Niagara Gazette

June 14, 2013

Mroziak: The thrill and torture of overtime hockey

By MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — To the hockey fan inside me, it's one of the coolest things about the "coolest game on Earth."

To the sports editor in me, it's an unwanted stress inducer.  

It is, of course, overtime.

Several times this year alone, I've endured those mixed emotions as Stanley Cup Playoff games have gone into overtime, or perhaps two or three. 

The fan in me thinks, "Great! More hockey!" The editor in me fears, "Are we going to get the final results in next morning's edition?"

Twice, so far, that answer has been no, including Wednesday night's triple overtime Game One in Chicago. Even with granted deadline extensions, some nights those darn Cup contenders just don't want to cooperate.

On Wednesday night, as the first overtime ended and a second session began, I kept staring at the clock and hoped we'd have a complete report — in other words, a final results. I got so desperate that I almost made a vow to Patrick Kane that I'd cover his cab fare the next time he's back home in Buffalo. Almost. 

Of course, we finally had to go to press while the game was still in progress. Yet that's when the fan in me took over. I could have gone home after a long night in the office. Instead, I stayed top see it until the end. I just didn't want to risk missing the game-winning goal. 

That's the charm of these overtime classics. It's worth losing sleep. I still remember fondly how it took me a couple of days to fully recover from staying up into the wee hours of Easter Sunday 1987, just a few short hours before Mass and a full day of family events, to watch Pat LaFontaine score a series-winning goal to lift the New York Islanders over the Washington Capitals. That goal finally came in the fourth overtime.

The editor in me would not have appreciated having to wait that long. Then again, the editor in me is actually off this Saturday night. Maybe I'll just sit back at home, crack open a cold one or two, and hope to miss a lot of sleep while enjoying Game Two.

Follow Niagara Gazette sports editor Michael Mroziak on Twitter at MrozGazette.