When I returned home from last night’s thrilling shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers, as I turned on some lights and made my way through the house I noticed something. The whole place was cleaned stem to stern. Everything was in its place, floors cleaned and vacuumed, kitchen mopped, furniture dusted…really, the place looked great.
Now normally such an endeavor is spearheaded by the Divine Mrs. R. She’s great that way…and is yet another reason why I always say that I “out-kicked my coverage” when I married her. She did have both our boys at home last night, so it just seemed natural that she led this latest house cleaning expedition.
However, much to my surprise, I found out this morning that it was actually the youngest tax-exemption that took command of the situation and enlisted his older brother in the charge. Their mother didn’t have to lift a finger in the effort.
When I asked what possible could have come over the boy, she simply informed me that he wants to bring his gal-pal over tonight to watch a movie. Understanding that if he invites guests over, it’s his responsibility to make sure the house is put into a guest-presentable fashion, even up to his mother’s standards…standards that are quite high.
It’s amazing what a boy is capable of if/when properly motivated, isn’t it?
Speaking of being “properly motivated”…can someone please explain to me just what has gotten into that kid Tim Stapleton lately? I mean, he played in, what, 25 games this season before finally finding the back of the net on February 25? He had only one assist in that time and it came way back on January 22.
But since that time he has scored four times in the last nine games. He came into to the season with only 3 career goals in 10 NHL games.
And these haven’t been meaningless scores at the tail end of 7-1 blowout games. His first one tied the score late in the third against the Maple Leafs…a game the Thrashers went on to win in overtime. Then there was the OT game-winner in Carolina from a nice feed from Ron Hainsey, who himself is stepping his game up of late.
Last night it was Timmy getting the offense started by potting the evening’s first goal. He took an up-ice pass from Evander Kane early in the first period, streaked like a lightning bolt through and around the right side of the Flyers’ defense and then snapped the puck through Brian Boucher.
What is it that’s “motivating” Stapleton during this recent little tear of his? Maybe being waived last month has something to factor into the equation here…certainly his attitude and disposition must have something to do with it as well. When informed he’d been placed on waivers he was very candid in saying he didn’t blame the team one bit…that his production was worthy of the action.
So, instead of pouting and whining about it, he simply continued to work his butt off on the ice during games and has taken advantage of the playing time afforded him. That’s a very mature way to respond to the situation, if you ask me and he’s to be commended for it.
Somebody else I’d like to put a spotlight on here is one Bryan Little. Last night his efforts finally paid off in a goal, something that hasn’t happened for him since I think the Eisenhower administration. No, really it’s only been since February 3 against Calgary. But I’m sure to him going sixteen games without tickling the twine seems that long.
Little has contributed with 12 assists during that goalless drought and his hustle on both ends of the ice has always been evident.
And I don’t want to leave out Blake Wheeler from by kudos-fest here. This kid has impressed me ever since he found his way to Thrasherville from Boston last month. He never takes a shift off, uses his size to his advantage, battles on the boards and always seems to come out of the corners with the puck. It was very fitting he was the one who scored the game-winning goal in the shootout…an “oops, I lost the puck…oh look I just put it past you” type of effort.
Much like Little, I don’t think it’s as much as being “motivated” recently for Wheeler as it is just that is what he brings to the game night in and night out.
While I’ve spotlighted a handful of players that stood out to me in the big win over Philly, in fact last night’s outcome was in large part because of an overall team effort…one that saw the squad play as close to a full game as I’ve seen in a long while. It’s what will be needed during Saturday’s tilt in Buffalo.
Given the run the Thrashers have been on of late, that matchup against the Sabres now turns out to be HUGE, to say the least. They can pull within two of a playoff spot if with a regulation win…something this team has not been able to accomplish since February 11.
In fact, last night’s extra-time affair was the 26th of the season for the Thrashers, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by coach Craig Ramsay who remarked after the game, “It would be nice if we could get a lead and keep it and not have to play so many extra minutes”.
It’ll still take a remarkable finish, maybe even a miraculous one. But they’ve at least played there way to this point over the last six games starting with the dramatic come-from-behind win over the Maple Leafs. If they’d lost that game, it would have been the third straight defeat during a five-game home stand. Instead it turned into a W and led to this current 4-1-1 run.
And the play in that game that helped to start it all was the jam-home goal by Tim Stapleton to tie the score late. Both he and the team have played very since that time.
What’s been the spark, the motivation for Stapes?
I dunno…maybe being waived?
Maybe his gal’s in town paying him a visit?