Sunday April 18th, 2010
Dan Boyle did not deserve this.
Boyle didn’t deserve to be the focus of one of those witty ad satires (History will be made) up on YouTube, the ones that are posted there with such amazing speed.
Boyle didn’t deserve to go into the pantheon of monumental sporting mess-ups, alongside Steve Smith, Jim (Wrong Way) Marshall, Ralph Branca, Fred (Bonehead) Merkel, Steve Rogers, on and on. Nobody deserves the fate of being, ultimately, the goat of the big game.
There is no doubt about what Boyle did. Just 51 seconds into overtime, Boyle, attempting to rim the puck around the back boards, instead ripped a high, hard backhand shot past his own goalie, Evgeny Nabokov, and just like that, a dominant 51-shot performance by the San Jose Sharks ended in a 1-0 loss, putting them down 2-1 in their Western Conference playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly may have got his stick on the puck just as Boyle struck it, deflecting it netward. Game reports suggested that may have happened. But Boyle fired the puck, that was clear.
Instantly, you could see the anguish that moment was causing Boyle, who swung his stick in helpless frustration before skating to the players’ bench and slouching off to the locker room with his stunned teammates.
On the TV, you could see players asking each other what had happened. How had that one gone in, and so forth.
CBC announcers Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes initially spoke of the game winner as a freak goal by O’Reilly, who was credited with the score.
It was only minutes later, after they saw the replay that Mark Lee saw that it was an own goal, on a no-doubt-about-it shot by Boyle. If you blinked, in other words, you didn’t see it. But it will be available forever on YouTube for those who missed it.
You have to feel for Boyle, a nice guy and a splendid player who won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, helped Canada win gold at the 2010 Olympics and has been a spark plug these past two seasons in San Jose.
Now this. A play that lives forever for all the wrong reasons.
You have to feel for the player, just as people felt for Smith after he accidentally banked a shot into his own goal off netminder Grant Fuhr back in ’86.
Few feelings in sport can be worse than the agonizing solitude that comes with being the guy whose miscue costs his team a key match.
The star of the game, without question, was goalie Craig Anderson, who was off-the-charts brilliant in making those 51 saves in a game played for lengthy, pressure-packed stretched in the Colorado defensive zone.
Boyle was a big part of those offensive surges, but no one will remember that.
It will be all about the own goal. For a long time, possibly the rest of his life, especially if the Sharks cannot find a way to win this first-round series. If they do lose, that own goal will be added to the pile of misery of this underachieving franchise. Which sure isn’t fair to Boyle, who has injected plenty of intensity and gumption into that club.
Sport can be terribly cruel.
Dan Boyle was born on July 12th, 1976 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Boyle_(ice_hockey)
7 + 12 +2+0+0+9 = 30 = his personal year (from July 12th, 2009 to July 11th, 2010)
30 year + 4 (April) = 34 = his personal month (from April 12th, 2010 to May 11th, 2010)
34 month + 18 (18th of the month on Sunday April 18th, 2010) = 52 = his personal day = Criticism. Sarcasm. Satire. Snarky. Snide. Sharp tongue. Smart mouth. Wisecrack. Scathing. Caustic. Skewer. Lampoon.