Welcome to the sixth Playoff Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s sixth postseason game on April 27, 2009.
It’s time like these that I think of Quint. Y’know, the shark-hunting badass from Jaws, who was awesome.
He knew that shark was going to eat him if he tried to find it. He knew it. And yet he got out on that boat and he went after that shark because, god dammit, that’s what shark hunters do.
And tonight, the Flames are a lot like Quint. This can’t end well for them. Their little boat is ill-equipped to handle a monster of this magnitude and, even if it survives the first brush with its foe, prehistoric and terrible, it will be so battered and torn that there’s no way for it to get back safely to harbor.
Game 6 is almost certainly your last chance to see the Flames in 2008-09. At least at home. So go to the game tonight, or watch at home, and cheer for the boys. They gave you like seven months of happiness. The least you can do is drink to their legs and sing a sailors’ song.
Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte… just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven-hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen-footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail.
What we didn’t know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named “The Battle of Waterloo” and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away.
Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces.
You know, by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.
Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us… he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened… waitin’ for my turn.
I’ll never put on a lifejacket again.
So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.
Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
Go Flames go.
The Calgary Flames (the fifth seed in the West) and the Chicago Blackhawks (the fourth seed). Calgary trails 3-2 and Chicago leads 17-15 on aggregate.
7:30 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should .
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 29-10-4 at home this year in all competition, and is 2-0 at home in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 22-17-4 on the road.
What (to hate about the Blackhawks):
Kris Versteeg — I dunno, he seems like a dink to me. He also got traded from the Bruins to Chicago for, get this, Brandon Bochenski. That’s how valuable Kris Versteeg is.
Brent Seabrook — Near my boyhood home there was a town called Seabrook and there was a nuclear power plant there, and everyone was very opposed to the nuclear power plant for all the reasons you’d imagine. However, I wanted to visit it because Homer Simpson worked in a nuclear power plant and so how bad could it be? I never went. And I’m sad about that to this very day.
Nikolai Khabibulin — Can’t beat the Blackhawks if you don’t beat him. So let’s beat him badly. Almost to the point of death.
Drinking to your leg — Okay, so we drink to our legs!
Because this is the end, my only friends, the end. Enjoy the game and organize travel arrangements for the Bahamas (no swine flu there!) in the comments section.