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We have all been there

by Paul Kukla
Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Final Gear3,2,1 Goal!!!  How many times was I Gordie Howe in a deciding seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final?  Too many to remember, but the dents on the garage door prove that I once had a mighty wrister.
Scramble around the net?  More like rug burns on my knees as I went diving for a rolled-up sock, making a last-minute save off the stick of Bobby Hull.
You’ve been there too. Maybe in the basement, an inline hockey rink or just in your dreams. But you've been there -- and now the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are too.
What must they be thinking?
Everyone wants to be the hero -- but nobody wants to be the goat. Take a chance early in the game? Maybe or maybe not. Make that dangerous cross-ice pass that if successful, gives your team a scoring chance -- but if intercepted, could give the opposition a breakaway. Split-second decisions will be under the microscope along with every move a player and coach makes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
We, on the other hand, can only watch and respond. Bad pass, oh no, off the post.  Great save but the rebound goes in. Fifty percent of the fans will say 'bad call,' the other 50 percent will respond with 'good call.' 
Wide open net- No, he missed the net, I could have scored that goal! Deflection, off a knee, then a hand and the puck is in the back of the net. It can happen, and all we can do is watch.
Players play, coaches coach and fans watch. Nothing else matters but the game on the ice.
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. We all have dreamed of being there, and now we are.  Can we handle it? The pressure, the days go by slowly, the nights are too long. Will Friday ever come?
I have read enough breakdowns, I need to read more. I need to relax, I just want to think hockey, just like the teams involved are. I need rest but can’t get any, I need an outlet --  but my outlet is hockey. Deep breaths, short breaths, as long I am breathing I am fine.
I woke up this morning not knowing where to turn. Listen, read and watch all the hockey I can get? For the first 15 minutes no, but I am back in the groove, thinking Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final -- and I bet you are too!
I will be back before Game 7. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me at I talk hockey 24/7, except for the 15 minutes this morning.


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