It's a routine of mine to fall out of bed every morning, stumble into the kitchen like a drugged zombie and swipe an over-sized muffin from the kitchen cupboard. Sometimes I snag blueberry, sometimes banana nut and sometimes I forget to close the plastic lid correctly the day before and they all end up stale. That invokes a nasty rage that can only be suppressed with…well, more sleep…and lots of Cocoa Puffs cereal.
This morning was no different. I went through my usual routine of nonchalantly grabbing a muffin and then removing that annoying doily wrapper. I closed my eyes and cherished that first bite, only to cringe in horror at the taste of paper. Whatinthe…oh wait…there’s a second doily hidden underneath the first one. Bargh! This happens to all of us – with homemade cupcakes and those wonderful Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – and it's enough to drive a mildly obsessive person like myself totally nuts.
But as I rested my elbows on the kitchen table and picked this cinnamon muffin apart like an isolated vulture, I realized you just have to be aware of your surroundings at all times in order to see what’s really going on. It's easy to overlook things when you're in a familiar environment, but there are always inherently one or two instances that deviate from the norm and leave you wondering where the hell it came from and how long it's actually been there.
That makes me think of the two goalies in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that came out of nowhere, even though we’ve been mentioning their names for most of the season. I'm speaking about Jonas Hiller and Simeon Varlamov, of course. Neither of them experienced playoff hockey before last week but they both played extremely well in their first outings. And this leads me to believe that youthful enthusiasm in the net can be a very good thing for many teams.
Now I’ve said for years that playing the "backup" or rookie goalie in the playoffs ultimately does more good than bad. It's not only a way to elevate the defensive play, it’s a way to ignite the entire team’s morale. They want to win for the young kid and do everything they can to make his life easier.
It’s also the only way teams can truly see what they have. It’s the same type of situation as a team bringing up a goalie from the minors – the opportunity to evaluate talent is necessary and vital to figuring out what prospects and draft picks are the most valuable and useful. And while all of that is happening, you could also end up winning a playoff g