The Quantum Theory of Playoff Hockey
Think about it: a defeat in front of the world’s most preening sports fans, in the world’s most famous sports venue, cheering and taunting like a brat before a victory. Or a prat before a fall. There was a choice to be made – it was going to be one or the other.
Lots of people talk about ‘the rhythm’ of a series – it’s ‘must-pass’ tests. Nuts to that. Rhythm means intentional order, and we don’t think there’s anything intentional about either of these teams playing worse than they can, or planning to lose a game. Test? The only test that counts is at the end – and it’s pass/fail.
There may be no rhythm, or tests…but there are choices. Choices like the one made hitting the ice at the start of the 3rd – a point beyond which only one of two possible Capitals would appear. The Capitals who had chosen apparent defeat and had already given up, or the Capitals who rejected losing and went out to fight for every last goal and square inch of that craptacular sheet.
It’s like Schrodinger’s cat. The Caps go into that room like Schrodinger’s cat goes into that box. While in there the Caps are both winners and losers – the cat both alive and dead – all at the same time. They’re in a wave superposition state – both things at once and beyond our ability to know which. It’s only when the box is open – when a team takes the ice or a cat is picked up – that the quantum state resolves into actual form – either winner or loser, alive or dead.
From the start of the third, you could see which Caps were playing. MoJo was at the head of that group, and getting excellent work from Laich, Arnott, and the Carlzners. Sasha stepped up as well, and of course Jason with the 2OTGWG. The whole crew, even with out Papa Knubs, played like winners…which, in fact, they turned out to be. They had to be. It had already been decided.
The Rangers – and notably their fans, however – played like losers. We don’t mean that in a taunting way. But just as the Caps had to decide which team would take in the ice in the 3rd, so did the Rangers. What they got when they opened their box was a dead cat…and a team that had already decided it would lose.
The players may have known it right away, but it took the fans a while to catch up. The coaching staff, too. Tortorella seemed genuinely embarrassed by what was happening. And the crowds? Although we weren’t there, we hear they quickly abandoned their
Blueshits Blueshirts, sitting on their hands and stuffing their faces with pizza. Maybe they knew, too; why bother cheering on and supporting a team that has already decided it’s going to lose? Why be the one bum shouting after the game’s over and urging on players that aren’t even there anymore?
Back to the Phone Booth on Saturday. We’ve noticed it can get loud in there, unlike… nevermind, we’ve heard enough about that noise. While the vagaries and variables of playoff hockey don’t ensure a Caps win, any signs of life observed in those filthy, ill-mannered Rangers will most likely be a dead cat bounce.
New Yorkers Give Good Head(lines):
If it bleeds, it leads. We only wish we had hard copies of these editions of the NY tabs.
NY Post: Rangers blow 3-0 lead, fall into 3-1 hole vs. Capitals
“No one is going to pat the Rangers on their collective backs for a good try. No one is going to be understanding about lessons perhaps learned by youth. No one is going to give the Blueshirts a pass on this one. The Rangers blew it, blew a 3-0 lead after two periods, blew Game 4 at the Garden. Black-and-Blueshirts Red-Faced all over.”
NY Daily News: Rangers feel sounds of silence
“Bruce Boudreau learned how loud Madison Square Garden can be. But by the end of Wednesday night, the Capitals’ coach was right on the money – it was awfully quiet on Broadway”
The Forward (Yiddish): OY FUCKING VEY! What team? We have no Team!
“Ale tsores vos ikh hob oyf mayn hartsn, zoln oysgeyn tsu zayn kop. Finstere leyd zol nor di mama oyf im zen. Oyskrenkn zol er dus mame’s milakh. Zalts im in di oygen, feffer im in di noz. Trinkn zoln im piavkes. Fransn zol esn zayn layb. Vi tsu derleb ikh im shoyn tsu bagrobn.Got zol im bentshn mit dray mentshn: eyner zol im haltn, der tsveyter zol im shpaltn un der driter zol im ba’haltn.”
Yiddish translations are here.