Monday, March 5, 2012

Lad of the Week

Allow me to introduce you to Connor Crisp.

Now I know what you’re all thinking, who in the hell is Connor Crisp? And until Sunday afternoon I would have said the exact same thing. “There is only one CC in my books,” I likely would’ve shouted.

A native of Alliston, Ontario, Crisp is a forward for the OHL’s Erie Otters. I feel like that part bears repeating Connor Crisp is a forward for the Erie Otters. Now I don’t know all the details of this story but I think there are some elements that we can safely assume.

On Saturday night, Crisp drank heavily. Yet to suit up for a game in the 2011/2012 season, I'm sure he thought his Sunday was pretty open. He likely figured he could kick back and watch his teammates take on one of the OHL’s top teams in the Niagara Ice Dogs, maybe drive a dog or two into him and call it a day. Yes indeed, a nice little Sunday at the rink for Mr. Connor Crisp.

Except shortly after puck drop, things took an eerie turn for the Otters (Sorry).

When starting goalie Ramis Sadikov was knocked out of the game only 1:45 into the opening period, the Otters found themselves in a bit of a pickle. With no back up goalie dressed (the usual guy had been injured earlier that weekend) the Otters were desperate for someone to strap on the pads.

Enter Crisp. The way I picture it, CC was likely lounging in the press box, punishingly hung-over but excited to take in an afternoon of puck. But you see a hangover is a funny thing. A hangover has a way of sending you down the most unlikely path. And on Sunday afternoon, that’s exactly what happened to Connor Crisp.

With the Otters faced with a Crisp or forfeit proposition, they went with Crisp. With absolutely no prior goaltending experience, Crisp heroically dawned the equipment of the fallen Sadikov (the skates were three sizes too small) and entered the game. This is the kind of thing they make movies about. An unknown young go-getter takes over at a position he’s never played and beats the league’s best team. Only that’s not quite how it happened.

His first step onto the ice, he slipped. During warm ups he took a pretty hilarious fall. The first shot he faced, a weak wrister from outside the blueline, trickeled in. “Ok, Crispy, not the start we were looking for but we’ll get the next one,” I can imagine Crisp muttering.

Before it was over, 13 pucks found their way past Crisp. A relentless and somewhat uncalled for Ice Dogs attack peppered Crisp all afternoon, 46 shots, 13 goals. As the final horn sounded, Crisp was congratulated by both teams. When the Three Stars were announced, Connor Crisp was named the first star.

Crisp took Hangover Sundays to a whole new level. And for that, he is Lad of the Week.