Game 2: Long time, no sleep


Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks hits the puck in the net with his head past goaltender Frederik Andersen #31 of the Anaheim Ducks in the second overtime of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on May 19, 2015 in Anaheim, California. The goal was called back. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

First off, it’s an absolute pity every Blackhawks fan — alive, dead or tucked into bed, dreaming of another miserable school morning fast approaching — didn’t get to see this triple-overtime, almost-four-overtimes, off-the-charts-insane 3-2 Hawks victory over the Anaheim Ducks.


If you were a grown-up with flexible sleeping hours Tuesday night, you watched it all. You couldn’t not watch. Even though it ended after 1 a.m.

Sleep is overrated. Especially compared with this.

Shots flying, pucks clanging off posts, players (mostly Hawks) getting crushed into walls, ferocious, exhausting nonstop action by one line after another — it was everything wonderful, mind-boggling and inexplicable about hockey.

Hawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped 60 freaking pucks. And Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, who stopped 53 pucks, might have played better.

I have no idea how two teams combine for four goals in the first two periods, then can’t score again until a guy such as center Marcus Kruger deflects the game-winner past Andersen nearly 79 minutes later.

Indeed, the Hawks actually went almost two hours without scoring, before that final shot that started off the stick of Brent Seabrook and ended in the net.

It was the longest game in Hawks history, which goes back to the Bronze Age. Actually, the Cold Steel on Ice Age.

Even if it was ‘‘Planet of the Apes,’’ this game was so wild — because it simply would not end — that you had time to do chores in between the five breaks or put an ice pack on your head, lie down and try not to twitch in empathy.

You couldn’t believe insane Hawks forward Andrew Shaw, the little guy who is to calm athletics as a whirling saw blade is to old timber. Not only did Shaw get squashed multiple times by the Ducks’ massive players, he took a vicious double-glove sniff to his nose from 6-4 brute Clayton Stoner, a dirty play that should’ve brought a penalty.

Say what you will about Stoner (is that not a name that belongs in a bud-filled Harold and Kumar adventure?), he couldn’t stop the pestlike Shaw, who scored the game’s first goal and then — and, yes, you’re reading this correctly — head-butted in the apparent game-winning goal in the second overtime.

Except it didn’t count. Because, well, this is hockey, not soccer or pub-fighting.

That Shaw even attempted to bat the puck in with his noggin was astounding. Yet it is true he cares about that pumpkinlike appendage in games no more than he cares about his sweaty socks.

The TV announcers were shocked, appalled, baffled. At first, they said it was a goal, and there was no rule against such methodology. Then they knew they were wrong.

You can’t do stuff like that!

Otherwise, a 110-percenter such as Shaw would snatch the puck out of midair with his teeth, put it in his jowls like a hamster with a walnut, skate and spit it into the goal. This incident brought to mind how little hockey players care about their teeth, compared to regular humans, and about how long and well Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith played in this game.

“Teethless’’ Keith, as you’ll recall, lost all or parts of seven chompers in a 2010 Western Conference final game and missed one shift while stubs were removed and shots were injected. Keith does so many little things that impede the other team and protect the puck and move it safely that it’s hard even to describe. His smile is beautiful now — if fake — but his Hall of Fame game is for real.

Keith played nearly 50 minutes, more than any other defenseman. And those aren’t like football minutes. Or baseball minutes.

They’re crazy aerobic minutes, with collisions thrown in.

Something else you might not know about the Hawks, who have evened the series at 1 and play Thursday night at the United Center: There is an umlaut above the “u’’ in the correct Swedish spelling of Kruger’s name.

Key, if tiny, detail there, especially for the TV announcer who kept calling him “Kroger.’’

Somebody also was calling the Hawks’ Bryan Bickell, “Bic-KELL.’’ No, it’s “BICK-ell.’’


But, again, there was time aplenty to ponder such things as this crazy affair flew on and on. Personally, with no mommy to impose bedtime upon me, I was hoping the game would go into four overtimes. (It was less than four minutes away!) Then five.

This was one of those things, like your first kiss or your last paycheck, you never wanted to end.


Twitter: @ricktelander

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