May 22, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) makes a save on Phoenix Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata (17) during the first period of game five of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena. The Kings beat the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
For context, you have to remember that Radim Vrbata scored 35 goals this year. He was the Coyotes' 2nd leading point producer and by far their biggest goal scoring threat. He had a career high shooting percentage and was probably feeling really good going into the playoffs.
And then he suddenly couldn't score.
I bet that really sucks. You probably feel like a dick and you know your teammates, your coaches, your fans and your city is counting on you and you just can't fucking score. It doesn't help when the 3 defensive pairings you see in the playoffs are Seabrook-Keith, Weber-Suter and Scuderi-Doughty, sure, but still. Phoenix is not a goal-scoring team and they rely heavily on Vrbata. I can't imagine how much pressure weighed on him every day.
I bet Vrbata tried 10 different things before each game trying to find his mojo, his confidence, his something that made him score all season long. He had 1 great game of the playoffs, game 2 of the series against Nashville, and then it was right back to the same funk. I doubt he cried or anything but he could've and I don't think any of us would have held it against him.
Against the Kings, Vrbata was fairly invisible. He averaged 2.4 shots a game, half a point down from his season average, and he had 1 measly assist in 5 games. His best scoring chance came in game 4, on a 3-2 rush. Ray Whitney threaded a beautiful pass over to Vrbata and Vrbata had a point-blank chance on a down & out Jonathan Quick. Here it was, when his team needed him the most, Vrbata was finally going to come through. It was so glorious...
...And then Jonathan Quick's fucking toe got in the way.
With any luck, Radim Vrbata's life is ruined forever.