Here’s a story you will read in every Canadian newspaper tomorrow.
VANCOUVER — On the game’s biggest stage, and in the most important game of his life, Roberto Luongo ____________ (answered his critics/imploded horribly), spilling thousands of Vancouver fans into the street in paroxysms of ____________ (sheer joy/blinding rage).
Luongo, who in many ways was the crux of the series’ bizarre and numerous turning points, played ____________ (extremely well/mind-bendingly poorly) in allowing ____________ (0/12) goals and turning aside ____________ (14/three) shots in ____________ (60/eight) minutes of action.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Luongo said, nursing a ____________ (victory cigar/black eye given to him by Raffi Torres). “I put Game 6 out of my mind because ____________ (that’s what you have to do in this situation/I repressed it like any other traumatic event). I know I’ve been criticized a lot in the last ____________ (couple of weeks/decade) so to come out tonight and prove all the doubters ____________ (wrong/right), was the ____________ (best/absolute worst) thing that ever happened to me. Now I’m going to go home and ____________ (celebrate/write my last will and testament before slitting my wrists).”
The hero of the day was ____________ (Ryan Kesler/Brad Marchand), who scored the game’s ____________ (only goal/first of 17 goals) at ____________ (15:23 of the third period/0:01 of the first period). And astonishingly, after the game it was revealed that he ____________ (had been playing with six cracked ribs/punched Daniel Sedin in the face 14 more times without anyone even attempting to stop him for some weird reason).
It was another ____________ (exhilarating win/soul-shattering defeat) for the Canucks in a series, and indeed playoff season, littered with them. Vancouver fans waited with ____________ (bated breath/horrified bemusement) for the final seconds to run off the clock, so that the Stanley Cup could be awarded by ____________ (Commissioner Gary Bettman/the man who perpetrated the vast conspiracy against the Canucks) to ____________ (Henrik Sedin/a giant ogre) and the ____________ (jubilation/finger-pointing) could properly begin.
When all was said and done, the ____________ (Canucks/Bruins) skated the Cup around Rogers Arena as ____________ (hundreds of pounds of confetti/both Sedins) lay on the ice, waiting ____________ (to be swept up/for tripping calls from the second period) and ____________ (cheers/half-empty beer cups thrown from the 300 level) showered down upon them.
On the other side of the ice, Tim Thomas was ____________ (almost Luongo’s equal/predictably much better than Luongo). Vancouver’s home ice advantage was ____________ (just too much to overcome/ruined by Luongo being completely incompetent in every way).
Now for the Canucks comes a long summer of ____________ (their fans acting like they were completely confident the whole time/trying to figure out a way to kill Luongo without having his contract count against the cap). And for the Bruins, the chance to ____________ (regroup for another, maybe final, run with Tim Thomas between the pipes/make more wicked funny “fingah” jokes in celebration of their first Cup since ____________ (1972/all their fans started following them in May)).
And through it all, Roberto Luongo was in front of his stall, ____________ (grinning/sobbing in the fetal position). Just like we all thought he would.