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Getting through a Game 7

Tuesday, 04.27.2010 / 10:20 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

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Getting through a Game 7
It's not just the players who have to deal with the gauntlet of feelings surrounding a Game 7.
Why us? If you are a fan of Phoenix, Detroit, Washington or Montreal, you may be asking that question right about now. On the other hand, you may have thought your team did not have a chance to win their series and you're happy to see a Game 7, where anything can happen.

It's guaranteed that a fluke goal, a questionable penalty call, a bad line change, a funny bounce or an "off" night from a key player will come into play in a Game 7, plus every second of the game will be magnified by 10.

If you are a Coyotes or Red Wings fan, you have been dealing with Game 7 nerves since Sunday afternoon, and I am sure both positive and negative thoughts have raced through your mind. If you are a Capitals or Canadiens fan, those thoughts are hitting you right about now.

 
You are or soon will be finding it difficult to think straight. You continue to look at your watch; time moves so slowly when waiting for a Game 7. You find it difficult to sleep, but if you do nod off for a few hours, you will be awakened by a great or bad goal playing in your head. You will look around, realize you are dreaming but know it will soon be real.

You try to figure out how to watch the game. Solo, with no one around? Or do you want to be with friends and family who can provide moral support but also can become quite disgusted with the game being played. It is a tough decision and one of many you will make before Game 7 actually starts.

Personally, I tend to be on the "leave me alone" side, although I think I just responded to a tweet, inviting a few Detroit fans over to watch the game tonight. Even while I write this, my mind is elsewhere and I am having issues comprehending what I am writing.

What to wear, what to eat, deciding if you are going to turn the TV sound down and listen to your home team's radio broadcast -- all these things to consider, and making the wrong decision may bring disastrous results. 

You may be at work or in school right now, but no way are you really at work or at school. Physically your body is there; mentally, you may be thinking how the first 10 minutes of the game will play out. You may be wondering if your team ever will score a key goal or make that one stop that will decide the game. Whatever it is you are doing, chances are they are not work- or school-related, but I understand. How can you think of anything else but Game 7?

My palms are sweaty, and for some reason Dan Cleary keeps popping into my head.  I am not saying it is a good thing, just that I find it kind of strange that I am having Dan Cleary sightings in my mind at 7:30 a.m. I expect in another 15 minutes or so, Matthew Lombardi will be making a visit in my head, too.

Game 7 -- win and you get a chance to do it again, and again and possibly again. Is it worth it? Can you handle it physically and mentally? Sure you can, and there is no better feeling after your team wins the game you have been stressing about for around 48 hours. Lose -- well, let's not even go there.

What I hope for all the fans waiting to watch Game 7 is a victory. But I know half of you will be disappointed. You won't want to hear "there's always next year," at least for a month. Some of you may swear off hockey, but that will not last, because there really is a next year.

Enjoy the two Game 7s which are upon us. It is only the start of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, yet it feels like we have been doing this for a lifetime, and for some of us, that is so true.

Questions, comments, rants or raves, e-mail me at pk@kuklaskorner.com or follow me on Twitter.


Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

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