Stanley Cup Final Blues
It was my third year in the National Hockey League. This was the first year I had been the starter for the San Jose Sharks. I had finally battled my way to be number one, but I just wasn’t good enough for this series. It was the seventh game of the series. Every single guy on my team had been on their toes. They wanted this, ever since the days when they would skate on the pond and pretend they were Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr.
The buzzer had gone off and the game was over. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup Champions. My heart had sunk and I sat in my crease. The red gloves went flying into the air and the benches were cleared. I had gotten up as my teammates came to tell me that I played a good game.
“Come on Robsy, it was a good game,” Thornton said as he hit his stick against my pads.
“Robby, you played awesome.” Logan said as he through his arm around me and skated to the hand shake line with me. “Sorry that we couldn’t bury another,” he apologized.
I forcefully smiled as my eyes watered. “Logan, we win as a team and we lose as a team.”
The building was roaring. It didn’t seem to have an effect on me. I was still thinking about losing. If I could have made one more save. I got in line and went to shake hands with The Montreal Canadiens. They were true winners and worked hard for everything this season. I hated to admit it, but it was true. After shaking nearly the whole entire team’s hands I had come up to Carey Price.
He smiled at me before bringing me into a hug. “You kid are one fucking story. You played awesome out there. You’re going to be a real history maker,” he said as he shook my hand and nodded at me.
“Thanks,” I said meaningfully. “You were really good too, Price.”
I finished shaking the hands of the winners. As soon as the line was done I headed straight for the dressing room. I sat in my locker and rested my head against the wall. I hadn’t yet taken off a piece of equipment. I just needed to think about everything. Some more guys started to come piling into the room, but it was still silent. No one said a word to each other.
That night I hardly talked to any of the guys. In fact, everyone chose to just stay away from me. Out of everyone I think the team knew that this loss was the most difficult for me. My three year contract was up and who knew if I was going to be returning next season in a Sharks jersey. I love San Jose and I wanted to stay, but sometimes things didn’t always work out. Seeing that our team had a few other players’ contracts running up and that we had just made it to finals, some of our players would have some more worth.
I was just the back-up who had gotten the chance by accident when the starter, Antti Niemi had torn his groin in the beginning of the season. Ever since that first game when I had two shut outs, they kept playing me and it was just working out.
I was a twenty-four year old goaltender that was a female playing in the NHL. I just didn’t know what kind of options I had open in front of me in the off-season.
>> OFF SEASON
I was going to ink the deal. It was a three-year six-point five million dollar deal with the St. Louis Blues. I hadn’t chosen to stay in San Jose after all. We had plenty of talks and they offered a contract, that wouldn’t be cutting it. They wanted me long term and I was not willing to play for that long. I knew that it was some hard to news to break to some of the guys like Burnsy, Couture, Old Joe and a few of the other guys. I knew that Niemi would be a little bit relieved.
“Welcome to the Blues organization,” Doug Armstrong said as he shook my hand after I signed his contract.
“Thank you, sir.”
I got up out of my chair and took a few pictures to highlight another moment in my career. I couldn’t wait to start here in St. Louis I knew that there were going to be a few controversies in between the pipes. I would have yet again to prove that I could be their number one here.
Some feed back would be great. Alex Pietrangelo will be brought in the next one.