Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Game Night - 2022: ([Expletive] Edited version)

Every so often I'm going to post a short story about the past, present, or future of hockey.  This first one is about the future from the point of view of a player.  This version has all the bad words removed for your workplace enjoyment.  Enjoy:

Game night tonight. Not that it will probably affect me. Just 60 or 65 minutes riding the pine. Not that I'm complaining.  Being an NHL player is probably the coolest job in the world. I just don't get a lot of ice time. My "line mates", even though it feels odd calling them that since we never skate together, get a bit more but it's usually pretty tough minutes with minimal chance of glory.

It's 2022. Can't believe it.  Some things in the league never change. Toronto still hasn't won since expansion. The 1967 one. Not the 2015 one.

I'm playing for the Quebec Nordiques 2.0. And I don't speak French.  At all. I would say the fans love me but they're too busy insulting my lack of French speaking to tell me that.  Take groupies for example.  Totally normal in other cities.  But here it's girls seeing if I'm really that mono linguistic.  I laugh at it.  I have to.

Brad and Patty are my line mates. Saying they have hands of cement would be praise. Those guys, while good skaters, and tenacious fore checkers couldn't score on an empty net from the crease.

Coach told me at the morning skate that I may get a little power at time tonight because Burnsy is nursing a bum ankle.  I'm actually pretty stoked even though I know I'm on a short leash. I'm better off planting a terrible shot into the goalies midsection than risking a cross ice pass for a pretty goal.

And I'll be stapled to the bench if I turn it over on a dispsy-doodle dandy move.   He'll break out straps and a nail gun if it goes the other way for a goal. Guess I should expect that.  Still i think high risk, high reward has a place in this game.

C'est la vie. Wait a second, maybe I am learning some French.

Of course, my thoughts don't matter. I'm the dude who can't speak French and is chained to the bench like ghost of Christmas past.

After my pre game nap and Xbox session I drove to the rink.  I played today's game earlier. I had 2 goals and 1 assist with 2 PIMs.  And about 15 turnovers.  I'd also like to sell you on the 5 takeaways. And the first goal was a thing of beauty.  The second was total glitch scoring but what the hell.  If its in the game, it's in the game. Except goaltender interference, apparently.

So I got to the rink and grabbed my sticks and taped them up. Check my skate blades and just sit in my stall getting in the zone.  It's important to clear your mind of other things.

Hockey. Skating. Look for the safe pass. Shoot when you have the angle.   Back check hard.  That Blonde reporter with huge boobs.    No; focus!  See the whole ice. Anticipate the defense's reaction. Don't make the pass if they can react to it.  That brunette ice girl has a great caboose.  [Expletive].

"Gentlemen!" coach yells at us. "the key tonight" he starts. Will probably be something stupid like focus. "is focus.  Focus on what the D is giving you.  While we push the play, FOCUS on their positioning and the open spots on the ice. Take everything they give you. Don't [copulate]ing force it.  This isn't trying to impress a girl with a bad joke."

We all look around at at each other. Who tells jokes?  We wear Short sleeve shirts and flex dude.  Well except for GeMo. That fucker just licks his eyebrows. [Butt-hat].  Not that I'm jealous or anything.

Coach continues. "and defensively look at the puck carriers eyes. Watch his navel and for the love of Christ, don't [expletive]ing let them dance around you.  Keep our position. And call switches."

Some things never change.

"We let the Leafs! The [expletive]ing Leafs dictate the play last game.  Step up and play the body."

Yup. Some things never change.

Tonight we get Detroit. People have said they've been rebuilding forever. Of course they haven't missed the playoffs in forever either.  Their new stud defenseman is the son of a hall of famer: Chelios. Their stud center is the son of another one: Lidstrom. Totally isn't fair. Insult to injury Lidstrom was a 4th round pick.

Our first rounder that year is still in the minors. I'm actually worried. That dude is probably going to take my job next year. Lame.

As the coach rants on about our feminine nature, lack of brain cells, and poor lineage he peppers us with some useful tips like "focus" and "don't [expletive] up" I should totally be a coach.  And I'd probably get the same amount of ice time.

As we shuffle out of the locker room you can feel the air on your lungs and smell the ice. It's hard to describe but it's a welcome feeling to anyone who knows what it is. The rink is my home.  I can hear the rumble of the crowd.  This is my home rink.

I run out of the tunnel on to the ice.

"Putain de sucer!"
"Vas te faire encule yankee!"
" Vous sucer!"

Somehow, I don't think they're inviting me over for a baguette.

After I finish my third lap, I head over to the bench and park myself next to Patty and Brad.
"What's up gentlemen?" I ask.
"Same old.  Saw you zoning out during Coach's speech," Brad said, "you should try and listen for the nuggets in there that'll make you a better player."
"Real question, what where you thinking about? Blonde, brunette, or redhead?" Patty said with that shit-eating grin of his.
"Blonde and brunette," I sheepishly admit.
"Damn," Brad groaned. "I owe patty $20 after the game. I had redhead."

We held a 12-8 shot advantage in the first period which ended scoreless.  I attribute that to focus. And Brad destroying Chelios along the boards so he went to the quiet closet for the second half of the period.  I could hear The league and PA's doctors argue with the team's doctor and the agent's physician in the hallway near us.  Honestly I can't tell who is arguing for him to sit out.

I think Burnsy yelling, "keep him out!" Down the hallway probably didn't help but it got a laugh out of the bench. Except for coach. He wasn't amused.

They responded in the second. And by respond I mean that Brad had to fight their tough guy at the drop of the puck of the next penalty kill.  Oh, and that was a call for them trying to break our best center in half.

Somehow we got called for diving and GeMo got 2 for roughing in retaliation.

Retribution is alive and well, thank you very much.  Thinking back on it, I don't think that KHL imported cement head even carried his stick or his gloves on the ice.

Not that any of this surprises me.

After a successful kill we got on the board with a nice bang-bang play where the point shot in, winger tipped it, and our center put the rebound into the back of the net.

Detroit came back with a nasty snipe from Lidstrom just above the dot. We backed away from him like he was a hall of famer like his dad.  Somehow the arena's song choice of "R-E-S-P-E-C-T", while fitting, was kind of a [penis] move.

I actually missed the play live. I was watching their goalie stretch out his right groin. Seems to be favoring it for some reason I'm sure the coach discussed.

The third period was pretty typical. Both teams employed a 0-3-2 forecheck which ensures the puck spends 20 minutes between the blue lines as both teams wait for the extra session.

OT was a little more spirited as each team moved to the equally dull 0-2-2 with similarly predictable results. I think each team managed one shot each from the blue line.

As we gather around coach for the shoot out list he taps each player who'll get a shot. I'm picked to go third.  I nervously wipe my visor and try to make it look like just another day in the office.

As I skate to center to take my shot we're tied at 1-1. I stand waiting for the whistle and soak in the francophone boos.

At the whistle the goalie explodes from the goal line to 10' in front of the crease.  I skate in fast, forcing the goalie to retreat from his chosen spot. As I get close to the crease, I stutter strep left, then go hard right, while  deking hard to my backhand side.  The goalie pushes out and I watch as he collapses, his groin finally giving out. I pull my stick back to my forehand side and calmly shuffle the puck into the net.

And the crowd goes wild.  Well most of them.  Some people are still booing me.  Seriously?  What the [expletive]?

But that's why I'm here. I'm a shoot out specialist.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent story, great flow without being verbose. Glad to hear that they still allow the fights to continue in 2022. I can rest easier knowing that.