thanks, dick." (Points to center ice.)

  • Intermission -- Commercial of the cast of According to Jim with the Cup in their house. Jim Belushi has touched the Stanley Cup and I haven't. Every time this part of the tape comes on I fast forward it so that I don't have to rub poison sumac in my eyes.
  • Al Michaels looks like he'd rather be watching his wife having sex with a thoroughbred race horse than be at this game.

3RD PERIOD
  • 18:35 -- Slegr lays a huge hit in the Wings end. An underrated-to-never-mentioned subject from this series is how remarkable Slegr was in this game considering he hadn't played in two months. To come in for the clinching game of the Finals and not only play mistake-free but play well was amazing.
  • 15:10 -- Just realized that I'm this far in and haven't mentioned Steve Yzerman once. I must be losing my mind. Did you hear that he was playing on one knee?
  • 14:35 -- Fedorov goes off for cross checking. In a 2-1 game, with Carolina on the power play, this should've been a huge moment. But instead the Canes chose to keep it safe by running three straight times and punting.
  • 11:10 -- Kirk Malby is such a prick. He "accidentally" hits Josef Vasicek over the head with his stick, then tries to skate away, but Vasicek (understandably upset) gives Maltby a low blow and picks up a penalty. What an asshole. I love this man. (A few minutes later, ABC microphones picked up a random player yelling "Fuck off". I don't know who it was or what happened, but it's worth noting that Maltby was on the ice.)
  • 9:40 -- An early-era Datsyuk staple: Embarrasses a guy with a move, but then tries to beat him again unnecessarily and loses the puck. Back then it was frustrating but still cool. Now to watch it is simply adorable.
  • 7:10 -- Things are really starting to tense up as the countdown to victory comes closer: Yzerman almost makes Irbe poop his pants with a slap shot; Robataille couldn't get elevation on a mostly open net; and then Homer was robbed on a twirling shot at the side of the net, all within 30 seconds.
  • 4:47 -- I wonder if Brett Hedican hates that announcers are incapable of mentioning him or his skating ability without making a terrible joke about him being married to Kristi Yamaguchi. That would drive me crazy. If I were him I would've snapped one day and showed up to a game with her face sewn over mine screaming, "WE'RE REALLY THE SAME NOW HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH"
  • 4:20 -- We're to the point of the game where fans are so delirious that hands and pom poms are blocking the cameras -- something that, for whatever reason, I've always liked. I like hands distracting my view. It enhances the moment, or something.
  • 2:20 -- Chants of "We want the Cup" ...
  • 0:55 -- ... Irbe to the bench ...
  • 0:44 -- ... and Shanny seals it. And the degree of difficulty for an empty netter was actually pretty high here -- the puck is rolling, Shanny is shooting from along the boards at center ice, just as he gets wasted by a check. But he still hits the net.
  • Bill Clement: "What a party that erupted on the Red Wings bench. There were two clusters -- one at each end of the bench -- and it was just two masses of humanity jumping up and down, together."
  • 0:00 -- AKJD;FKL.JDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

*****
  • Darren Pang: "You're not retiring, eh?" Steve Yzerman: "Can't afford to, Darren, can't afford to."
  • Brian Engblom: "Are you coming back next year?" Chris Chelios: "I hope so."
  • Gary Thorne, watching Datsyuk skating the Cup: "I think he might do this again."

20 comments:

Baroque said...

An early-era Datsyuk staple: Embarrasses a guy with a move, but then tries to beat him again unnecessarily and loses the puck. Back then it was frustrating but still cool. Now to watch it is simply adorable.

So adorable. Partly because now after he loses the puck, he flattens the guy with a check, gets it back again, and makes a flawless pass to Zetterberg or someone for a goal. No doubt makes me giggle more than any other hockey player ever. :)

That makes me miss Igor Larionov. And Sergei, too. But in a good way because they both moved on to other things.

And it makes me miss seeing Jiri on the ice in uniform. At least he is alive which is better than we could have hoped for at the time of his seizure on the bench.

I remember so clearly watching that pre-live-blog days - I had just graduated from college, so I watched that series at my parents' house, curled on the floor in front of the television with my fists clenched so there were little marks from my fingernails in my palms for hours afterwards, holding my breath so long from time to time that my ribs hurt.

Good memories.

Baroque said...

And I'm sorry to hear you were sick. :( Hope you are feeling better now.

Anonymous said...

That was fantastic.
Especially the McCreary/Zordon conversation.

Though I'm surprised you didn't make a "Maltby Baits Battaglia LOLOLOLOOLOLL." joke. I guess that is too highbrow for this blog.

-the other Chris.

J.J. from Kansas said...

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more of this. Do you happen to have game four in 1997 on VHS?

How about "The" March 24th game. You know which one I'm talking about...

Anonymous said...

Jeff OKWingnut

Dude - - you must have been sort of delirious - making comments to self on the game.

Fun stuff - - it always seems so much better when the Wings win at home, so electric.

Hope the Oil game lifts your spirits tonight.

Andy said...

ah, love it! @JJ, I have both those games, and I could tell you where to find them (though I can't tell you here)

Mandingo said...

Awesome post, and a great idea. Keep 'em coming.

Intermission -- The way Barry Melrose is breaking down the game would make you believe that the Hurricanes feel like they're up 6-0 right now.

I specifically remember this. It's etched into my memory. I never wanted to kick anyone in the jimmy more than Melrose during the '02 playoff run. God, he hated that Wings team.

Natalie said...

LOVE this post. Especially enjoyed the part about Kirk Maltby pissing people off. He's the best at that.

Guilherme Calciolari said...

How could you not mention Shannerman? The kid is 7 already.

Triple Deke Staff said...

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more of this. Do you happen to have game four in 1997 on VHS?

How about "The" March 24th game. You know which one I'm talking about...
.

I have the Cup-winner on VHS and DVD, and if you mean the March 26 Avalanche Brawl game, then I have that too. (If I'm stupidly blanking on a March 24th game then forgive me).

I suppose this could be a running series?

@ Herm:

Shannerman .... god that made me laugh. I left it out because I don't think I've ever talked about the goal without making some joke about that, and I thought it was getting old.

- Tyler

Osrt said...

I'm going to slip the H1N1 virus into your Rouffiecalada next time we go Salsa dancing. Being sick makes you more fun.

Fell better dude.

Guilherme Calciolari said...

Tyler, the mating will never get old.

I wish I taped games back then. A friend of mine was supposed to copy some games and send it to me, but the fauxer never did it.

Itrusteddrrahmani said...

haha "thelinkstopshere" impression was perfect. I aLol'd

mrfluffy said...

"We Want The Cup" haunts my dreams.

Thanks Gary. Ass.

Anonymous said...

Brian Engblom's mullet is at it's apex in 2002. It just asked Carolina coach Paul Maurice -- after his team hadn't scored in the last six periods -- if "the offense had to improve". Hmmm.

CaptainDennisPolonich says:

Internet poll idea: Who is more of a Master Of The Obvious?

A. Engblom

B. Engblom's Mullet

My vote is Engblom

Baroque said...

The Avalanche brawl game was one of the ones included in the DVD boxed set of the three Cups prior to the 2008 win. Fun game to watch knowing the end result.

And crap, that reminds me that I still haven't bought the DVD from 2008 yet.

J.J. from Kansas said...

Yeah, the 26th game. Sorry about that. Crack is bad for you.

Anonymous said...

You know I never noticed this but at the 6:00 mark I think thats Scotty telling Holland hes done. You see him telling him and then Holland yells back something, maybe "We will talk about it later".

Triple Deke Staff said...

You know I never noticed this but at the 6:00 mark I think thats Scotty telling Holland hes done. You see him telling him and then Holland yells back something, maybe "We will talk about it later".

I contemplate that whenever I see it. Does anyone know how that went down?

Elizabeth said...

I'm in year two of a multi-year process converting my VHS game tapes (including this game) to DVD, while cutting out most commercials. This was pretty sweet to rewatch.

Guilherme: It would take me some time to finish, but once they are on DVD, I can easily copy what I have and mail them. Having someone waiting would probably give me more motivation.