ME: I still love you, Jimmy.
Jimmy: What happened? I’m indisposed at the moment.
ME: Lightning just scored.
Jimmy: Oh, crap.
ME: It may not matter. The Lightning have been losing leads lately like some people lose their car keys.
Jimmy: Oh, well.
ME: Callahan. My new hero.
Jimmy: He’s rad.
ME: Callahan is really good. I totally appreciate the dynamic he brings to the team. He brings something we didn’t have before, that’s for sure.
Jimmy: Yes, sir!!!!!
More false exclamation points. Feigning interest and civility. Clear escalation.
Jimmy: We aren’t mad.
ME: Not yet.
Yet knowing at the same time: we were. We really were.
Jimmy: I hope he turns into the next John Tavares like he’s hyped to be.
ME: Well, we’re back to where we started.
Jimmy: Even Stevens.
Lightning on the power play.
ME: Isles looking good on this penalty kill.
Isles score on that fluke open net.
Redacted. Waved off.
ME: I’m trying to make sense of what the
redacted just happened.
Jimmy: Said offsides. That was a freebie.
Jimmy: I call
Icy silence ensued for several of the next few minutes. Deliberate blackout on all incoming and outgoing communication by both parties.
The Islanders score again. This one counts. They take a 2-1 lead.
Jimmy: Yesssss!!!!! About time. With all of that action.
ME: *sigh* Yup.
Jimmy: Fell at the same time.
ME: Saw that.
Jimmy: Those are the situations where so many mistakes and plays…you know something bad is going to happen.
ME: Nine times out of 10, you turn over the puck that close to your goaltender, you’re giving the other team a goal. Soft pass by Purcell set all of that up.
Jimmy: The Isles had three good plays in a row. Two failed. Had to work to get that waived off goal back.
ME: Big issue with the Lightning this season: Collapses in team defense at the worst possible time, giving teams opportunities. Happens way too often.
Jimmy: Getting sloppy again. The TB.
ME: It’s a near constant thing. They have it under control for awhile during most games, maybe a whole period, but I rarely see it for 60 min. games.
Jimmy: Don’t worry. Isles will forget how to play hockey in the third period. Tampa just needs to put breathing players on the ice in the third and they’ll win. haha
We have reached the patronizing stage. I see through his games of deception.
Later, a shot breaks Tyler Johnson’s skate, forcing his blade to shoot across the ice.
Jimmy: Never saw that before.
ME: Me either.
Lightning score. Callahan again. Tied at 2.
Jimmy: Saw that coming. Once Cally saved it.
ME: Love it. And Marty hasn’t even scored a goal for the Rangers yet.
Our silent tempers, our unspoken discontent, our barely contained fury slowly begins to simmer down as the game moves to overtime.
Jimmy: Really good game.
ME: Yes it is. Makes me a wreck but ultimately these two teams play really good hockey against each other.
Jimmy: Yeah, very competitive.
ME: I knew it’d be this way. I knew the Isles would bring it.
After OT, the game moved to the shootout, and here is how it mostly played out for the two of us in short exchanges.
ME: Filthy move.
Jimmy: Wow. 5 hole.
ME: Oh, man.
Jimmy: This rules.
Jimmy: They love Callahan.
ME: Yes, they do.
Jimmy: Ugh, not Bailey.
Jimmy: Clutterbuck. My man!
Jimmy: He’s not now.
Jimmy: This is fantastic. Martin’s going to win it.
ME: Hahhahahaha. Zing.
ME: Save!!!!! Bishop didn’t even know where it was.
Stammer scores next with his spin-o-rama. One more tap of the stick. Here’s the goal.
Jimmy: Nice move. So nice.
ME: Oh, man. That’s Marty’s old move. I think he stayed moving, too.
Jimmy: This is unreal.
Jimmy: Clutterbuck got kicked. Ruthless. Lee is going to put it to bed.
ME: I hate shootouts.
Jimmy: This is crazy.
Salo scores. Bishop holds the line. Lightning finally win in the 13th round.
ME: THANK GOD! I’m so glad its over.
Jimmy: Good game, sir.
ME: It really was.
Though I knew in his heart of hearts that nothing but blind rage seethed through his every pore.
Several hours later, as the heat from the Islanders’ loss was at its coolest, I texted Jimmy one final time for his permission to use our exchanges as fodder for a hopefully entertaining post on Bolts by the Bay.
Jimmy: Haha. Go for it.
But inside, I knew, his “haha” was of the bitterest variety known to man. The “haha” of the Islanders fan.
Thank you, kind readers of this page, for indulging in this little column experiment of mine. I hope you found it as entertaining and fun to read as last night’s especially long shootout was fun to watch. And thanks go to my good friend Jimmy for his good humor and sportsmanship, and for letting me use our correspondence (heavily edited) during the game for my column.
There is always next year, Jimmy. Especially if we want to watch more shootouts.