OK, one of the biggest choke jobs in sports history may be a significant overstatement. This was a regular season NHL game. I know little of hockey or the significance that this choke job played in the overall grand scheme of the 2007 NHL season, but — regardless of situation — this is an all-time choke job. Like if this happened in the Stanley Cup, it would 1B to Buckner’s 1A or maybe even the other way around.
The Dallas Stars were up 5-4 on the Edmonton Oilers when Patrick Stefan gathered a loose puck and headed towards an empty net to seal the victory for the Stars. That’s when this happened:
First of all, I want to point out whoever the announcer is acting like Stefan just decided to pull his pants down and take a big s*** on the ice. Seems a bit harsh to me. “That has no place in the National Hockey League.” Like the guy missed an empty net. He didn’t decapitate a puppy. Unless he’s a saboteur like Jim from the Office using a sniper rifle in Call of Duty, then lay off him a bit. He feels worse than anybody. He choked, plain and simple.
Second, Stefan is of course going to get all the blame for this — video of this is the first thing you get when you type his name into YouTube — but this whole disaster could have been prevented if his teammates could have just not let Edmonton go the length of the ice in seven seconds and score a goal. They could have saved Stefan from being THAT GUY and from me taking the time to write this, but they didn’t so here I am. Writing about hockey. A sport that I don’t watch yet still feel qualified to comment on the magnitude of this choke job.
Now I’m not completely ill-prepared as I did a little research on this Stefan to supplement and it turns out that he’s one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history being taken first overall in 1999. So I imagine this Stefan incident being the equivalent of Kwame Brown missing a wide-open dunk (oh, it’s happened) with seconds left to seal a victory and then the other team getting the rebound, going the length of the floor, and winning or tying the game up. Stefan is basically like Kwame Brown on steroids because not even the man, the myth, the legend known as Kwaaaaaaaamay Brown was able to pull off something like that.
Poor guy, but guess what? The Stars actually won this game in overtime. I know, I would’ve bet everything I had that the Stars ended up losing but that’s why I don’t gamble (I do… compulsively).
Happy anniversary, Patrick.