Our Beautiful, But Merciless Game

Photo: Cody McLachlan / Special Contributor

By Logan Orsini The score clock at Rogers Place in Edmonton ticks down. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… “And the Tampa Bay Lightning have won the Stanley Cup,” says Mike Emerick. Sticks, gloves, and helmets fly everywhere. Lightning players swarm Andrei Vasilevskiy. All you can hear is the pure screams of happiness. What a moment for all of those guys, all their hard work paid off to reach hockey’s most coveted position. There is no other celebration like it. The passion, the commitment, it truly shows how different, unique, and beautiful our game is. But on the other side of the ice at Rogers Place, is a better example of just how beautiful, but merciless the game is. The Dallas Stars came up just two games short of winning the Stanley Cup. Six periods. Devastation, shock, and heartbreak. They patiently wait in utter disbelief for the Lightning to finish their celebration, shake their hands, and go home with that 34.5-pound hardware. The Stars played 31 games in the NHL bubble and spent almost 60 days there. The same as the Lightning. They sacrificed their bodies the same, and the time away from their families the same. The passion was there, the commitment was there, the sacrifice was there, all the same. Only to come up two games short.

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The toll it took, not only physically on their bodies, but on their minds as well. To sacrifice two months away from their families and loved ones, during an already stressful time in our world, and to come so close to having it all payoff. They hung on to the hope that eventually all of their sacrifices would eventually pay off, all to the bitter end. It is hard to put into words what the Stars players were feeling. There is no better way to show that than this absolutely devastating Jamie Benn interview after the game.
Silence is sometimes just as strong as words. It is just another way to see how beautiful our game truly is. Another way to see those same things exemplified by the winning team, sacrifice, commitment, passion, but in a solemnly consequential way. It is what separates it from every other sport in the world. It is seeing beauty through pain. Life has no remorse. People might say that these players have no right to be this way and react this way, I mean they’re millionaires playing a professional sport for a living, right? Then they’ll say that dreaded line… “It’s just a game.” Liev Schreiber responds to this perfectly in his monologue at the end of the NHL’s Road to the Winter Classic Documentary. “Never get caught telling a hockey player it’s just a game. Never get caught trying to explain to him all the things in the world that matter so much more. His mind might well acknowledge the truth to your point, but his soul will be powerless to accept it. Considering the immensity he gives to the sport, and the immeasurability of all it offers in return. Nothing ever feels as perfect as a moment of flawlessness on ice. No bond is as strong as one that compels brothers to bleed for one another. Not many leaders are this versed in the craft of motivation. Not many pursuits can evoke such visions of brilliance. This is why it hurts so much when skill falls short of what the will desires. This is why it’s so unforgettable when absolute passion yields ultimate reward. And that’s all still just the start of what the game can do to you.” Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning for winning the Stanley Cup, and hats off to all the people who made these playoffs possible. Want to start your sports media career? Then Join The Puck Network!

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November 7th, 2020


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