I asked a couple of players yesterday if there’s any added pressure playing two games in front of their fathers this weekend. I know that might sound ridiculous. These are millionaire athletes who play in packed arenas. Some have played in Stanley Cup Finals and Olympics.
But dads are different, trust me. I’ve never played in a packed arena (although I’ve blogged in a packed arena — that’s pressure), but I can remember countless games as a young player when my father would be in the same corner of the rink, cupping his hands around his mouth and imploring me to “Skate!” Later, after reviewing my play on the car ride home, we’d retreat to the kitchen, where Dad would diagram plays on a napkin or a newspaper.
It didn’t matter if I scored two goals or was on the ice for four against. Until my father gave his assessment, I didn’t really know how well or poorly I played (the same goes for newspaper stories, by the way. If my dad likes my work, I’ve done my job. If he doesn’t, well, at least he doesn’t diagram my mistakes on napkins anymore).
But again, that’s just me. As for the Rangers, they have plenty else to worry about. Although they’ve won two straight, their last win over the hapless Islanders was harldy in convincing fashion. And now they’re facing a Chicago team that is more mature and more cohesive than when they last saw them way back on Oct. 10.
All of this serves as an intriguing backdrop for Dads’ Weekend. Maybe there isn’t any added pressure with their fathers around. But you’d have to think the weekend will be a lot more enjoyable if the team can pick up some points along the way.