Thursday, August 2, 2007

This Game's Going to Ooooooovertiiiiiiiime!

It's late so I'm going to make this short and sweet. But first! My husband Marky Mark came out of hiding and commented on "O Captain, My Captain." And okay, I pretty much browbeat him into it ("You had a blog for four months and didn't tell me about it so I'll comment when I'm good and ready!") but everyone please say hi!

Why I Love Hockey #17 - Playoff Overtime Games
There really is nothing else in all of sports like overtime in the playoffs in the NHL. Nothing. I've mentioned before that I grew up in Alabama, not exactly a hockey-centric area. The Sabres' playoff run in 1999 was my first real dose of the NHL, and the excruciating, agonizing excitement of overtime really helped suck me into the sport. I'll never forget totally ignoring my babysitting duties during the first OT of Game Six, scooting to the edge of my seat every time the Sabres took the puck into the offensive zone and leaping up with every shot or sinking into the couch and covering my eyes every time Dallas had the puck in our zone. I'll never forget jumping in the car and breaking every speed limit between the Hamilton's house and mine in an effort to get home before the second OT started. I'll never forget the knot in the center of my stomach and the devastating suddeness of the loss. Things were going, going, going and boom! Just like that it was all over. Even though the Sabres lost, I really think it was partly the memory of the fun and agony of that night that led me back to hockey. Basketball's overtime scoring goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Baseball's extra innings are, with the exception of a walk-off homer, long and slow. Runners move progressively around the bases and the other team often has a chance to tie the game back up. You can see it coming. Same with football. Even though it's sudden death, play generally moves slowly down the field. Overtime hockey isn't like that. Guys fight and scrap, leaving everything they have on the ice, and with one shot, it's all over. Someone's a winner and someone's a loser. It's an amazing high when you're the winner and completely heart-breaking when you're the loser, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Lee Andrew said...

Baseball extra innings are boring?? Slow, yes, but boring? The fact that it's slow just makes it excruciatingly stressful, which makes it exciting. I'm sure there is a lot of strategy in hockey overtime but I find it hard to believe there is more strategy than in baseball's extra innings when you have to choose the right pinch hitter, the right pitcher, do you steal? Do you stretch your single into a double? Do you play in the field where Andy Van Slyke tells you to or where you want to?

NFL does have the worst overtime though. Sudden death is cool in hockey but in football it's lame. You win the coin toss, get a first down,kick a field goal, game over. That's crap. Congratulations, you proved you can win a coin toss.

Kate said...

Overtime is out of control exciting. Breathtaking. More stressful than I can really handle. Winning is overtime is thrilling. Losing in overtime is like being plunged into ice water.

I have mixed feelings about overtime, just like I have mixed feelings about roller coasters, and orchestra auditions, and first dates with cute guys.

Meg said...

Playoff overtime is awesome! Although I couldn't take it all the time. It's just to much for my nerves.

Heather, my family was at the drive-in the night of that game in 1999, and I remember us driving home, listening to the game--probably in the middle of the 2nd overtime, so quite late at night--and the lights being on in all the houses because everyone was still up watching the game. It was almost surreal to think that, at that moment, so many people were doing the same thing, and thinking the same thing.

brian s. said...

Playoff overtime hockey is the absolute best moment of sports. It's awesome when it's your team, but even better if you are just watching it for the enjoyment. This way you don't have those "I want to stab myself in the eye" thoughts if your team loses. While I've watched a bunch of OT hockey, the best goals are the Steve Yzerman Game 7 2OT goal against St. Louis in the mid-90s and Dave Hannan vs. the Devils 4OT. As for the Stars/Sabres Game 6, I was at Pilot Field watching on the scoreboard with my dad and uncle. On the way out people were so upset that they were flipping garbage cans and bemoaning the fact that Buffalo will never win a championship. It definately showed the low parts of OT hockey.

Anonymous said...

lee andrew,

Let's be honest here - I'm a baseball fan first, and hockey second. (Football? Yeah, let's talk action, not commercials breaks.)

That said, there is simply NO comparison between extra innings and overtime.

(1) The road team scores 2 in the 11th! Oh wait, the home team still gets to bat.

(2) The closest "sudden death" is when the home team wins on a walkoff HR. Happens like, maybe, 5% of the time. Maybe. And even then it ain't like the road team couldn't bring in a new reliever or pitch the batter to a 3-1 count.

No. In hockey overtimes there are always TWO offenses on the ice at the same time. There is always TWO goalies on the ice too. And usually there is a single shot (plus a deflection) to win it.

Extra innings are not boring in the least. But there is just as much strategy in hockey... just of a different sort.


markb said...

I remember commenting to Heather during this year's playoffa that "Overtime sucks".

Now understand this was in the heat in the moment when the Rangers were buzzing around in our zone before Max scored the game winner in game 5. But overtime really does suck when the other team has the puck, but dear God does it rock when the Sabres put the game away, especially in the playoffs.

But it is so hard to watch!

And even though I am a football fan too, I have to agree with Lee about football OT. They have to change the coin toss system somehow.

Heather B. said...

Lee, I guess I see what you're saying. Baseball does have a slow tension that's completely different than hockey but exciting in its own way. But it can be pretty boring too. You can have inning after inning where absolutely nothing happens. In hockey you may have OT periods where no one scores but you rarely have an OT period where someone doesn't come awfully close. It's action, action, action.

Plus there's just something awesomely exciting about the sudden finality. One second you're tied in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The next second, your season is over.

But I think we can all agree that yes, you play in the field where Andy Van Slyke tells you to play! Geez, Barry!

I love everyone's memories of where they were in 1999 even though it stunk. We weren't in Buffalo at the time and I'm sure it was not a happy place to be.

Gambler said...

I don't want to inadvertently write my whole post about overtime in this comment thread, but I will say one of my favorite comments about OT was said by (wait for the shock of your lives) Brett Hull: "The game belongs to the team that makes the right play at the right time." That says it all for me. Anything can happen. (Like, you know, the refs turning a blind eye at the most crucial of moments.) (Also, Hull made up for this moment of brilliance by saying during the next game "Detroit should win this in overtime because they've had the momentum, blah blah blah no one's listening." Basically completely negating what he said the game before. So I can still hate him.)

KMS2 said...

I LOVE playoff OT. I love how the only period of the Vancouver/Dallas Game 1 that I watched was the last OT period when I checked the score before I went to bed and saw that the game was still on. At that point, of course I had to watch!!

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