[Ed. note: Craig Brownstein, PuckBuddy and resident film scholar, provides this look at our dance with the Buffalo Slugs, as imagined through the lens of Ingmar Bergman. You expected different, maybe? Read, learn, and tweet his nose here.]
Cries and Whispers: I scored last-minute tickets to the Isles game courtesy of a lovely young lady, and we sat in the #415 Lounge, just one seat from Sam Wolk, a distinct pleasure in and of itself. (My left ear has finally stopped ringing). Down by two in the early going, I met some friends on the concourse during the first intermission. Cue the hand-wringing, nay-saying, and rending of garments. Third period hopes were soon dashed, slipping between Mike Green’s skates. It was like a bad movie. Make that a depressing movie, think Cassavetes, or in honor of our stoic Swedish players, Bergman may be more appropriate.
Danse Macabre: Maybe I jumped on the Caps bandwagon at the right time. In just four short years I’ve experienced both the dizzying highs and terrifying lows that this team can provide: President’s Cup, deep(ish) second season runs, arrivals & departures (e.g., love Ribz but still miss
Cody Squeak), a lockout and white-knuckled, needle-threading, Bataan Death Marches to the playoffs.
After such poor play this season, it’s hard to be optimistic, even when looking at a game with those chumps from Buffalo. Are the next few weeks really a death march? How about a death spiral? Or more likely, as we watch the Caps fumble and stumble their way through these last 15 games, a painful and regretful dance of death.
Scenes From A Marriage: My normally fragile emotions have been shredded this season. Maybe I’m not cut out for this game. Or given my undeniable allegiance to this team, perhaps I’m just the perfect mate. In this always-challenging hockey marriage, I’ve vowed to have and to hold, for better, for worse (it may only get worse), for richer, for poorer (cap space constraints), in sickness (groins especially) and in health. Where there’s love there’s suffering, and the suffering came to a head Tuesday evening.
Tuesday was a landmark day in DC. All of the good gays were closely following the Prop 8 arguments at the Supreme Court. The better gays were actually down there showing their support for the cause. This bad gay, the one suffering through a troubled hockey marriage, had his mind elsewhere; the Isles tilt at the Booth that night. Marriage equality will happen sooner or later, but the Caps playoff prospects seemed like a far more pressing matter that day. Sure they broke my heart that night, but I just can’t quit them.
First Star, Seventh Seal: It’s hard to believe that the Caps PP is still ranked 2nd in the NHL after going 0-3 against the Isles on Tuesday, not to mention that 5-on-3 embarrassment. With 10 of his 16 goals on the PP this season, the Captain keeping the man-advantage on life support. Mazel tov to Ovi for his first star last week, much of that due to his standout games against the Jets, back-to-back blowouts, and his PP performance. One of the better quotes to come out of that Winnipeg trip was from Jets bench boss, Claude Noel. Asked to explain the Jets’ dismal performance after their 4-0 drubbing, he said, “They’re playing chess, we’re playing checkers.” The chess match continues Saturday night. but in the back of our minds, given the steep climb, we think we’re playing chess with this guy:
“This damned ranting about doom. Is that food for the minds of modern people?” Do they really expect us to take them seriously? Jöns, The Seventh Seal (1957)
Look at where we are (15-17-1, 31 points), 11th in the East, and a humiliating 23rd overall. The chances we catch up and overcome Winnipeg in the Southeast, or the desperate clutch of teams vying for the 8th spot in the East, are somewhere between fat and slim. And Slim just left town on a northbound train for Long Island. We need to go 11-4, or according to Ted Starkey, grab 20 of the 30 available points. The smart money says no. We’ve squandered far too many opportunities. Each point we didn’t gain is another nail in the Caps’ coffin.
The next three games– before the April 3 trade deadline– are critical, but the general lack of faith in the Caps’ performance is leading many some scribes to war game the sell-off of assets and play armchair GMGM. It’s depressing as all hell to read, but I don’t blame them. If we’re not in the playoff hunt and expect to be golfing after April 27, let’s look ahead to the rebuild. I’ll look at this season as a bump along the road in an otherwise happy marriage. We have tickets to that last game at Verizon against the Bruins (going with a Habs fan actually), so don’t blame me if I go out and look for some strange during the playoffs. Ohai, Montreal!
“You find him disgusting with his thick mouth and ugly body and wet appealing eyes. You think he’s disgusting and you’re afraid.” Alma, Persona (1966)
This is the spot where I say the city of Buffalo smells. Niagara is a toilet, their players are delinquents and miscreants, and we all have a good laugh. That’s not so easy to do this time around; truth is, I’m from Rochester and Buffalo was a regular cosmopolitan jewel compared to the ROC. While we can’t let this be an insult-free zone, I’ll save my fire for the philistines who don’t appreciate Bergman, those who consider Tarantino a good director, and find WillFarrellBenStillerSteveCarellVinceVaughn films remotely entertaining. It’s you that suck. And you all probably live in Buffalo.
“No matter what sublime works you fabricate, they don’t shield you from the fateful knocking at the door that interrupted the knight and his friends at the end of “The Seventh Seal.” Woody Allen in 2007, on Bergman’s passing.
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