You not only stole that puck; you stole my heart.
Unfortunately, nothing went right for Conroy after that season. His linemate Pavol Demitra got traded and the loss of Alyn McCauley meant that Conroy had to take on the task of shutting down the opposition. He devoted himself to this 3rd-line role with the same resolve that he did to everything, but the results just weren’t there. Kings fans began to turn on him the same way that they had turned on Hrudey, and I was forced to face the loss of my favorite player once again. Things turned out well with Conroy; he was reunited with Calgary, his former team, and showed the flashes of what had made me like him in the first place.
I know it’s dumb for a grown man to bemoan the loss of a hockey player that he’s never met and I often mock those who devote themselves wholly to one player. After Craig left, I decided that it was much more important to advocate what was the best for the team and look to the players as interchangeable parts. It is the most logical thing to do, but at the same time I feel that I don't get as emotionally invested as I used to. There’s something to be said for having a favorite player, and it's sad that I'll most likely never experience that again. I may understand more about hockey and appreciate its intricacies more than when I was a young man, but there are times I wish I could still feel the way I did about Kelly Hrudey and Craig Conroy.