Blogs | 3/16/2010 10:13:38 AM | John Gurtler
All year long coach Darris Kilgour has preached time and space. Take away the opponents time and space and create your own time and space. This blog is about other variations of time and space.
Friday night before the game in Toronto, the time was about 5:30 pm. The team was pretty much situated in their visiting dressing room down in the Air Canada Centre. The adjoining room sat the coaches, Kilgour, Ron Henry and Duane Jacobs; Associate General Manager Derek Graham was also there.
My space is out in the hallway waiting for a player to ask for an interview for the pre-game show. Occasionally I will go into the dressing room to confirm my location and maybe ask a question or two. I pretty much stay out of the way and too, farther from earshot if coaches are talking about players and situations.
Friday I was caught reading expressions while waiting to interview John Tavares. At the other end of the long hallway I noticed Kenny Montour walking down without his equipment and he had a serious look on his face. As he approach I said hello and he responded to me “where is Darris?” I pointed to the adjoining room. “He’s in there,” I said. With the slightest of voice, Ken made motion to Darris and the two convened in the hallway.
I backed off out of earshot but I could tell by the facial expression on Kilgour, something was wrong. Moments later coach Henry and Jacobs huddled with Kilgour and Montour. Then Graham and Bandits Director of Lacrosse Operations, Scott Loffler joined the pack.
Mobile phones started to connect, text messages were being sent. Quick conversations and questions were being asked. Something was in motion. Talk about time and space.
With a little under an hour and half before game time, Ken Montour had informed coach Kilgour he could not play in the weekend game because he was still suffering from effects of the concussion he received by the very team the Bandits were to play, the Rock, back on February 6th.
It was like Wally hitting you with a belly full of soda. After that “Kenny being Kenny” performance against the Titans, all of the injuries this season, and the team playing for their playoff lives, what could happen next?
But after Kilgour had a little time and space to himself, he quickly assigned someone to play back up to Michael Thompson (Brandon Francis) and spun a positive on a negative situation. He told me in the pre-game show interview he had all the confidence in “Mik-ee” and said he’s been looking for a big game to have, and now here it is “and I know he can do it,” said Kilgour.
He was correct. Thompson set a season mark for saves at 52, which also tied the highest save number of the NLL season.
Thompson was solid in net and so too were the Bandits, jumping out to a 5-1 lead, only to see the score tie four times before :25-seconds of overtime and a little space, John Tavares found net for a thrilling victory.
Time and space. It takes one-hour and four minutes to fly from Buffalo to Boston. All was perfect, if not right on time, despite choppy wind and heavy rain Saturday morning for the 6:30am flight.
It is approximately 15-minutes from Logan Airport to downtown Boston, and maybe another five to the historic site of where the TD Garden now stands, home to the Boston Blazers, Bruins and Celtics.
But this is where time and space goes askew. Let me preface the next point with some facts. A city block in Boston is half of what normal city block might be. And the streets are half if not three-quarters wide of regular city streets. And Boston has 13,345 traffic stoplights. Yes, every intersection has a stoplight and some are within 15-feet of each other.
Throw time and space out the window and welcome the Clark Griswold family, a.k.a. The Bandits. We were passengers in a rather old and steamy bus that chugged along through the driving rain and wind. Our driver was a pleasant man who hailed from Trinidad and had not a clue of where to go, park or drive to the Garden. We were in for what would be a comedy of errors and reality to the line “excuse me, do you know how we get back on the Expressway?”
The players had to walk in the rain to drop their equipment off and later walk a block and half to get back on the bus because the driver would not put the bus, manned, under a tunnel next to where the players went in and later came out.
It gets worse and it was like the Blazers had planned this whole thing. Like tails of former Sabres coach Joe Crozier turning up the ice temperature in the Aud to slow the fast skating visiting teams down.
With the bus uncontrollable heat and stopping at every stoplight, we found ourselves going around what seemed like every city block. Things were starting to get a bit uncomfortable. “Turn the heat down. Where are we going? They stop serving brunch at Noon. The game is at 7:30.” We were in Boston by 8:30am.
Finally I sensed something was wrong when the driver kept looking both ways and stopping in the middle of one of the what seemed two-thousand intersections we went through, some of them twice, unsure of a left turn or right turn.
If you ever have driven in Boston, you know what I mean. That is why it’s easier to take the green or red lines in and around Boston. It’s not a fun town to drive around because you stop every five feet. Stoplight or pull over because it’s too narrow for both cars to go at once.
The highlight of the Griswold’s lost adventure came into about an hour of what should have been a 15-minute jaunt from the Garden to the hotel.
On one of the few hundred turns we made onto obscure streets looking for the hotel, the big steamy bus came upon cars on one side and a delivery truck van on the other side. The bus driver pulls right up the rear of the truck and waits for someone to move it. Nobody is around despite a few honks of the horn. We sit there and one-by-one wise-crack calls come out from all sections of the bus.
Everybody is getting a bit frustrated and overheated. It’s not funny anymore. Down right insane and beginning to wonder if Clark Griswold was really with us. Everybody just wanted to get to the hotel. “I can’t get through, we’ll just have to wait,” said the driver. God forbid he back up the street Paul Revere rode through, scraping his arms on the way. But time and space, pays off.
Here, in the humid heat from the rear seats emerges a shirt-less Mark Steenhuis who glides with confidence down the isle toward the driver and the door, offering to handle the job of driving through or better yet, jumping out of the bus and direct the driver through the tight space. He did the latter.
Ahead some five yards of this 70’s vintage style coach bus, the NLL’s most popular player carefully swung the parked vehicle mirrors into car wash position and the same to the delivery truck. Within a matter of :30-seconds, Steenhuis had the bus inching through the tightest of space without “the nicks and cuts of a blade”, shirtless and stopping traffic in the intersection to allow the bus through and to the hotel, we thought. Some 20-minutes later, by the players getting off the bus and finding their own way on foot. Turned out ½ -block away sat the hotel entrance. Time and Space.
The ride back to the arena didn’t fair much better as the driver, still unsure of the Garden’s bus ingress, drops us off a block away from the entrance in driving rain. The Blazers couldn’t have planned it any better – and it happen all on it’s own.
Players showed no ill effect and, under time and space, pulled out another thrilling victory.
John Tavares tested the time on the shot clock and found space within the left side of Anthony Cosmo. Did pretty much the same on Bob Watson the night before.
Time and space. Bandits will have some time to heal bumps and bruises with bye-week as the space narrows between first and fourth in the East. Back to Rochester for a game on the 27th.
Oh, one more escapade with the bus. They finally directed him to the bus ingress, which parked on the event floor, a half of circle walk from the Bandits dressing room.
Just a matter of time and space.