Sports can break your heart

NHL standings:

A few days ago, I mentioned that the Montreal Canadiens — my favourite NHL team! — were holding onto eighth place — the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They had only two games left to play.

Sports sure can break your heart.

I’ve been cheering for the Canadiens since 1971, when Ken Dryden was a rookie goaltender. (Cool trivia fact: the first year Dryden won the Stanley Cup, and the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP, he wasn’t even officially a rookie yet. Top that, Martin Brodeur!)

My beloved Canadiens have fallen on hard times since their last Stanley Cup victory in 1993. Year after year they have struggled even to make the playoffs.

This year, they only needed two points in their last two games to clinch a playoff spot. But they lost to the New York Rangers and then to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Leaf fans were happy-happy, thinking they were going to make the playoffs. But I knew it wouldn’t work out like that: the next day, the New York Islanders won to snag the final playoff spot and oust the Leafs.

Thanks for nothing, Toronto. You managed to play spoiler against the Canadiens but didn’t make the playoffs yourselves. Am I bitter? You bet!

Fantasy hockey standings:

Of course, sports can break the other guy’s heart, too.

I was also following another race: a fantasy hockey pool I was participating in. My team, the Blackberries, was in fourth spot, just five points out of third.

The next night I dropped back. The Blackberries were now about eighteen points out of third place. Frankly, I thought that my chances were finished. But I gained nearly twenty points on the Senatorial Dudes in one night, putting me less than one point ahead.

On the last night of the season, I managed to hold the Dudes off. The amusing thing is, I owe my finish to Derek Morris, a Phoenix defenceman. Morris earned only 143 fantasy points over an 82 game season (i.e., 1¾ points per game). But Morris got 11 of those points on the last game of the season: powerplay goal, powerplay assist, game-winning goal, two penalty minutes (yes, we get points for those, thanks to Knotwurth Mentioning’s system) and a “plus one” performance on the night). Morris’s productivity nailed down a third place finish for me.

Tough luck, Senatorial Dudes! Better get out your golf shoes!

And tough luck to Knotwurth Mentioning, too … but I won’t point out which humiliating position he finished in.

Those of you who think my hockey posts are the best thing about Outside the [Penalty?] Box will want to check out Ode to Low-Life Drunks. Don’t let the whimsical name fool you:  it’s a hockey blog administered by Knotworth Mentioning and a friend of his. The friend finishes at the top of every hockey pool he participates in, but he’s OK despite that.

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