Wait, what? A blog archive from almost 20 years ago? That's right. A lot of you kids don't know this, but sports blogging has been around for a long time.
Well before the internet even existed, diehard sports fans like me were posting our thoughts for the world -- it was just done a little bit differently than today. For example, back in the day we "blogged" by writing in longhand in pen in a spiral notebook. If you wanted to add a photo, you cut one out of a magazine. When you were done, you "posted" your content by taping it to your front window. If other people liked your work, they would link to it by drawing an arrow pointing to your house and taping it to their own window.
Not many people noticed what you wrote, but occasionally somebody would wander by and read a few words. Then they'd usually roll their eyes, ring your doorbell, wait for you to open the door, and then drag you into the street to beat you up. So in that sense, not much has really changed.
So anyway, let's dive into the DGB archives. Today we'll travel back exactly seventeen years ago - May 27, 1993. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Los Angeles, playing the Kings in Game Six of the Western Conference final. The Leafs hold a 3-2 series lead and are one win away from meeting the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals. And a young DGB was liveblogging every moment.
We'll pick up the action late in the third period, with the Leafs trailing 4-3.
1:38 a.m. - Wow, is it ever late. I guess that's what happens when you've got a west coast game that doesn't start until 11:00 in the east. If this game goes to overtime I'm going to be completely exhausted tomorrow. I hope I'm not too sleepy for football practice, given my role as the star quarterback. I'd hate to disappoint my loving and devoted girlfriend, every member of the cheerleading squad.
1:40 a.m. - Hey, still, these late games are way better than playing in the middle of the afternoon, am I right? Man. I don't know why NBA fans put up with that.
1:42 a.m. - OK, back to the game. The Kings are still holding on to their one-goal lead. The Leafs look exhausted, which I suppose is to be expected. After winning two consecutive seven-game series, they're now playing their 20th game in 39 nights. It's a stretch of games that's literally unprecedented in NHL history, and you have to figure they're running on fumes.
It would have been nice for them to get some rest during this run, but then again what's the league supposed to do -- take a week off in the middle of the playoffs for no reason? Good luck sustaining any interest if you did that.
1:45 a.m. - Leafs still trailing. I know I shouldn't look ahead, but I can't help but think we'd have a great chance against the Habs in the finals. Don't get me wrong, the Habs are a great team and will no doubt be making regular appearances in the conference finals for years to come. But they've also been on an incredible streak of good luck -- they've won an amazing seven straight OT games this post-season. Seven! There's simply no way that can continue in the next round.
I guess what I'm saying is I don't see the Habs beating either of these teams in the finals unless something completely miraculous happens.
1:46 a.m. - Hey, totally off-topic, but have you noticed how Marty McSorley never seems to get any air under his shots? I have a friend who works on the Kings' equipment staff, I'm going to call him up after this series and suggest Marty start using a bigger curve on his stick.
1:48 a.m. - Two minutes left. It's now or never for the Leafs. If they're going to make history tonight, somebody has to step up right now.
1:49 a.m. - Felix Potvin stops a Kings 3-on-2 with 90 seconds left. He quickly plays it up to Gilmour, then heads for the bench. The Leafs are pressing as Wendel Clark hits the ice as the sixth attacker. Dougie finds him with a seeing eye pass... and Wendel is all alone at the top of the circle!
1:49 a.m. - Clark winds...
1:49 a.m. - Clark shoots...
(Editor's note: The notebook's next few pages are stuck together. Skipping ahead a bit.)
1:53 a.m. - (Extinguishes cigarette.)
1:55 a.m. - Wendel Clark is simply unstoppable tonight. That was his third goal, and they've all been beauties. This might be the greatest game of his career. Hell, it might be the greatest game of any Leaf's career, ever. He's single-handedly willing the Leafs into the finals, and there's not a damn thing the Kings can do about it.
Mark my words: the Leafs are winning this game in overtime on their first even-strength shift.
1:57 a.m. - Holy crap... Glenn Anderson just drove Rob Blake headfirst into the end boards in the dying seconds of regulation. He got two minutes for boarding, and the Kings will start OT on the powerplay.
Now look, some Leaf fans are going to complain about a penalty being handed out this late in a crucial game. But I'm going to defend the referee, whoever that is tonight. What Anderson did is a penalty. Period. It's right there in the rulebook. And you have to call it, even if it's an important game. Nay, you have to call it because it's an important game. The rules are the rules, and you can't ignore them just because you have to make an unpopular call.
1:58 a.m. - Turns out the referee tonight is Kerry Fraser, by the way. Just making a note of it for the sake of completeness, I'm sure it won't end up being important.
2:00 a.m. - And we're into the intermission.
2:10 a.m. - Ugh. CBC is killing time before OT by showing us a bunch of Habs propaganda. They're doing features on some of their all-time greats. It's pretty standard stuff, although I did learn one thing: Did you know that former Habs tough guy John Ferguson has a son who was dropped down a flight of stairs as a baby, fifteen different times? Inspiring story. I wish them all the best.
2:12 a.m. - So nervous... We're one goal away from a trip the Stanley Cup finals. We just need to kill this penalty.
2:15 a.m. - And we're back. Here goes nothing.
2:17 a.m. - My god. Wayne Gretzky just high-sticked Doug Gilmour right in the face! Dougie is bleeding all over the ice. I don't have to tell you what that means: It's going to be five minutes and a game, since that's what the rulebook says and is how it's been called every single other time it's happened all year.
2:18 a.m. - I mean, I really can't overstate how incredible this turn of events is. Wayne Gretzky is going to get kicked out of this game. They'll play four-on-four for a few more seconds, and then the Leafs will have an extended powerplay.
2:18 a.m. - Look, not to get ahead of myself here, but good God almighty, the Leafs are going to score on this powerplay. There's no doubt in my mind. Wendel is unstoppable tonight. He's going to score, the Leafs are going to win the game, and then they're going to play the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. I am literally seconds away from experiencing what will no doubt stand as the greatest moment of my young life.
2:19 a.m. - Hm, it's taking a lot longer than usual to call this penalty.
2:19 a.m. - One more thought while they clear up whatever minor procedural matter is causing this delay. This highsticking major on Wayne Gretzky, the announcement of which is no doubt a mere formality, is going to go down as one of the most stunning calls in NHL history. It will be discussed for decades. And Kerry Fraser is going to be the one to make it.
Imagine how he feels right now. With 20,000 fans in the building and millions more watching on TV, he's been handed a chance to make one of the toughest calls in league history. This is the moment that every official in every sport dreams of. This exact moment is why you ever pick up that whistle in the first place.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: For the rest of hockey history, whenever you hear the phrase "Cowardly referee who stares down the biggest call of his career and chokes on his whistle and then lies about it", you will immediately think: "The exact opposite of Kerry Fraser".
2:20 a.m. - Um, why is Wayne Gretzky taking the faceoff?
2:20 a.m. - WHY IS WAYNE GRETZKY TAKING THE FACEOFF???
2:20 a.m. - Oh god, he didn't call it. He didn't call it he didn't call it he didn't call it he didn't call it...
(Editor's note: That goes on for several dozen pages. I'm just going to skip ahead.)
2:22 a.m. - Hockey gods? Can we talk?
Look, I understand what's happening here. Kerry Fraser just refused to call an obvious penalty that could have helped send the Leafs to an historic showdown with the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. I see what you're doing, and I know where this is going. I know the Leafs are going to lose this game now. Every Leaf fan knows it. In fact, there's really no reason to string us along. You might as well just have the goal happen right now.
But first, just one request: Have it be somebody other than Gretzky who scores, OK? Anyone but the guy who's still got Dougie's blood on his stick. That's not to much to ask, is it?
I'm so young and full of hope right now. My whole life as a hockey fan is spread out before me. So much optimism. So much possibility. And I can't help but feel like this could be a turning point, hockey gods. If you let Gretzky score right here, I'm going to have to go ahead and assume that you hate Leaf fans and want us to suffer forever. And I don't know if I could handle that.
But I do know this: I really don't want to turn into some bitter, burnt out Leaf fan who rants about things that happened a generation ago in a way that starts off funny but gradually just makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Don't let that happen to me, hockey gods. Please.
Just not Gretzky. Anyone but Gretzky.
2:23 a.m. - Of course.
2:24 a.m. - I will not cry. You will not get that satisfaction, hockey gods. Not tonight.
(Editor's note: The next few entries are hard to read. I must have spilled a glass of water on them or something.)
2:32 a.m. - You know what? This isn't the end of this series. Sure, it's a terrible way to lose. Sure, it will probably cost Kerry Fraser his career because even the zero-accountability NHL wouldn't try to defend this level of incompetence and will no doubt fire him first thing tomorrow morning.
But I'm not going to let this get me down. After all, I still have a lot going for me. The Blue Jays continue to dominate against smaller markets like Boston. Letterman's new show will debut soon and wipe Leno off the air for good. And Chinese Democracy should be out by the end of the year.
And most important of all: There's still game seven, Saturday night at the Gardens. The Leafs still have a shot. They may win. They may lose. But they still have a shot.
And I'll tell you this much: Wayne Gretzky just used up a lifetime worth of luck tonight. If he's going to be a factor in game seven, he better be ready to play the best game of his career. Because if there's any justice left in the world, his days of lucky fluke goals are over.
Leafs in seven, baby. They're winning this series, and then they're beating the Habs. The dynasty begins now. The Maple Leafs are winning the Stanley Cup.
Because, man... god help me if they don't.