Monday, January 4, 2016

A Classic Performance

Ah, the first blog of 2016.

A year ago, TigerBlog said he considered a New Year's resolution of using first person, something, as it turns out, he did not do at all.

This year? Nothing in the way of resolutions. Perhaps he can echo Miss TigerBlog's sentiment from New Year's Eve, when she mentioned that she didn't need any resolutions because she "is perfect just the way she is."

TigerBlog admires that spirit.

TigerBlog told his colleague Craig Sachson that he actually spent New Year's Eve in Times' Square and then, after midnight, went to a few bars. Missing the last train back, TB said, he had to sleep in Penn Station before returning in the morning. And Craig believed him.

TigerBlog thanked him for even considering the notion that TB would actually be sociable enough to do all of that, which, of course, he isn't.

In reality, TB's New Year's Eve was spent watching the two college football playoff semifinals, neither of which was all that competitive. Then, of course, there was the requisite watching of New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Back when TigerBlog was a kid, that time slot was filled with "New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo." Then Dick Clark took over in 1974, and he pretty much owned New Year's Eve.

Now that Clark has passed away, his name is still on the show, and that's a shame, because it's completely unwatchable, even if it is sort of a reflex to watch it for the final 30 minutes of a given calendar year. Some of the musical acts are okay, but the hosts aren't, especially Jenny McCarthy. The words don't exist to explain how bad she is.

As bad as the last television of 2015 was, the first TV of 2016 was that good.

TigerBlog watched the Winter Classic, the outdoor NHL game featuring the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots. TB has watched pretty much all of the Winter Classic, but this one was even more special than usual.

Why? Because Montreal's goalie was Mike Condon, the 2013 Princeton alum.

Condon wasn't just good in the game. He was great.

It was a great story from start to finish, with Condon, a Massachusetts native, playing not far from his hometown. And his father Ted, a longtime Massachusetts state trooper, led the police escort of the Montreal team bus.

Then there was the game itself. Condon made 27 saves, leading Montreal to a 5-1 win. It was a huge performance for the rookie goalie, who has been tossed into the fire as Montreal has played most of the year without Carey Price, the best goalie in the NHL.

The final was 5-1, but it was anybody's game well into the third period. And the critical moment came in the final second of the second period.

It was 3-0 Montreal at the time, but Boston's Ryan Spooner had a basically empty net to shoot at as time wound down. Condon came from nowhere to make a remarkable, incredible glove save. Time remaining - 0.1 seconds.

Didn't see it? Click HERE.

Unfortunately for Princeton, all of the news from Gillette Stadium wasn't great.

There was also a women's Winter Classic game, featuring Les Canadiennes and the Boston Pride, a pair of professional teams. Late in the first period, Denna Laing, Princeton Class of 2014, suffered a very serious spine/neck/back injury when she stepped on a stick and went down into the boards.

Laing underwent emergency surgery, and her long-term prognosis won't be known for some time. There was a pregame announcment made for Laing before Princeton's women's hockey team played Brown Friday.

TigerBlog has never met Condon or Laing.

He's happy for one. He's hopeful for the other.

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