During game three of the current series, the Phoenix Coyotes were on the penalty kill. Nashville was moving the puck down low thanks to the sweet hands of Mike Fisher. Fisher moved the puck back to the point. Onto the stick of Shea Weber. The Shea Weber with the greater than 100 mph slap shot. That Shea Weber. Shea brings his stick back as he lines up a slapper. And as he starts the downward swing of his shot, Boyd Gordon drops to the ice to block his shot.
The shot hits Boyd in the upper arm where the protection is the least. The puck bounces back to Shea. He looks around to see if someone is open. No one is. Gordon struggles to get to his feet, holding his arm. Shea looks to the net, winds it back up. Boyd again drops to the ice, knowing it will hurt even more than the first blast. Weber, after seeing his first shot didn’t get through Boyd’s body, changed the angle of his shot, shooting it wide of the net. The Coyotes gather the rebound off the end board and it the length of the ice. Gordon slowly skates over the bench as his teammates are standing and yelling for him.
This the world of Boyd Gordon. The mindset to know he is going to put his body in front of frozen rubber traveling at least 90 mph. Knowing that after he absorbs the shot, he cannot writhe on the ice in pain as a normal person would. He has to scramble to his feet so it is not a five on three as he lays there, motionless. No, he has to get ready to do it again, and when his 45 seconds are up or the puck is cleared from the defensive zone, skate hard to the bench for a shift change. So someone else can take the next one.
In a recent interview with Mike Smith, he was asked about Boyd and his shot blocking ability against Shea Weber. Smitty’s response, “He’s nuts. I have equipment on and I am scared.”
In the last home game of the year, April 3rd, the Coyotes were fighting not just for the Pacific Division lead but to secure a playoff spot. Wins were crucial. It was a must win. Columbus has the puck in the 2nd period on a power play. Boyd is out there. He blocks the first shot from the point and is down on the ice. The puck is behind the Coyote net section 106. He slowly gets to his feet but cannot move. He is almost stationary as he is doubled over in pain. The Coyotes fail to clear the puck out of the zone, Boyd is trapped on the ice. The puck comes back to the right defenseman, the defenseman standing in front of Boyd. The puck gets moved a couple of times but there is no shot available. Except from the right defense. He winds up, Boyd goes to the ice. Boom, another shot off his body. Now prone on the ice, he struggles to his feet. The puck safely travels to the net where it gets covered by Smitty. Fresh troops come onto the ice. But not before the entire crowd at Jobing.com gets to their feet and applauds the effort and results of Boyd Gordon. Barely able to skate, he makes his way to the bench where he is met by his teammates banging their sticks on the boards and standing. For him. His own team gave him a standing ovation for selflessly hurling his body in front of the puck. Not once, but twice. On the same shift when he was obviously hurting.
You want to know why GM Don Maloney signed Boyd as fast as he could? This is why. You want to know why the Coyotes are going to continue their march to the Cup finals? Play like this. Unheralded, unselfish play. The play that generates ice bags in the locker room and not headlines in the sports section. But it is the type of play you need to have to win. The type of play that gets you the respect of your teammates and knowledgable fans.