Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger gets good-guy award for helping with story
Just wanted to give a small acknowledgment to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger for accommodating me with a story I did for today's paper about how players deal with scoring a goal into their own net. Such a moment happened to Ranger in Saturday's season-opener with the Thrashers.
The goal, as it turned out, didn't mean much in the context of the game, a 6-3 Thrashers victory. It was clearly inadvertent and it happened while Ranger was busting his butt to help out his goaltender. But it just seemed to me that when one team puts the puck in the net for another, it is so antithetical to the point of the contest that it deserved a look as to how players need to quickly put aside such a play and get on with the game.
What came out of it was a story about how players need to look at such moments as fleeting. Defenseman Matt Walker said you have to throw them in the garbage. Left wing Ryan Malone said it is the same as if a puck deflected in off a skate. Coach Rick Tocchet said you have to joke about them, and it helps if one's teammates joke about it too in order to take the pressure off.
Good stuff, but the story would never have worked without Ranger adding his perspective.
He could have blown me off on Sunday when I approached him after practice and asked him to go through the play and how he dealt with it. He could have said, hey, it's old news, no need to go back into it. But he was cool even though probably not completely thrilled to go back over a tough moment.
But he did it, gave me a couple of good quotes, and even though his teammates and coach played down the significance of the play, admitted, "It hurts."
Anyway, it was just a small moment in what will be a long season. But thought it was worth mentioning how professional Ranger was in handling the interaction.