Dustin Byfuglien broke out last night. In a big way. That fits. He’s a big guy. He grabbed two goals and two assists on the Blackhawks route to a 7-4 win over the Flyers in Game Five. Game Six is in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Game Seven (if there is a need for Game Seven) would be back in Chicago on Friday night. Chicago has two chances to win one game. One goal.
That description came eerily close to the summary I had written in my head for Game Five when I was thinking about it the day before. You know, the game where I faced off against a bar full of Flyers fans elsewhere in downtown LA? On Saturday morning after that more miserable turnout with Game Four, I put my campaign into action. I was going to watch the Blackhawks win Game Five. I was not to be denied by the seemingly insurmountable sea of Great Unwashed LA Lakers fans, or Philadelphia, or anything else for that matter. They may have been conspiring against me, threatening to thwart my desire to watch Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals. They would lose.
And they did lose. They lost well.
Like the Flyers, the Lakers and their fans were defeated. Now I can’t take credit for Ray Allen’s record-breaking eight threes that helped propel the Celtics past the Lakers 103-94 in Game Two. But what I can take credit for is orchestrating unbridled control of the best television in the hotel bar and refusing to relinquish it until after the final whistle. NBC broadcast Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals at 5:00 Pacific. ABC broadcast Game 2 of the NBA Finals at 5:00 Pacific. I got to the bar at 4:00 Pacific. This after a two-day effort with the Front Desk to ensure that they would show the hockey game at all. I befriended the bartender. I bonded with him about Chicago. I impressed him when I spontaneously changed into my Brent Seabrook sweater and camped out in front of the “good TV”. And I tipped him. I tipped him well. — For my efforts he gave me the bar’s only remote control for the night. I never gave it up. It was mine. That TV was mine. After the first period I got an assist from the bartender when patrons asked him despondently, “When do you think he’ll be done watching that hockey game?” — “When it’s over. When are you gonna be done watching that basketball game?”
I cheered my team in full confidence of what I’d done while the basketball fans groused and grumbled and had to settle for seconds. Or go elsewhere. I played like Byfuglien. I got to the front of the net, I got in my opponents face and when the opportunity came to score: I did.
It was heaven. — Just one more.