There’s a reason why I have this one simple word hanging around my neck. It’s a summation of everything that my hockey writing career has become…a belief that even the impossible can become possible. It is a belief that dreams, no matter how insane they can be, they can come true.
That is the word that I carry around with me. I wear it because it’s a reminder of why I’m even covering the New Jersey Devils to begin with. I believe in them. I believe that the impossible can be made possible. Those are the lessons they’ve taught me over these last few years. They’ve taught me to BELIEVE in them and that they are capable of making the impossible possible.
Even after a 0-3 deficit, the first stats that came across from the NHL’s post-game notes in Game 3 were basically…there is still hope for the Devils. Seventy years ago, before my grandfather even made the shores of Normandy on D-Day, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back from a 0-3 deficit to win the Stanley Cup in 1942.
1942…that was the first time my grandfather had ever seen Paris. Last night, I was watching “Midnight in Paris” and freaking out over all of the places shown in the movie…I’d been to every single place. I knew all of the stories of the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and so on. Most importantly, I was there in Paris at the beginning of this season, going to all of the old haunts of Hemingway, taking photos of some of the most breathtaking work I have done to date.
1942…it was before my father was even born, but my grandfather was there making history of his own.
1942 was one of the first two stats the NHL sent along. That was the year that the unbelievable was made into a reality.
The second stat detailed the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2008 playoff run. The Penguins had a record quite similar to the LA Kings going into the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh lost the Cup that year to the Detroit Red Wings…despite their remarkable record all the way to the Cup.
Those two NHL history lessons were at the top of the NHL’s post-game report they sent to the media. That meant that despite the loss, there was still hope for the Devils.
Even with just an 18% chance of winning the Stanley Cup, you tell a cancer patient they have an 18% chance, they’ll take it. They’ll fight to come back and beat it.
There was a time when I had a 30% chance of beating cancer. The odds were against me. I changed my entire life…MY ENTIRE LIFE…and now I’m much better than I’ve been since my first bout with cancer in 2005.
I hit 30% in my rookie year covering the Devils.
There were times I’d walk into the locker room having a bad bout, and a player would look at me, and tell me to sit down…but I swear to you, I fought to stand up with the rest of the press just to get my quotes, even though I felt like vomiting and passing out. I fought for my right to be in that moment.
The Devils have an 18% chance right now. They’re not dead yet. They still have a chance to fight for their survival…to improve their chances in beating this and winning that coveted Stanley Cup again.
All it requires for anyone to fight back…HOPE.
Back in 1942, they needed a lineup change which included sitting out their best scorer. You can read about it HERE.
It’s interesting that was the solution, because most of the Devils’ writers are saying that Ilya Kovalchuk needs to be benched in this game. Unless he took up yoga in the last 24 hours, I’m going to have to agree with this.
It’s apparent to all of us that Kovalchuk is laboring out on the ice. It’s very apparent to me what’s ailing him, because I do the exact same thing when that part of my body ails me. It’s been so bad that I ended up in a doctor’s office. The only thing that helped the pain…YOGA and TAI CHI.
Stress can do a very dangerous and serious number to your body including culminating in a pool of pain in your lower back area. It can be so bad, you can barely move and need assistance moving around. Yoga and tai chi are the only two methods that can help alleviate that pain instantly.
So unless Kovalchuk picks up yoga, there’s no reason why he should spend another 20+ minutes on the ice doing…what? Keeping the rest of the team from their objective? They depend on him because he’s on the ice. Take him off the ice and they won’t be looking to depend upon him.
The point is, Kovalchuk’s pain is not just a hindrance to him, it is affecting the rest of the team when he can’t play the puck the way that he would without the pain. I’m not suggesting painkillers, because this kind of pain…no amount of painkillers will work…only yoga and tai chi will help.
Sitting the lead goal scorer in 1942 ended up working for the team. If this squadron doesn’t work, send in a new squadron. Give Tim Sestito a nod…or Adam Larsson. It worked in 1942. Who is to say it wouldn’t work now? After all, it is the 4th line that is producing the goals…and one of those guys is the rookie that just got his real chance right before the post-season began. His name is Stephen Gionta.
If the Devils were to keep a non-yoga practicing Kovalchuk out on the ice, they might as well hand the Cup to the LA Kings. Or tell Kovalchuk to do this video…and then see how he feels after that. If he fares better, then that’s good for the Devils. If he doesn’t fare well, sit him.
We all know how having him spend some time off from one game actually helped him score plenty of goals in the next game. This is a risk that has to be taken. They took that risk in 1942 and the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.
History does and can repeat itself. This could be one of those moments.
I will tell you though, seeing that 4-0 loss was no different than feeling the way I felt when my heart was shattered last time. Oh, it took me a good six years before I ever got over him…but then again, sometimes you’re never over him. That painful loss on Monday, it felt just as badly as I felt when my heart was broken…you know, the heartbreak that forced me to move to New York City instead of Los Angeles.
Back then, I didn’t have Rebecca Minkoff. Now, I do.
Minkoff is what happens when you have a broken heart after a 4-0 loss. [Now on sale for $137 until June 8th at 11:59PM EST. Retail: $250. Only at Rebecca Minkoff.]
Devils win the Cup, and I might just have my Yves Saint Laurent bag in tow (sooner rather than later). After all, Yves Saint Laurent is my impossible dream bag that I BELIEVE I’ll own one day…and that’s a dream I’ve been working on to make into a reality.
Even at 0-3 and an 18% chance of winning the Stanley Cup…I know what those odds are like…and I know what it’s like to defy them.