Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Statement Game

So, I'm not totally sure how to post this, because naturally, it started with hockey, but has moved beyond that in my mind. I've actually been thinking of writing this column since Saturday, but life gets in the way sometimes. I'm totally rambling. So here is what I've been thinking about. The Statement Game - def. when a game is played by a player/team who has had they ability/heart questioned by another team, or the media, and they so dominiate that the only response after is that they made a statement with the way they played the game. The thought began with Marty Turco's shutout of Vancouver after a heart-wrenching loss to the Canucks in 4OT (yes, I watched all of it - and yes, I was completely worthless for the first half of the next day at work). That game did a lot to start changing the way Marty has been seen in the playoffs. Unfortunately, he followed it up with a late goal against and a goal against in OT, but to be honest, I put that loss more on the lack of scoring than his goaltending.

Statement games are always enjoyable because they usually lead to the reimaging of a player (or the cementing of an image). They can happen when a player has never made it on the biggest stage, or when someone says that a player has lost his ability to age, or when a rookie is said to be over his head. And of course, there is always the "you shouldn't have traded me/let me go through free agency" game. I started thinking back to come up with some statement games and thought it might be fun to throw it to the group. I'll come up with a list, and you guys help me add to it. Here are some I came up with:
1. Turco's shutout - still a statement game
2. Tiger Woods Last year - Even though no one thought he'd had it, after getting cut at the US Open, he tied for second at his next tournament and then won the next 8.
3. Jordan against the Jazz with the flu - He looked awful before and after the whistles, but once the game was playing, he looked like Jordan.
4. Gretzky's first season in the NHL - Coming from the WHA, he was thought to be overmatched. All he did was win the MVP (Hart trophy), and tie for the league lead in scoring (the most ever by a first year player - didn't get the trophy cause he had two less goals than Marcel Dionne)

So, let me know some of your favorites.


Knotwurth Mentioning said...

I have to say, the one thing that has really shocked me about Dallas' game this series has been exactly that -- Turco. I agree completely when you say it's not about the goaltending that this most recent one went to Vancouver, it was about scoring. The Canucks played decent defense, too, but a lot of the failure was simply on the part of Dallas' offense.

What looked even worse for the Stars was their overtime, where they pressed for a goal and ended up shooting themselves in the foot because they couldn't manage defense at the same time! If the only way they can generate offense is by surrendering goals, I think that the Stars are going to have trouble winning this series!

Good job for Turco, but the rest of the Stars had better step it up soon -- or Vancouver'll take this one easily!

Chris said...

Very interesting post.
The first thing I thought was Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, fresh off the Heisman snub and the media fawning over USC, Bush and Leinart.
I'll come up with more later. For now, off to bed—it's 2:30 in the morning here.

PJ said...

It stinks that the year Turco finally breaks out of his playoff funk, he has no support from the offense. At least he won't be the goat if they lose. Brendan Morrow had a quote about that saying that Turco should be really mad at the team for the effort they gave in front of him.

Chris said...

Duh, Broadway Joe, 1969.

rus said...

How about 1992 NFC championship game, Cowboys at 49ers. Everyone thought the Cowboys were a year away from being ready to win. Turns out they were right, but they had already won one Super Bowl.