John Robben of Connecticut has fourteen grandchildren and loves them all the same. One happens to play in the National Hockey League, so it's easy to keep tabs on him.
John has been telling me about Cam Atkinson since the young man was scoring 68 goals in three seasons at Boston College. Now John follows him on his swings around the league, even when Columbus is playing in a distant time zone like Vancouver.
John sent this mass e-mail Saturday morning:
I watched the first period last night against Vancouver, then stuck around for the beginning of the second period. When Vancouver struck twice for a 2-0 lead I turned the TV off and went to bed. I knew their record was better -- a lot better! -- than the Blue Jackets, and it was already after 11 PM and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
First thing GM said to me this morning was, "The final score last night was 6-2."
"Oh," I replied. "Too bad. At least Columbus got two goals."
"Columbus won 6-2, not lost. And Cam got the winning goal!"
Well done, Cam!
First of all, GM is Grandmother, Margie, whom John spotted at a church dance in the Bronx, oh, a few years back and predicted, on sight, that they would be married.
Before that could happen, John had aircraft carrier duty off the Korean coast. His pen pal at the time, writer named Hemingway, sent him a letter that said, "Remember kid, if it's rough at sea, it's rough all over." Then John got home and married Margie.
John, a fine writer and long-time e-mail pal (we have never met), never misses a game on television when Columbus is playing in the east. The young man is small by modern NHL standards – 5-foot-8, 174 pounds – but clearly has a feel for the net, with 53 goals and 49 assists in 208 NHL games.
On Saturday evening, Cam tipped in a goal on a power-play late in the second period to put his team ahead. Next game is Tuesday at home. John is going to catch all of that one.
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Here's the link to the screen above.
Cam's career statistics.
The game result from Saturday night.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.