Note: This post is made significantly better by listening to Kanye's Runaway while reading- here's a toast to the Boucher.
I'll admit it, I get choked up at some of these. That either means A) I'm a pansy or B) I have an unhealthy penchant for grown men achieving things that I can't. Neither option is good.
Here's the NHL's newest "history" commercial, starring Brian Boucher (after the jump).
The play Bouche made to remove his helmet during a 5-on-3 – even though he's downplaying it – displayed the exact difference between him and Bob, who was clearly rattled and out of sorts in Game 2. Bouche is at ease – almost more-so – in the playoffs. To have the presence of mind to inform the referee of his broken helmet and then remove it is simply uncanny.
Now Bouche has a chance to finish what he started. Back in 2000, he led the Flyers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They lost that final game to the Devils, 2-1, capping off a blown three games-to-one lead in the series. I was 16 at the time, and remember standing out in the parking lot trying to get autographs as the Flyers pulled away. Bouche was one of the few guys who stopped (along with Keith Primeau, I believe). Here was this young goalie, who had just blown (not his fault) a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, sitting in the parking lot signing autographs. His face was freshly shaven, having just removed the playoff goatee he was sporting throughout the spring. He couldn't have been any nicer.
Last year, when attending a game in a suite, I met one of my buddies who works for the Flyers. He was taking Bouche, who was injured at the time, around to meet with various season ticket holders and VIPs (read: people who they didn't want to cancel their season tickets). When I jokingly asked how much Bouche must be hating that role, my friend laughed and said, "Bouche is the man, he'll do whatever you ask."
It seems that's his role on the team, too.
After getting a chance to be the starting goalie in the playoffs last year, he injured his knee and was forced to watch Michael Leighton lumber his way to Game 6 of the Finals. This year, with Leighton injured, the job appeared to be Bouche's. Instead, on opening night, Lavs started a guy we never heard of, Sergei Bobrovsky. For the rest of the season, Bouche was yo-yo'd with Bob, and never once complained about it.
As if things weren't awkward enough, two weeks ago, the Flyers recalled Michael Leighton to hover over the shoulders of Bob and Bouche. Yesterday, we were informed that Bouche would start, and that it would be Leighton who would be sitting on the bench, waiting to spell him at the first sign of trouble. There was none.
Bouche was on 97.5 with Mike Missanelli [listen to the interview here] earlier and, as per the usual, he downplayed his role:
Right now I’m getting an opportunity to play. Obviously they made a goalie change there in Game 2, where they pulled Sergei and we ended up getting a win. For now, I’m enjoying the moment I have to play and I’m doing my best.
Bouche, when asked if he was superstitious and would order the same entree at the restaurant where the Flyers ate at on Monday and will be returning to tonight, said he would:
Oh yeah. We’re very superstitious. When you play in a place and you win, you’ll go to the same restaurant, wear the same clothes, you’ll do all the same things.
What did you order?
I ordered rigatoni and chicken, so I’ll have to get the same thing. Although, I didn’t think it was that good. But I’ll have to get the same thing.
Whatever it takes.
There you have it. 11 years later, it's still Bouche. He has a chance – at least for now – to finish what he started. How can you not root for him? He just answers the call.
The video… is after the jump.