Today's game, August 29. Flyers vs Islanders
The Isles have legs. That's one thing Philly knows, one thing they have learned so far in this series - and they're all fucking tired and the score is three to one.
They just couldn't get ahead of them. It's two games to one now and the Isles have it. What they have are too many FUCKING legs. Konecny is grinding and shooting for goals later on, but he gets stopped. They all get stopped, and he couldn't even get anything to Sanny, fucking Christ. G stayed leaning hands on knees as he skated round the ice after the buzzer tonight, and the team knows it's bad when their captain does that. He bows under the weight of what they're doing. The weight of their sins, as 'twere, and boy have they got some to atone for. Carter, he went out of the game, was pulled with more than three minutes left in the third period, and even with six men on the ice, no one could score a damn goal! Even the usual good-natured chirps about somebody (usually TK, okay always TK) shooting his shot go wrong.
Konecny hits the door to the dressing room with his body and his fists shoving forward as if he could break something. He wants to. But he tears his helmet off and tells himself to breathe, just breathe. Hears Nolan's counsel in his head, from when his center was still around and good, when nothing in his head was messing him up, no migraine spirals from all the hits. Just breathe, keep breathing, Teeks. You'll get them next time. We'll get them next time.
Yeah, right. Except that Nolan isn't here. You aren't here to get them with me, Patty. Hit them where it hurts, I need you to slam into Beauvillier with your giant ass and send him packing. Konecny slams his helmet, still in his hand, against the side of the stall. No, it's not even his stall. Nothing here is his, not really. Nor his team's. Not a single thing in this bubble is theirs. And it's messing him up, Patty not being here.
Not just that, though. Not alone, anyhow. Isn't a big deal, they just - fit together, he and the big center. He knows where Nolan will be on the ice, and vice versa. He knows that Pats would sit beside him in all his rage right now and manage to cheer him up even though the guy doesn't say much of anything in potential earshot of press. Or anyplace else really. But he says enough to TK and that would fucking get him going here, get him out of his head and feeling better. Damn him for not being here, as the calm to TK's storm.
Except Patty not being here isn't his fault, and neither is the fact that Konecny isn't scoring.
It's him, it's this pandemic, it's the delay of the playoffs for two days because somebody from press or in the league simply had to find a jawn to say about the protesting, about all the hell going on; where people are getting shot and not even in Philly or Chi-town, no - now it's in places far out as bum fuck Wisconsin, and protests are getting people hurt in Oakland because they think they can do something all the way in sunny California; and y'know, that's it, man. Why TK is always moving, always talking on the ice. He saves his rage and jibes over the state of the world, the fact he can't do a fucking thing about people not being good to each other, and in games he hits people hard, no matter who they are. He respects the game, respects the players as he does everyone (except the Pens, screw them, and holy, he's glad they aren't in playoffs this year; if the Pens were the team going to town on 'em instead of the Islanders, he and the boys would never live it down).
But now, right now, the world at large is vastly different, and things are horrible when a guy can't get out of his car without being shot in connection to the color of his skin, or when those required to serve and protect cannot or will not serve and protect. Travis knows hockey, that's what he does. That's good what his team does, and he thinks they're good. They're tough. They fight it out, the way he hopes can happen in the world, and they'd been doing good work, especially earlier this playoff series and at the conclusion of the last section of it. They had found a groove. Yeah, they're good.
Even as he had gone hard chirping the Canadiens ...