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by Dave Strader / Arizona Coyotes
The Stanley Cup Playoffs and opera are two worlds that seem so far apart. But for me, the two were separated only by the four-hour drive I made on Friday morning, the day after covering Game 5 of the Penguins-Flyers series on Versus. After Philadelphia’s victory and a Detroit sweep over Columbus, our crew found out late Thursday night that the soonest we could work another game would be on Monday night. That left me the opening I was hoping for.

I left the hotel in Pittsburgh the next day and drove to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. That’s where my son Trevor (he sang The National Anthem at Arena in December 2007) is studying classical voice performance. Friday was the day of his junior year juries. This is where each student stands before the faculty (as well as some family and friends) and performs a half-dozen classical pieces in French, Italian, German or English. The student is evaluated on a variety of criteria. The results of these juries can determine whether a student is invited to continue studying at Eastman. It’s nerve-racking for the performers.

As I was sitting there, watching and listening to Trevor absolutely nail his performance, it occurred to me that maybe opera performance and playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs do have some things in common. There’s the expectation…the anticipation…the drama…the need to perform to the best of one’s ability…and the tremendous exhilaration that comes from getting the job done. I know it’s a stretch, but I can tell you that watching your child perform on a stage is no different than watching your child perform on the ice. It’s exciting beyond description. Trevor closed with a song from “Diamonds” called It’s What You’d Call A Dream. Google it and read the words…you’ll know why I couldn’t hold back the tears.

I think it’s safe to say that Flyers goalie Martin Biron also “nailed it” when it came to his performance in Game 5 at Pittsburgh. Not only facing elimination, but playing like he did on the heels of his counterpart, Marc-Andre Fleury, putting on a virtuoso performance in Game 4 in Philadelphia. That’s part of what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs, like opera, so much fun to watch. You never know from game to game or performance to performance who is going to steal the show. On Thursday in Pittsburgh it was Biron. On Friday in Rochester it was Trevor Strader. For me, being able to be a part of both…it’s what I’d call a dream.

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