Saturday’s Game 5 of this Western Conference semifinal series is brought to you by LeadLegs.com, the place you go to when you want to see athletes who would pay big money to trade their lungs and legs for yours.
The Nashville Predators needed three overtimes and Mike Fisher (formerly “married to Carrie Underwood” and now “Carrie Underwood, who is married to Mike Fisher”) to out-endure the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in a game that finally imprints each team on the minds of the opposing fan bases, as in “remember the time when . . .”
You see, multiple overtimes of anything are heroin for viewers, and hell on players, and frankly, if you had the choice between entertained and worrying about players; welfare, you’d have stopped watching football decades ago.
Thus, the Preds and Sharks put on a sensational show which will enervate them both for Game 5 Saturday night in San Jose -– almost a doubleheader, followed by a 1,800-mile plane trip.
And if you’re into history as the predictor for the future, the winners of nine of the last 11 triple-or-more-overtime games lost their next game -– sometimes in overtime. And if you’re really into history that has no value whatsoever, Thursday’s game was also the first time in five that a triple-overtime game did not involve the Chicago Blackhawks.
The real point, though, is that hockey is an unforgiving game sport that demands the exertion that Nashville and San Jose spent Thursday be replicated two nights later, and though that isn’t likely, they’ll be willing to play three more overtimes trying.
And they’ll spend precious little time either gloating over or whining about the non-goal by Joe Pavelski in the first overtime that forced the next two. Getting screwed is a constant feeling in hockey -– from the pass that doesn’t hit the boards just right to the rut that catches the skate at the wrong time to the bad change to the crossbar to the penalty that isn’t called or the non-penalty that is. In the immortal words of Al Swearengen, Patron Saint To Us All, “Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or f------ beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man . . . and give some back.”
Oh, and “Don’t forget to finish your checks.”
That’s the beauty here –- that the reward for playing all night is almost always the right to play some more. San Jose, oddly, is one of the few that didn’t get to do that, having lost the deciding game of the 2008 Western Conference semis in four overtimes at Dallas. And that was after the Sharks won Game 5 in overtime at San Jose.
See how this works? It’s a diabolical world out there, and what you got (other than the despicable bleatings of people back east who had “go to bed” or some equally snivelly nonsense) is a series that you’re suddenly more interested in, one that suddenly grabbed your interest because of what you saw Thursday.
In other words, if you didn’t go to bed, you are a full-fledged adult and better class of person than the Twitter narcoleptics who couldn’t endure an extra hour on the couch, or the bar stool -- just as the Predators and Sharks are better for this experience.
The Predators, we will grant you, better still. Now let’s see if these two teams have the human dignity, intellectual honesty and just plain gumption to do what the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs did in 2003 -– go two overtimes in Game 3, then three overtimes in Game 4, and two more in Game 6.
Now those guys gave a damn, by cracky.