Masters Of Their Destiny

Watching the Masters today, we all saw 5-foot putts missed that we could have made. Bubba Watson’s 10-inch winner, a ‘gimme’ on most public links, earned him his first major and the coveted ‘Green Jacket.’ I started to think of other sports where in my prime (forty plus years ago) I could have been a difference maker or game winner.

I have little doubt that I could kick the extra point to win a Super Bowl. I would imagine you feel the same. I am also certain that I could sink the game winning free-throw in an NCAA or NBA Championship game. We see evidence of this every year when somebody wins a scholarship or cash for tossing one in from half-court. Could I score the winning run in the 7th game of baseballs World Series? Most definitely.  As the designated runner coming in to score from third base after a sacrifice fly, I could probably do that today. Could I score the ‘gamer’ in the Stanley Cup Finals? Not on your life. Scoring a goal in hockey is the most difficult accomplishment in sports.

The net, standing four feet high and six feet wide, is an easy target. However it is occupied by a goalie very protective of his turf. With 13 inch wide pads reaching 38 inches in length, a blocker, stick, protective padding and glove there are but a few holes open in his defense. Those holes are the corners numbered 1 thru 4. The five hole (between the skates) is also available, but like the windmill hole on your favorite putt-putt, it is only open intermittently.

A sniper with a 90 mph shot can bring the puck from his stick to the back of the net from 20 ft. in 0.15 seconds. The average human has no time to react to that, but goalies are not average, and some would argue not human, so even those shots don’t reach home. More often than not, goals are scored in the hard fought, bloodied areas around the goal crease where a red light is often accompanied by a broken nose. The most difficult point to score in professional sports is a goal in ice hockey.

The Islanders season has come to too early an end, but the Sound Tigers post season is about to begin and all is in place for a good run. The team has a goal tender tandem that cannot be matched by any team in the AHL as Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson have each proven themselves NHL ready. Goals will be scored by Rhett Rakhshani, who like John Taveres, outworks everyone on the ice, Justin DiBenedetto, the Tigers Matt Moulson in the dirty areas, Sean Backman with Grabner like speed and secondary scoring the parent club has long lacked will prove a formidable match for any club.

On the blue line doing the heavy work is an all-star cast that includes Calvin deHaan, Mark Katic, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Ty Wishart, Jon Landry, Russ Sinkewich and the teams heart Steve Oleksy. This is a team that has already proven to be the best we have seen in Bridgeport and destined to be the first in ten years to raise a banner. Go Tigers!


-Mike Flannery

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