A Rorschach Test
Dale Arden: “Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the earth.”
By Rich Lindbloom
The Rorschach Test, developed by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, involved the complex analysis of ten ink spot images that patients were to look at and record what they saw.
I took one psychology class in college. I remember recognizing in myself many of the personality traits and not being too happy with the results. I quickly suppressed all the phobias, before I became a neurotic mess. If there are any psychologists out there, please let me know what you think of my answers to the 10 cards; 1. Satan, perhaps Corey Perry, 2. a mountain goat or clown, 3. The Joker, 4. a guy riding a motorcycle, 5. The stealth bomber, 6. an aircraft carrier, 7. an upside down girl, 8. Donald Duck with sun glasses, 9. Ostriches, 10. a uterus.
And you better not come up with “You’re a war mongering pervert, afraid of Satan, a misogynist coulrophobist who has an irrational fear of the Joker racing towards him on a motorcycle. The ostrich part actually is probably the easiest assessment – burying my head in the sand to avoid problems. The duck in card 8 is probably heavily influenced because of the series against Anaheim – at a different time I might have answered two lizards stepping on an ice cube, about to be melted by a volcano.
At any rate, the Rorschach Test came to mind the other night while looking at Anaheim’s logo on their sweater. Tonight, take a look at The Ducks sweater; what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you said Flash Gordon’s space ship, designed by Dr. Zarkov, you are probably as deranged as me – seek help.
Obviously, many of the Hawk faithful are wondering if Coach Q needs to undergo a psychological evaluation after listing Vermette and Teravainen as healthy scratches in Game Three. The F-bomb was a common adjective used to describe Q’s curious decision in replacing 80 and 86 with fresh legs, i.e. Versteeg and Nordstrom. I guess we can take solace in the fact that he hasn’t rolled out his secret weapon “yet,” Danny Carcillo, although with only “14 hours to save the earth,” I wouldn’t take it off the table as an option. more on Coach Q’s befuddling Game Three line-up later, but first to thoughts of happier times.
First off, if you stayed up until the finish of Game Two at approximately 1:15 on Tuesday, you may want to consider a psychological evaluation yourself; especially if you had to work the next day. I told my son after the first OT, that I was only going to watch a little of the second OT. After watching all of the fifth period, I swore to only watch 5 minutes of the sixth period. Even Mike Milbury apparently had to take a nap between the second and third OT when a goalie analyst took his place in the between period analysis. I actually didn’t catch up on much needed sleep until Friday evening. Sheepishly, I must admit, I was sort of glad Game Three did not go into OT. As it was, due to a traffic jam on the Damn Ryan, my head didn’t hit the pillow until almost midnight on Thursday.
Of course, I did stay up and high five Greg and Zach when the indefatigable Marcus Kruger sent a 110 mph clap bomb past an exhausted Frederik Andersen. (or something like that) A friend told me he fell asleep during the second period and briefly woke up during the fifth intermission. He thought the game was over and they were showing replays. It was at this point that he gave up the ghost. In his defense, he was working in Ohio and it was approaching 2pm in that time zone. Although a real Hawk fan might have called room service to bring up a fresh pot of coffee at this juncture – LOL!
In addition to tallying the game winner, Kruger’s line did a great job stifling the Ducks potent line of Getzlaf, Perry and Maroon. I recall the announcer twice stating that Bruce Boudreau got the desired match up he wanted when our fourth line was out on the ice against Ming the Merciless’s line. Apparently he hadn’t watched Game One where Coach Q was fine pitting Shaw/Kruger /Desjardins against the Quacks finest. (Although clearly, Cogliano Thompson and Palmieri has been the Ducks most effective line in this series.) Shaw, as is so often the case, was in the thick of things once again.
After Clayton Stoner tried to end Marcus Kruger’s career with a vicious cross check into the boards, he tried to separate Shaw’s head from his body when Andrew skated up to him to discuss his miscreant ways. My son actually had to tell me to calm down when Stoner was only assessed two minutes for his tomfoolery. Greg described my face as being ugly and angry. I was somewhat surprised to hear Milbury during the intermission lambaste the ref’s no call on Stoner’s hit on Shaw. Basically Milbo said, “If you’re afraid to make the second call on Stoner for trying to decapitate Shaw, you should not be reffing a Stanley Cup playoff game.” Lord, if only our politicians were as forthcoming. Again, once in a blue moon, there are times when I like Milbury’s analysis. I’m sure the NHL would not consider that politically correct.
Kruger’s line played close to the same minutes as our top two lines, just under 29 minutes. Our fourth line, averaged just under 22 minutes – during which time they had 12 shots on goal. Tazer’s line had 14 SOG, Richards’ line had 12 SOG and Kruger’s line fired 12 also. Of course, this total doesn’t include missed or blocked shots. Clearly, the Hawks were rolling four effective and lethal lines in Game’s One and Two. It was a bit of a surprise when I checked the box score and saw Shaw led the team with 7 shots on goal, followed by Hossa and Kane who had six each. The question I have is, did Shaw’s header count as a shot?!
Although watching Shaw check Getzlaf into the Hawk bench made me smile, while simultaneously questioning Chicken hawks sanity, (he gives up 40#’s and 5″), it was the controversial header that clearly defines Andrew’s playing style – “I’ll do anything to win.” (Wouldn’t you love to know how a psychologist would view Shaw’s description of the 10 ink spots in the Rorschach test? I’m afraid he might say, “Lock him up and throw away the keys!”) I know there were a couple of fans who knew the rule in that situation, but I think it’s safe to say about 90% of us didn’t know if Shaw’s header was a good goal or not. The announcer’s acted like they did when the rule was posted, but clearly none of them were sure of the ruling. We all know that you can’t kick or bat the puck in with an arm leg or hand. However I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that all that pregame soccer practice in the hallways by the locker room finally paid off. It was clear that Shaw didn’t know the rule as he kept pointing to his forehead while celebrating!
Unfortunately, the rule is not ambiguous, clearly stating the puck “cannot be consciously directed with any part of the body.” Still though, heading something as small as a hockey puck, while simultaneously getting crosschecked in front of the net when he leaped above the pack, was no small feat. And I want to know why the Ducks’ defenseman did not even receive a yellow card? And it should be noted, that although we’ve all admired Shaw’s pugnacity over the years, he hasn’t always been known as the sharpest knife in the drawer. Isn’t it a positive thing that Chicken Hawk is finally starting to use his head!
I have to say, both goalies were phenomenal in this game. I’ve never played goalie, but it would seem the toll of a 116 minutes and twenty two seconds would be most trying for them. That equipment had to be getting pretty soggy. Then again, all the goalie really has to do is stand there, right? (JK, Ears) There were too may ineffable saves to describe, but Cor-dawgs save on a wide open Perry, who had a ton of time of time to find a hole, may have been the best save I’ve ever seen him make. Of course as Corey’s detractors might point out a great goalie would have actually gloved the shot instead of merely deflecting it. Suck a hatchie, you evil Crawford haters!
The game went on, with player’s legs on both teams seemingly giving out at times during the 6th period. At this point Kimmo Timonen was as fast as anyone on the ice and Cumiskey was the fastest skater on the ice! There were several players who just plain out fell, despite no one being near them. Oddly, although somewhat fittingly, it appeared the game winner glanced off the arm of Kruger, who did not direct the puck. As I hit the hay about 1:30 on Tuesday, it was obvious the Hawks had a ton of momentum going for them heading back to The Windy City. It seemed like nothing could stop the Hawk juggernaut at this point, however…
I got in my seat in time to watch the pregame warm up on Thursday. I was pretty pumped until a fan next to me showed me a note on his phone that Vermette and Teuvo were healthy scratches for Game Three. I was immediately overcome with anaphylactic shock. I regained enough composure to check out thecommitedindian and secondcityhockey web sites to see if they mentioned anything about the changes. Neither did, so I told the fan I thought wherever he got the information, it was nothing more than a sick joke. When it turned out to be real, trust me, no one was laughing.
Chemistry is such an important thing in hockey. It had appeared that Coach Q was finally settling into the formula that many of us had been clamoring for all season. All four lines were percolating, like a fine cup of Folgers mountain grown coffee. (Although I still wouldn’t mind seeing Vermette and Richards swapped.) Shaw was perfectly placed as a wing on our “Mutt Line.” Vermette was centering a very effective trio that included Sharp and Teravainen. As Paul Simon sang in the 59th Street bridge Song, “Life I love you, all is groovy.”
Now trust me, I know Coach Q has forgotten more about hockey than I’ll ever know, but it certainly appears he has it out for Antoine Vermette. #80 has been playing at 110% at all times while on the ice, currently winning about 60% of his draws and sporting a +4 in the plus/minus category. There was one play in particular in Game Two that epitomized his solid effort in the playoffs. He was chasing down a puck with one of the Duck d-men who had about 10 feet on him as they headed to the corner. He passed the Duck d-dawg at full speed, risking body and limb to make a play on the puck – Marcus Kruger type hockey. It seems most of the time a forechecker will let the defenseman get to the puck first so the grinder can put a lethal hit on him, a “To hit, or be hit,” type moment. Vermette chose to throw caution to the wind, getting to the puck first and making a nice play. Although it didn’t end up with a goal, it’s dangerous on the edge plays like this that often do.
With Vermette steaming in the press box, our third line became Sharp, Shaw and Versteeg. You have to be wondering what Sharp was thinking about this line change. Personally, it felt like I was being gagged with a wooden spoon. There was no Pop, Snapple and Crack. Our once highly effective fourth line, became somewhat invisible, even when Kaner was double shifted in place of Nordstrom. To complicate matters, it appears Kruger was playing with some sort of injury. Coach Q’s answered a post-game question on the reasons for the changes with a curt, “We wanted to get some fresh legs in there.” I believe at 20 years of age, Teuvo most likely had the freshest pair of legs, while Vermette sharply replied, “my legs were fine,” in answer to a reporter’s question. Again, our third line averaged about 6 minutes less of ice time that the other three lines in Game Two. Sharp logged about four more minutes due to power play time.
In actuality, Game Three was still a well-played contest, despite Coach Q seemingly defusing our chances a great deal in my opinion. It was like the air was let out of a balloon when you realized what the Game Three lines were. I was texting friends at home to see if the television announcers had any rational explanation for Vermette and Teuvo sitting. The only logical explanation was that they were injured. While the announcers apparently didn’t say anything, the post-game press led off with the question about the lineup change. Somewhere, Kevin Hayes is smiling at his decision no doubt.
Coach Q’s decision reminds me of a very sad story about a loud TV, a messed up order from Wendy’s, two kids fighting with each other and a poor unfortunate kitten named Chocolate.
Over the years, our family had fostered quite a few dogs and kittens for the Humane Society. At his point we had two little playful kittens, one who we named Chocolate because of his brown fur. I had gone to Wendy’s to pick up some food, only to discover they had totally messed up my order when I got home. My wife was so upset she called Wendy’s customer service on the phone to give them a piece of her mind. It seemed the TV was blaring and Greg and Taylor were arguing about something at the same time. As I went to my chair, I noticed Chocolate ran right under where my foot was coming down. I made a desperate, off balance lunge to avoid him, but he ran right under by shoe when it came down.
When I picked the kitten up, it was obvious it was seriously hurt. Until this day, except when her boyfriend Zach is mean to her, I’ve never seen Taylor cry so bad. Nathalie called a friend who told her to wring the cat’s neck, there was no doubt it had severe brain damage. Chocolate was still breathing though, so we rushed him to a 24 hour veterinary hospital in Crestwood. The veterinary there said it didn’t look good, but they would keep him there overnight until we could take him to our normal veterinary the next morning. Regrettably, poor Chocolate never recovered.
Nathalie was talking to a friend from church the next day, attempting to tell her what happened. She stated, “Rich stepped on Chocolate last night and he’s in the hospital.” Lori immediately wanted to put my name on the church prayer list, thinking I had slipped on chocolate and had a nasty fall. It took Nathalie a few minutes to sort out the confusion. Although Lori was somewhat relieved to hear I was ok, I’m not so sure Taylor and Nathalie would not have desired the other option!
Hopefully Coach Q will sort out the confusion before Game Four tonight. Please Coach Q, don’t attempt to fix what ain’t broke. While I’d never even consider it, your line-up changes made me want to punch a kitten on Thursday night.
And please, take this advice for what it’s worth Q-dawg,
Flash Vermette: “Coach Q! I’m not your enemy, Getzlaf is. And you know it yourself. Getzlaf is the enemy of every creature on Mongo. Let’s all team up and fight him.”
“You must play Vermette and Teuvo!”