In light of the tragic events that preceded the postponed game in Ottawa yesterday, I'd like to turn to someone far more fit than I to offer words for the situation. Let's go to Bob McKenzie and his thoughtful piece from yesterday. Give the whole thing a read if you want to get an idea of what Ottawa looked like before and after Wednesday's tragedy:
As I sat down at a table with my lunch, I happened to be seated close to a large group of teenagers, obviously on lunch break from their school.
It's funny to watch kids interact with each other sometimes. You never know what you're going to get but this group of kids, spread out over two or three tables, struck me as maybe the nicest, happiest kids you could possibly imagine.
In fact, it so made an impression on me I briefly thought about tweeting that I just saw a group of high school kids in Ottawa who made me feel really good about the world, about our "community," how uplifting it was to see such inherently "good" or "nice" kids, or so it seemed to me. I thought of their parents and how pleased they must be at how well, at face value anyway, their kids looked to be turning out.
I thought better of tweeting something, though, not feeling like opening a door to Twitter trolls, but as I went about my business in the mall -- going over to Hudson's Bay Co. to get a new watch battery; stopping by Chapter's to see if my book was on display; dropping into Starbucks for a tea before going back to the hotel to get my room -- I thought about how much I enjoy Ottawa, how safe and comfortable it always is there, how maybe more than any Canadian city I visit, it feels like home.
And amid the reports of the mall and the hotels and the schools and the office buildings downtown being locked down with reports of gun fire ringing out, I thought of those high school kids and I wondered how they must be feeling, how different it would have been from when I saw them last week.
None of us are naive enough to deny the existence of evil. It's all around us and it doesn't discriminate, not by country or city or town or village, so we shouldn't be surprised when it violently appears out of nowhere. When it does, there's no immunity.
Which is what makes today such a difficult one for everyone everywhere.
But I'm sure it won't be long before I'm in Ottawa again and I'm going to go the mall and I hope I see those kids, still happy and smiling, doing their part to make sure good triumphs over evil.
Stay safe, Ottawa. Stay strong. [TSN]
Bob McKenzie, ladies and gentlemen.
Here's the Canadian national anthem being sung in Pittsburgh last night, just to round things out.
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Thursday links couldn't get going with anything more delicious than this: Farewell Frederic's Official Guide to the Tyler Seguin Goal Counter. Donuts=goals, people. [DBD Fanshot]
Mike Heika has some observations on the Vancouver game. The Stars have some learning to do after that one. [DMN]
The Stars-Canucks game was "unfair" for Vancouver, according to some. That marshmallow goal that went blocker to stick knob to net, gee whiz. Gee. Whiz. [Province]
Mike Heika also compared the Stars this season to Texas fireworks: you just never know. [DMN]
Remember Colorado's amazing Wojtek Wolski? He was good, then he wasn't. Call it Fabian Brunnstrom syndrome, maybe. [The Hockey Writers]
Minnesota has extended "power forward" Charlie Coyle for five years. [NHL]
Slava Voynov's lawyer is confident that the Kings defenseman "never hit" the lady involved in the current investigation that has caused Voynov to be indefinitely suspended. [THN]
Awful news for the Blue Jackets, but worse news for Nathan Horton: his back problems might end his career. [Columbus Dispatch]
Is Eric Staal already on a pretty steady decline? Travis Yost suspects so. [TSN]
The Penguins rocked their new third jerseys last night. Icethetics has found two other concepts that almost ended up as third jerseys alongside Wild Wing and the Burger King back in the '90s. [Icethetics]
Derek Neumeier runs down the top 10 contenders so far for the NHL's top rookie. Not "run down" literally. [The Hockey Writers]
The Norfolk Admirals of the AHL have signed Aaron Rome to a tryout in case you were thinking he was coming back to town. [Norfolk Admirals]
Clint Malarchuk nearly died from a skate blade cut to his jugular vein in 1989. He would go on to attempt suicide and live with PTSD for years before an amazing counselor turned things around for him. Here's a really inspiring excerpt. [SportsNet]
Let's end on a heartwarming note. Alex Pietrangelo talks about shaving his head as a tribute to his five-year-old niece who is battling cancer: