I think it was Bill Pidto who popularized the phrase “bonus hockey,” and it’s so much a part of the Mitchell vocabulary that you’ll find “bonus fish” on the table, and “bonus laundry” being done late on Sunday. Bonus hockey is great in the regular season, but in the playoffs it’s much more.
Congratulations to the Stanley Cup champion LA Kings, and also to the officials who were selected to work the Finals: referees Steve Kozari, Wes McCauley, Dan O’Halloran, and Brad Watson, and linesmen Derek Amell, Scott Driscoll, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik.
Good weekend for cryptics: Hex have a great variety cryptic in the Wall Street Journal (“Flower Cuttings”) as well as their weekly straight cryptic in the National Post (Falcon has interrupted his vacation to post it). I’ve got hints for the WSJ puzzle elsewhere on the blog.
Meanwhile, the new Harper’s is out, with another Sixes and Sevens (and Twelves) from Richard Maltby. That means Erica will be around soon to blog the June puzzle in her unique style.
LizR has your Brit cryptic needs satisfied with another new puzzle, while Fraser Simpson has his regular Brit-Canadian cryptic in the Globe and Mail.
The weekend’s New York Times variety puzzle (behind the paywall) is a Hex acrostic. Deb Amlen blogs it (with spoilers) at Wordplay.
Add to that the 1974 Frank Lewis puzzle we started on Thursday, and a cluing challenge, and we’ve got a great variety of puzzles to have your brain working overtime.
More hockey below the fold.
We didn’t get home from the fencing tournament until almost 11 Friday night, so I was hoping for the Kings to tie it up while we were driving home listening to the Rangers’ broadcast. Bonus hockey indeed. I finished an ice cream during the first OT, which was tense and defensive.
The second overtime is when you really start noticing the difference. A lot of the time when I’m refereeing C-league or a kids’ game, you can see the players have gotten tired. At that time, I’ll remind my partner “they’re tired: watch for pull-downs” (when players can’t move their legs enough and just put their stick around another player to try and stop him).
Now NHL players are supremely conditioned athletes and great skaters, but they’re trained to go 60 minutes and leave everything out on the ice. Nobody knows in advance that the game is going to two overtimes, so they can’t save something for the second OT. I poured a dram. When I noticed how much the play in the second OT looked like the end of one of my games, I made a few brief notes while I watched.
- The players’ legs look dead the first shift or two after that fourth intermission. You work so hard and then sit down (like driving home from the rink after skating two games), it’s hard to get moving again.
- The first thing to go when you’re tired is your ability to change directions.
- On offense, you see the tired players try and lunge to put a stick on the puck but the pucks you could get to during the first OT are now just out of reach.
- Players start colliding with their teammates because neither can get out of the other’s way. It happened twice to the Rangers, and the second time they were fortunate that Lundqvist made the save.
- Some of the players look like they have a little more jump than others: either it’s conditioning, or not having so much ice time earlier in the game. The players who can do that are the ones you want to pick in the traditional game played by broadcasters when an overtime period is about to start: “who’s going to score the winning goal?’
- Henrik Lundqvist is still playing well after stopping more than 40 shots, but it’s Jonathan Quick who looks fresher bouncing back onto his skates after dropping into the butterfly to make a save.
Finally, a rebound bounced right onto the tape of Alec Martinez’s stick, and tired or not, there was nothing he could do other than shoot it into the open net to win the Stanley Cup.