In the black depths of space there exist roving masses of rock and ice known as comets. Traveling at millions of miles per hour for year after endless year, they are the closest nature has to an unstoppable force. Unknowable tons of harsh, frozen, unyielding stone, some billions of years old, ready to destroy anything in its path.
Tonight in San Jose, we get to witness what happens when two of these mighty forces clash. The metaphorical comets are the Ducks and the Sharks, and at 7:30 PM the cataclysm is set to begin.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is preseason hockey. There are few things under God's eyes that come close to this spectacle.
Young men will leave their hearts on the icy battlefield tonight. Fortunes will be carved by flashing steel blades.
The souls of each player will bind together in holy union with those of his team mates, coalescing into a hockey Mahatma, a great and pure force of desire reaching for the glorious light.
Every sinew and bone and muscle will ache and strain and cry out : Adsum! Aut vincere aut mori! Ad victorium!
This night will belong to truly astonishing warriors, the likes of which have rarely been seen in history: Thornton*. Getzlaf*. Boyle*. Visnovsky*. Wingles. Newton. Without hyperbole, these are some of the greatest men who have ever lived, in this era or any other. Each man stands astride the Earth like a colossus, and their contests are enough to shake the foundations of our very world.
These two majestic forces came together days ago for round one of this titanic struggle. Like Arnold Palmer or Mike Tyson in their primes, the Ducks were merciless. The gallant soldiers of the Sharks were cut to ribbons. It was hideous and beautiful in the same paradoxical moment. As the resolute Sharks come back again to redeem themselves, it reminds one of the famous lines from Invictus, the poem by William Ernest Henley:
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
There are certain moments which transcend sports and unite an entire generation. Tonight's game will undoubtedly be one of these era-defining events.
This is the passion of the preseason.
Ducks at Sharks, 7:30 PM.
* = May not play tonight.