In the Hall of a King: Foley’s Last Call; Hawks Outshoot Sharks
“Fol-ey, Fol-ey, Fol-ey!” Can you hear it, Chicago? I can hear it. And I heard it Thursday night at the Madhouse, and I’ll hear it again for the rest of my life.
Last Thursday, the great Pat Foley, voice of the Chicago Blackhawks for the previous 39 years, made his last call, and I was lucky enough to be present, and I saw his story come to a close with a W in a shootout. I’m not sure whether I had written it up myself, there could have been a much more gut-wrenching, brutal, goals-taken-away, fights-breaking-out, grinder of a last-minute shootout victory to send off one of the best to have ever done the job.
The Hawks came out hot. One minute and eighteen seconds into the game, Kaner lasers one in the back of the net on a three-one break for his 24th goal this season. What a start to the night. The rafters were roaring; the horn sounded; the Madhouse was going Mad, man, it felt great to be near that ice. I had a good feeling that we would end our 8-game skid and send off Foley right.
But it turned into a game quickly. 4:45 in, and Meier tied things up at 1-all. 7:06 in, Veil and Stillman got into a beauty of a brawl (head over to Hockey Fights to check it out. I think Stillman got the best of him). Hawks headed to the power play early in the second, and Raddysh puts us up 2-1 13:35 in. Two minutes later, we’re tied again with Reedy getting a lucky deflection off deHaan’s skate, but then after some more roughing calls and unsportsmanlike brawls with 1:18 left in the second, deHaan made up for it by redirecting in a shot from Kaner marching us up TREE-two going into the CHIRD and feeling pretty good about ourselves. (Should’ve been 4-2 as one goal that clearly broke the backline was taken back by the officials, one of the more atrocious calls I’ve seen, honestly). But things were made right again by Strome 4:07 into the 3rd; Hawks go up four-deuce. 5:40 in Balcers makes it a game again at 3-4. Then things rode on relatively smoothly for most of the third. I snuck down from standing room only and found some excellent seats right by the booth for Pat’s last send-off, and then what do you know, at 16:35, Megna evens us up at 4-apiece, and we start to panic. Surely we can’t lose for
Pat’s honorary night, can we? Blowing a 4-2 lead? Well, we had to earn it because there came OT.
Overall, over time had a couple breathless moments, but for the most part, we held together really well, and with a couple great defensive takeaways and stops from Lank, two teams that were both on eight-game skids found their way to a shootout.
With home-ice advantage, we send out none other than Captain Serious himself. Toews makes some nice moves but overplays himself a bit = no goal. Hertl is up for the Sharks, makes his approach = save. We send out Kaner; he gets too fancy = no goal. Couture skates out for the Sharks; that man can shoot = stopped. Here comes The Cat, pushes Reimer deep into his net; dekes him = GOAL. This could be it. Karlsson is up, makes a solid drive, pulls Lank out a bit toofar, he cheats back = DENIED. That was it, folks! Somehow The Mighty Blackhawks pulled it off for dear ole Pat. What a night. I hope you all enjoyed my play-by-homage to a true king of the booth.
Pat raised a final cold one in his own commemorative glass with his good buddy Eddy O. The rafters roared again. And naturally, I have to let Pat take us out once more with the last words from his final call, “Goodnight, Chicago. I hope you enjoyed the broadcast.”
-RM Kamm (IG: @rmkamm.wrote / Twitter: @RM_Kamm)