When I got in the car and switched off from my customary Home Ice 204 this morning, the first song I heard was Duffy's Mercy.
*I'm begging please.
Stop playing games.*
I realize this is not what Duffy was going for here, but I couldn't help but think of one thing when I heard this.
*You got me begging you for mercy.
Why won't you release me?*
One particular name being bandied about a lot right now.
Maybe it was yesterday's apparent confusion and disagreement among the Rangers beat writers on whether Prucha or Voros will dress for tonight's game (At last count, it was seemingly certain Korpikoski would return, but the beat writers were 2 to 1 in thinking Voros would remain in, and Prucha would remain out.). Maybe it's the fact that such back and forth on the page, and in my head, kept me up last night.
And last night I was tired. One of those tireds where you are too tired to do anything but sleep. And yet you can't. You walk through the motions. Simple things like washing your face and brushing your teeth take a half an hour. All the while your brain is going back and forth, back and forth, thinking about one singular thing. And you know it's all futile. All in vain. Yet you continue.
Days like yesterday make me long for the days before blogs, blogs where beat writers post line combos and scratches the day before or the day of a game. I enjoyed it for a while, and perhaps I will again, but in a year like this, it's making me long for the previous ignorance of just not knowing.
In a year like this where there are changes to lineups almost game by game, and certainly decisions made completely with the whim of reaching into a bag and pulling out a name, such knowledge makes me an anxious and paranoid person.
For it wasn't like I had to go to the Garden on a given night to find out who was playing. Instead, speculation, and very often correct speculation based on the unwritten rules of practice conduct, is posted before I go to lunch on game days. There is no secret.
Well, there's no secret, I suppose, of who is playing. There is, however, a secret of why.
I can take time - again - to ask why certain decisions are being made, why certain players are getting opportunities and others are not. But I don't know if my hours of tossing and turning last night bought any new revelation to light. Save one.
The musical chairs/roulette wheel/carousel has now become a roller coaster ride. Of a player's career and of his self confidence. No matter how much I want his time with the team to continue, for his love of the team and for my love of watching him play here, I still want the roller coaster ride to stop. There is no fair in hockey. That much has been proven again and again in countless ways. But I realized if this saga is affecting myself, and so many other fans, as much as this, how in the world is it truly affecting him. The guy we're talking about. The heart. The soul. The character. How is it affecting him? It is, after all, his life. He deserves to get to live it. And I truly believe, as much as I know he wants to stay here, that if he were traded to a team that let him play, he'd have to be happier than he is right now. Playing, not playing, and not being told why either way. No hockey player wants to be sitting on the sidelines. That's why they are hockey players. They ultimately want to play.
He might be too proud or too good a person to say so. But I'm sure Petr Prucha has got to be close to saying what I'm saying right now:
*I'm begging you for mercy.
Why won't you release me?*