Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Horror, More Heroes

This has been a rough couple of weeks in America. Bombings in Boston, a massive explosion in West, Texas, and now a devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. And as horrific and horrible as each of these tragedies have been, the heroism and compassion of people has shone through, like a beam of sunlight shooting through the darkest of clouds and making things bright again.

In Boston we saw Police, Fire, EMS, BAA volunteers, Soldiers, and runners clearing debris, and caring for victims, and running to hospitals to give blood.

In West we saw First Responders willingly go into a blazing inferno to try to save the lives of strangers.

And now in Moore we see teachers using their bodies to shield children. We see cops and firefighters from across Oklahoma carefully sifting through rubble. We see busloads of police from Texas pouring into Moore to help out. We see donations of food, clothing, money, shelter. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder pledged to donate $1 million to the Red Cross. The Thunder also pledged $1 million. The University of Oklahoma in nearby Norman opened its dorms to displaced survivors.

Each of these disasters have had traumatic and striking effects on the human psyche. A terrorist attack, a chemical explosion in a factory, a natural disaster. Each has people asking "why," without any satisfactory answer apparent.

One thing that is apparent is how strong and indomitable human beings are. Humans are capable of unbelievable courage in the face of danger and death. Humans are capable of immeasurable compassion even when it's complete strangers who are suffering. Humans are capable of sacrificing themselves to save other humans.

"Good job, teach."

When I was in film school I wrote a screenplay about the end of the world. The theme of my script was that greedy and selfish people took advantage of disaster and disease, and they were the ones who brought about the end of the world. And while the rare good people were taken away to a safe paradise, the bad people conquered a cruel world that wasn't worth living in. I wrote this before I had much faith in humanity.

I was wrong. Extremely wrong. In my script, people behaved like animals when faced with adversity. And I've seen so much in these last few weeks that disproves that concept. People are at their absolute best when things are at their absolute worst. People care.

There's a reason we were able to evolve into the dominant species on this planet. Our brains were a big help. But I think what gave us the decisive edge was our ability to lift each other up off the ground when something knocked us down. Our perseverance, coupled with the compulsion to help others, is what makes this species great.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

Fourth Line to the Rescue

I really thought the Rangers were going to steal this game. Fans up here in Boston had been feeling cocky about the Bruins "beating" Lundqvist for 8 goals, when he actually hadn't played that bad. I thought maybe the players would feel a little too overconfident as well. Lundqvist came out and made some Vezinian saves, and this game looked like it would end as a 1-0 Tortorella special. It would have if not for the play of the Bruins' 4th line.

Some people, such as 98.5's Michael Felger, like to complain about the 4th line. And even I sometimes get annoyed when they're on the ice in a potential scoring situation. The fact is, they play their roles and occasionally add a little more. Thornton is the enforcer. Paille is a speedy penalty-killer. Campbell also kills penalties and is sort of a jack of all trades, master of none. Sometimes they go above and beyond their roles. Like last night when they generated 2 goals. Shawn Thornton's numbers speak volumes to their contribution...

6:42 time on ice, 11 shifts, 2 assists, +2, 2 shots on goal, 3 hits, 1 blocked shot

He only played in 11% of the game, and he did all that.

You never fail to notice that the 4th line is on the ice. Sometimes you don't notice Lucic or Horton or Peverley. But you never fail to notice the 4th line. And they won the game last night. So from me, and from the 4th line, suck it, Felger...

Tuukka Rask's play made it so the 4th line was in position to win the game. The goal Rask allowed in the 2nd possibly could have been saved, but apart from that he was flawless. His 3rd period right-pad stop on Rick Nash during a 4-on-2 breakaway when the game was 1-1 was the biggest save of the game. Bigger than any saves Lundqvist made. It was also a timely save. And it could prove to be the biggest save of the series. That save is probably the difference between a 3-0 series and a 2-1 series. And just like the ball-strike count in baseball, that's a huge difference. The Bruins now have a 3-0 count in their favor, and a green light to swing away.

Continuing the baseball comparison, Rask was like a pitcher who gave up a solo homerun in the 2nd inning, but retired the last 9 batters he faced, starting with striking out the side with the bases loaded in the 7th.

Rask was an Ace last night.

And let's not forget Johnny Boychuk, who scored his 4th postseason goal. That's second most on the Bruins (behind Krejci's 5 and tied with Horton), and the most of any defenseman in the playoffs. He has 10 career playoff goals in 55 games. That's not bad at all for a defenseman.

I do have a question to pose: if the Bruins get all their defensemen healthy, should they put Torey Krug on the 3rd line as a winger? Obviously this is not a serious question. Or is it? It isn't.

Or is it?

Game 4 Thursday night. Expect a desperate Rangers team to fight tooth and nail. It could be the hardest game of the series for the Bruins. Or maybe the Rangers will quit on their coach and get blown out 5-1.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Seth Wenig