Books Off The Crossbar – SavedMarch 15, 2009
I cannot find the words to adequately express my thoughts on the Sabres collapse last night. So far, I’m working off of different variations of “I hate them all” and “Goodbye playoffs, hello golf course.” That’s not enough to base an entire entry on, so please enjoy a brief book review.
Since late last year, John Buccigross’ column has regularly featured snippets of writings by the late Jack Falla. I was intrigued enough to pick Saved up at the library a couple of weeks ago and finished it the other night.
Saved is told from the point of view of JP Savard, Boston Bruins goalie. On the ice, he’s trying to put together a Cup winning season before heading into his big free agent contract year. Off the ice, he’s trying to find the right woman, dating a string of women who are mainly identified by their name and occupation (Sherri the Equestrienne, Julie the Account Exec, etc). It is only until Cam Carter, Savard’s best friend and teammate since college, re-introduces him to Faith, their old friend from college, that Savard’s off-ice life begins to even out. On the ice, we follow the ups and downs of a typical NHL season: injuries, losing streaks and the wackiness perpetrated by front office bean counting. It also details the struggle a player undergoes to come back from injury, both the physical rehab aspect and the mental struggle to know what to do with yourself while you’re hurt.
There were a couple of moments out genuine out loud laughter while reading this book. Savard notes that the Bruins third jersey looks like it contains the image of “Winnie the Pooh’s stoned grandfather.” In making this observation, he rightly states that third jerseys are nothing more than money grabbing schemes by the front office (and that the people who fall for them are idiots). Savard also notes that his girlfriend’s wardrobe could double as the Montreal Canadiens power play, as it consists solely of French designers.
Any hockey fan will appreciate this book. Falla, who covered the NHL for Sports Illustrated in the 80s, has an intimate grasp of the details of the game. The writing is rich and detailed and Falla includes a lot of hockey history to flesh out some of the characters’ thoughts and actions.
There’s one quote from the book that has stuck with me. “The first rule of life, love and hockey is the same rule – you’ve got to play hurt.” Ain’t that the truth?