Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Waxing poetic (again)

I dunno what it is about this week. The gallons of cough syrup, the lack of oxygen from coughing, not having my own playing anxiety to worry about?

Whatever the case, I'm so in love with the game right now.

It was nearly 13 years ago that I saw hockey for the first time in person. It was the Austin Ice Bats, who played in a drafty barn (literally) out East Austin. They were in the Western Professional Hockey League at the time (which later merged with the current Central Hockey League) and the quality of hockey could be described as "rec league with fighting."

But I sat there with my jaw in my lap, completely enthralled. The skill evident even at that level of the professional game astounded me. The grace and speed and incredible toughness. I was hooked on a sport for the first time ever.

And now that I've spent the last 3 or 4 years logging countless hours watching hockey, playing hockey, writing about it, I can still watch a guy skate, his blades cutting into the ice on sharp turns, leaving a fan of snow in his wake, and be awestruck by how simple and beautiful it is.

It's a testament to the game that we can still muster that kind of awe, no matter how long we've been fans of it.

And I don't think there's ever been a night where I sat down with my Center Ice subscription at 6 and didn't get up at 11 or 11:30 after the last game thinking, "Man, what a fun night of hockey." Even when my team stinks it up, someone else is out there doing something amazing.

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Man, what a fun night of hockey.

Seriously. The Wild/Preds game was very entertaining and while I'm still not anywhere near ready to say who won that trade, the pick-up of Lats, just on its own merit, has been a game changer so far. That line of Clutterbuck, Brodziak, and Lats has just been dynamic.

What I didn't expect is how much fun Lats is to watch. He's so big and strong and has terrific hockey sense and goes. to. the. net. Imagine that. Most guys twirl around the top of the circles, but the big dude just barrels in there, guns a'blazing, and creates chances. Color me impressed. It's like if Matt Foy had a brain and a sexy French accent.

The trick is, of course, to sustain this kind of jump after the honeymoon is over, and that's always the hard part.

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Another weird game for the Blades tonight in Toledo. Via the power of the internet, I've connected with both the team's beat writer for the Napes Daily News, who does a great job covering the team, and a fan who has a blog about them (http://swamphockeyfl.blogspot.com) and tweets them (@swamphockey).

Her nickname for Mike Morrison, "the other goalie" along with Brusty, is Rebound. Now, I haven't see him play to properly verify that the nickname is warranted, but it's funny enough that I just don't care; I'm calling him that anyway.

So, Rebound started the game but faced a lousy barrage of shots in the first period, letting in 2, and then he let in a third early in the second period and got the hook after 25 total minutes. Not sure what's in the gum Coach Cameron is chewing but he sure seems over this whole "never pull the goalie" hangup for which he has a reputation, unless maybe there was a bit of an injury in there.

Anyway, Brusty went in and shut. them. down. They had some great chances and he just got a toe or a glove or an elbow in the right spot to keep the puck out. Really great job out there.

Unfortunately, that vaunted offense of the Blades could only put two past the Toledo netminder and Morrison takes the loss. Pobrecito Reboundito.

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Keith Ballard broke another goalie (Craig Anderson) tonight. Wasn't his fault, but man, talk about a guy who needs a luck upgrade. If I'm Clemmensen or Salak, I'm getting a 10 foot restraining order.

Speaking of Clemmers, what do you think of his bright yellow stick?

I have to admit, if the yellow matched the yellow in his gear, I'd like it. But it's too bright, so I can't quite get there. But I appreciate his embracing the complete obnoxiousness of the Panthers' colors and being bold and different. Also... sick poke check in the shootout made even sicker with loud yellow stick. I unequivocally approve.

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Someone just searched for "goalie helmet sex paint jobs" and got my blog. I'm definitely doing something right here.

3 comments:

Sunshine36616  December 3, 2009 at 1:11 AM  

OMG I have picture from the Florida/Thrashers game on my blog and I talked about his yellow stick. I LOVE it! Don't know why but I do lol.

Nicky  December 3, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

There was an Oilers goalie a couple years back they called "Juicy Rebound" for his first name Jussi. And his, well, rebound control. No shock, he's long gone from the NHL.

Ms. Conduct  December 3, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

*giggle* I'd LOL but laughing = coughing. Jussi Rebound. Ha!

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