Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

The Scene: The New England Hockey Journal Radio Show has wrapped up another fine production. I neglected my “Jimmy from Maynard” role and am in the balcony of New York’s Shubert Theater. (If this were a Bruins game at the Garden, we’d be in Section 320), about to watch a matinee production of Spamalot.

The Cast (according the official program, with which I’ve taken certain liberties):

King Arthur: Steve Cook
Sir Galahad: Steve Nicolle
The Black Knight: Aaron Sherman
The Killer Rabbit of Antioch: Dave Losier
The Knights Who Say Ni: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Toronto Maple Leafs
The French Taunter (and the guards): Guillaume Latendresse (and the Montreal Canadiens)
Brother Maynard: Jimmy Dwyer


Act I: the Black Death grips the land—Eng-land. Dead peasants are sold and carted off to unmentionable locations. But one bold villager emerges from a coma to claim, “I’m not dead yet.”

This, of course, reminds me of my AMHL Capitals and Thursday morning’s battle against the forces of evil: the Bruins. We staged an unlikely victory because our high profile players gave rousing performances and one bit-part understudy stepped into the spotlight known as the AMHL.com Thursday Ticker: “In Rink 1, the Capitals shocked the world (and their opponents) by pulling off a stunning 7–3 victory over the previously-unbeaten Bruins. Steve Cook (4g, 2a), Steve Nicolle (2g, 2a) and Jimmy Dwyer (one big goal) led the way for the Caps…”

The victory against Dave “Mr. Hockey” Losier and his first place Bruins has renewed our faith in ourselves; we may yet hold high the Koffey Cup. Then again, all AMHL teams are guaranteed a playoff spot.

Not so for the Boston Bruins—six points out of the playoffs—who must continue their hot streak if they hope to leapfrog the logjam of teams between them and the final post-season position. Only eight contenders who, come April, will begin a quest for the Stanley Cup.

But back to Broadway…The Lady of the Lake rises from the mist, holding above her head the sacred chalice—that which King Arthur must secure—and then encourages, with a splendid rendition of “Find Your Grail,” our hero to begin his journey.

But Act I closes with the French Taunter and his guards squelching King Arthur’s attempt to enter their castle. Arthur and his men flee into the forest.

Act II: Arthur is despondent. But his sidekick and coconut-clopping “steed” Patsy sings to him, “Some things in life are bad…They can really make you mad…Other things just make you swear and curse…When you’re chewing on life’s gristle…Don’t grumble, give a whistle…And this’ll help things turn out for the best…”

The king rallies his troops to confront those who block the path to the Holy Grail: the Knights Who Say Ni and the Killer Rabbit of Antioch. Will the Knights of the Round Table hoist the Cup?

Have the AMHL Capitals conquered their demons? Will the NHL Bruins survive the regular season? Might these two teams stand on their respective stages, raise their eyes toward the heavens, and fix their gazes upon their respective Holy Grails?

Yes! As long as they “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
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