Friday, April 16, 2010

A Tribute to Toni Lydman

Seriously, what does Toni Lydman have to do to get interviewed around here?  I know, I know.  Thomas Vanek looked great, Derek Roy was skating hard and hitting people, Craig Rivet had a crap-ass season but scored the game-winning goal, and Ryan Miller was his usual steady self.  But Toni Lydman fought Milan Lucic!  (Kind of!)

That fight was somehow awesome, awful, and adorable at one time.  Toni's heart clearly wasn't in it - even when Lucic had him on the ground, Toni was still clutching his stick in one hand (yes, that's what she said) - but god bless him he kept coming back for more.  The swing, scurry away, swing, scurry away cycle was hilarious.  And then him mouthing off at someone - I couldn't tell for sure if he was yelling at the penalty box or the bench - complete with that gesture where you put your fingers under your chin and flick them out?  (Does that have a name?  I don't know.)  Classic.

Anyway, it seemed like the perfect night for a dry, self-deprecating interview from Toni Lydman.  He fought (kind of) one of the bigger, meaner guys in the league and lived to tell the tale!  I mean, how many freaking people are covering this series?  The Buffalo News alone had by my count, four writers there.  And on top of that awesome, awful, adorable fight, Toni played a really great game, I thought, easily our best defenseman.  But those defensemen, they never get any glory unless they score a goal.  And yes, I'm biased.  I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who finds Toni endearingly sweet and funny in interviews, especially ones that are really about him personally and not just the team.

That fight was the perfect embodiment of both an individual playing out of character and a team playing with a new edge.  I'll go into more detail tomorrow when I have some time, but for now I'll just say this: I was really, really excited and encouraged by that game.  I'd forgotten how every goal your team scores makes you feel like you're going to win the whole thing while every goal the opponent scores makes you want to kill yourself because it's all over, but overall, I thought we looked good.  Not perfect certainly but good.  Not a bad return to playoff hockey at all.

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