Puck Daddy - NHL

Ohhhh, Bruins fans. That one hurt.

In the aftermath of a loss like that, while you're huddled in the fetal position in a corner somewhere, I know you're asking the question: "when will this stop hurting?"

Here's the black answer: it won't.

Three weeks ago my fiancée Brianna (Gillies, btw) and I pulled up a couple stumps at our local watering hole, and were quickly introduced by the bartender to the gentleman beside us, a Mr. Barry Wilkins. Turns out our bar buddy had put together an eleven year NHL career in the 70's, and was great guy to have a hockey chat with.

Hearing my hockey lineage - my Dad was on the Islanders dynasty teams, as was my fiancée's - Barry filled us in on what he considered the two most memorable points from his NHL days. One, he scored the first ever goal in Canucks history (cool), and two, he was on the 1975 Penguins team that puked away a 3-0 series lead to our Dad's Islanders (not so cool...for him).

Unprompted, Barry gave us a quick rundown of the series - Clark Gillies has dislocated Barry's shoulder early in the series, and he felt limited by it. Their goaltending and defense started collapsing under the weight of the Islanders tireless pressure. And basically, the screws were slowly rattling loose until, all at once, the wheels flew off the vehicle into traffic and caused this stinging memory of mass destruction.

And you can feel the guy's pain - sometimes I'll just be driving along, thinking happy thoughts, then suddenly get a flash of a shootout in college where I dropped the goalie, stepped around him, and instead of BURYING IT LIKE A MAN, I lazily slid it on the ice and got rejected by a reach-back stick swipe. We lost the shootout, the game, and eventually the Governors Cup, because I too-cooled the finish. Every time it pops up I wanna jerk the wheel into a bridge embankment. It hurts zero percent less.

And while Barry talked about their collapse, the body language and nervous energy made me feel like I should've worn shoulder pads to the bar. Like he wanted to finish a check, protect the puck and fire it hard off the glass or something. We beat that series like the should-have-been-dead horse that it was.

Brianna works with patients of traumatic brain injuries, and they call it perseverating. You can change the topic a 100 times, but they'll still focus on their cat Simon, regardless of your assurances that the thing got run over by an 18-wheeler 20 years ago. And Barry was perseverating. I mean, we only had to win ONE more game. It was just ... It was just ...

So welcome to your life, Bruins fans. Perseverate on that.

Time heals all wounds, but if you get cut deep enough, it's gonna leave a scar.

Check out more from Justin at Bourne's Blog

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