Robitaille comes out flying against the Buffalo Sabres, scoring a second-period goal. Says MSG's John Davidson, "Luc looks really focused tonight."
6:30 p.m.: Dinner is served. I suggest we watch the Boston Celtic-Detroit Piston game while we dine. "I think we'll probably just turn the television off during dinner," says Laura. We do. She puts on a Mozart compact disc. I interpret this as passive aggression. Philistine watches sports on television. Person of culture enjoys classical music.
Chris Simon, a brawler whose shoulder-length hair makes him look like a member of the Meat Puppets rather than the Colorado Avalanche, scores an interesting goal in the third period of Colorado's game against the New Jersey Devils. Simon banks the puck off the face mask of Devil goalie Martin Brodeur and into the net. "Laura, you gotta check this out," I say.
Instead she seems to be checking out the mound of detritus that has risen around my viewing post: newspapers, plates, coffee mugs, Coke cans, a nearly empty bag of tortilla chips. Laura sounds as I imagine Dame Van Winkle did as she asks, "Could you please clean up your area and not just say you're going to do it, but actually do it?" The question contains three implications: I am a slob; I am a lazy slob; I am a lying, lazy slob. I comply only to reduce her store of ammunition.
The two NHL games I am following end dramatically in sudden death. The Devils' Stephane Richer beats Colorado's Jocelyn Thibault on a heart-stopping breakaway. In Miami, Kevin Haller of the Philadelphia Flyers uncorks a slap shot that caroms off the rump of a Florida Panther and past goalie John Vanbiesbrouck. Meanwhile, in Boston, the end of the Celtic-Piston game is dragged out like the death of Rasputin. The 10 or so fouls committed in the last two minutes bleed the drama from the game.
As Stan Fischler is interviewing Richer, Laura breezes past the set and asks, "Is that Dino Radja?"
The dish is a passage to a new universe. Like the real sports world, the universe of the dish abounds with disreputable and undesirable characters. Every so often you need to check for your wallet. On A Piece of the Game, a couple of guys you might expect to see in a used-car lot are peddling junk. Item 2138 is an autographed Marshall Faulk card that's going for a mere $49.95. Act now, they say, there are only 500 of these babies. "That's a small quantity, especially for a Rookie of the Year item," says one of the sharpies.
Item 2131 is a $135 baseball "hand-signed" by Cal Ripken. Hand-signed? As opposed to what?
9 a.m.: I am enjoying the novelty of ESPN2, which is not offered by my local cable carrier. I am especially enjoying a show called Kiana's Flex Appeal. In the proud tradition of Cher, Charo and Madonna, Kiana eschews a surname. For today's show she has chosen a white one-piece with a mesh midriff. She is standing over a muscular young man who is doing lat pull-downs. "O.K., five more," she commands. "Let's go!"