Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Tonight I watched Brad May lift the Stanley Cup. Or as he will always be to me, “BRAAAAAD MAAAAY!”
Mr. May scored a seminal goal in Sabres history.
Of course, for many franchises, a seminal goal would be something like the one scored by Bobby Nystrom in 1980; a goal that won a Stanley Cup. But I am a Sabres fan. I must look harder for milestones.
Luckily we have Rick Jeanerette to help point them out. We go back a long way, though we lost touch for a while.
In 1993, I lived in a cheap apartment in one of Denver’s dreary exurbs, shared with a guy from Boston, as it happens.
The goal I’m talking about was May’s overtime winner in Game 4, capping a sweep for the Sabres. Having enjoyed the victory in real time, I switched over to ESPN, hoping for another chance to wallow in this unusual feeling.
First, Sportscenter showed the goal as a highlight. Then, as a special treat, they played the highlight again, this time with the Buffalo radio announcer’s call.
Thanks to the miracle of sound recording, we can play it again and again: MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! And it was great, but I had a much more primordial reaction.
At that point, it had been many years since I lived in Western New York, so I hadn’t listened to Sabres broadcasts for a long time.
But the voice was unforgettable. I was instantly transported back in time. Back to third and fourth grade, in Ransomville, New York, when I would take my Radio Shack Sing-a-Long radio up to my bedroom to listen to Sabres games. Turning to an alternate reality away from what, even at that age, was a family environment not entirely conducive to retaining my mental health. Back to the time I became a hockey fan; a Sabres fan. Back to a time and the circumstances that may explain why hockey and the Sabres remain meaningful to me more than 30 years later.
Anyway, thanks to the miracle of the modern Interweb, I can once again listen to RJ call Sabres games on the radio, at least until they are knocked out of the playoffs.
And as I was watching Brad May hoist the Cup, the thought crossed my mind: The Mayday goal was in 1993. Holy crap, that’s 14 freakin’ seasons ago!
There are people who say some nasty things about Brad May. Talentless goon, that sort of thing. The Kim Johnsson incident gave them a good argument. But I don’t think a player sticks around the NHL that long – 15 seasons, not counting the lockout - if he isn’t bringing something to the table.
So here’s to you, Brad. Your name will look good on that Cup.