That was a H-E-double hockey sticks of a season. We guess that by now most of the celebrations have tapered off and most of the bets have been paid off. It’s just the regulars staggering down Carson Street again and the catfish are back in the pond. There is, however, one “I told you so” we’d like to get off our chest. It was a prediction from our Halloween column of 2016, in the form of a spell or incantation we proposed for the witching hour, to-wit:
IC Light and Old Milwaukee,
Lace of skate and puck of hockey,
Sidney Crosby, Eric Fehr,
That cup ain’t goin’ anywhere
It turned out Eric Fehr was going somewhere, namely Toronto, but at least he was here long enough to complete the rhyme.
And we don’t mean to suggest that the dark arts had anything to do with the Pens’ victory. Our lads are regular choirboys, even the ones from Russia who not only have never influenced any elections but were too busy last Fall perfecting their slamming-the-other-guy’s-head-into-the-ice technique to get involved in any electioneering. No, it was simply a spur of the moment prediction by your humble correspondent from about eight months ago that turned out to be right on the money.
This got us to thinking about sports in general. Like football, hockey is often described as a contact sport, a phrase Vince Lombardi wouldn’t countenance. He said that dancing was a contact sport; football is a collision sport. Although the personnel in hockey do not normally approach the size of their football counterparts, the collisions in hockey actually take place at a higher speed – you can skate faster than you can run – and hockey players’ physiognomies reflect a lot more abuse, particularly in the area of dentition, than those of any other major sport. Did you notice the absence of goggles in the Penguins postgame locker room? When you’ve been dodging pucks all day, you’re not going to be afraid of a stray champagne cork, eh?
Heroes used to be tough guys. James Bond would dispatch the baddies with a squeeze of the trigger and a sneer. Rocky would take all the haymakers you could launch at him, pull himself up off the canvas and come back for more. Humphrey Bogart wasn’t an imposing physical specimen, but he was a guy who could mix it up with the heavies and somehow come out on top. Now our tough guy is Wonder Woman. Are the days of the strong silent type gone? Will male heroes now have to be thoughtful, vulnerable and sensitive?
As if on cue, here comes James Comey, a 6’8” G-man. Elliot Ness on steroids, right? Who’s going to be more aggressive, more imposing, more manly, than this towering lawman?
Remember Broderick Crawford in “Highway Patrol”? He had those ‘50’s Buick squad cars with the ported hoods? He’s barking orders into the police radio microphone, jowls flapping. You mess with him he’s going to slap your sorry mug up and down the tarmac. Comey could stare him down.
What’s going to happen to you if you offer Matt Dillon (not the brat-pack idiot, the U.S. Marshall played by James Arness) any guff? After he’s done mopping the floor of the Long Branch with you, he’s going to toss your hide in the hoosegow. Comey could run him out of Dodge.
Remember what Little Bill (Gene Hackman) did to English Bob (Richard Harris) in “Unforgiven”? Is that how you administer the law, buddy? Sheriff Comey would set him straight.
So when the president called him aside and mentioned how he hoped he could go easy on his buddy, Flynn, lawman Comey fixed him with a steely gaze and said . . . nothing. Here’s how it went:
Senator Feinstein: “You’re big, you’re strong, . . . why didn’t you stop and say, ‘Mr. President, this is wrong – I cannot discuss that with you’?”
Comey: “Maybe if I were stronger, I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in.”
Where’s Wonder Woman when you need her?
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