We’ve had a decent year considering we have a couple of guys on the wrong side of 45 now. We finished tied for sixth out of eight and were a couple of wins out of the top half of the league and other then the first game of the year when we had someone who had never played net before and got throttled we had a chance to win every game that we played.
Not too bad at all.
So Saturday night we faced the defending champs. They’re a quality squad although last year we actually went unbeaten against them in three games (two wins and a tie).
This year we tied them twice (including a 0-0 game which was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever been a part of – seriously) and lost 3-1 in a game where we had a breakaway with the game at ones, failed to score and then they came back down the ice and scored the winner.
We play them tight. We generally outchance them but we have two problems. Their goalie is excellent and they have probably the two best players in the league so when they get chances they tend to bury them. As a matter of fact most of their forwards are pretty good in close whereas we are the opposite. A team of Pisanis as it were. Well, maybe Thoresens would be a better description. We get the puck moving in the right direction but often it makes for a lot of work deep in the other team’s zone with nothing to show for it.
So we hit the ice Saturday knowing we had a tough task but figuring we were up to it. We gave up a fairly early goal but came on strong and probably had the better of the play going into the second period (only two long periods – it’s a weird fucking setup and I have no idea why it is thus).
Now we never have issues with these guys but it was pretty obvious early on that it was playoff time as shit got ugly. I was into the game and a little pissed because off of a draw in our zone they had ended up with their centre in the slot uncovered. I picked him up and of course the puck went to my man at the point and he fires one in and our goalie is screened and now its in the back of the net and we’re down one.
So we’re deep in their zone and pressuring on a power play and the puck is bouncing around the crease and it stops in a bit of a never never land. Its under the goalie’s raised pad so its still fair game and I go digging for it. The whistle blows and I stop but then all hell breaks loose. A Dman gives me a shot and the goalie is in my face and I’m yapping back and then I feel someone drag me out of there (one of my own guys it turns out) and then one of their guys comes up from behind him and begins pawing at me. Meanwhile a general melee has broken out in the crease. One of our longtime vets is in the middle of it. Now he’s calmed down quite a bit since the day five years ago when he was suspended three games for biting a guy but now he’s riled up and he ends up getting held by a linesman just in time for one of their guys to some up behind him and punch him in the had. Hard.
Your sucker punching tough guy gets tossed out of the game and in the end it never got any more deliberate then that but it didn’t stop being chippy. One of our guys took the goalie’s blocker in the head (accidentally) and went down for the count. He was helped off the ice after he did the old Ronnie Francis trying to get up. He took about five minutes off until the cobwebs cleared and then got back out there. And in another collision one of our guys took it on the chin and was cut open nicely in the shape of an upside down T. I bandaged him up on the bench and he didn’t miss a shift, getting knocked down from behind in front of their net later on for his trouble. After the game he had to head to the hospital – likely will be four to six stitches. The guy who hit him from behind got four minutes and took a dirty hit himself at the end of the game from the biter.
Next week should be fun.
As for the hockey well we started pressing early in the second and a couple of mistakes ended up in our net as we hung our goalie out to dry and then a couple more followed and in the end it was 6-1 for the bad guys, our worst defeat all year and not good timing at all. They’re firing on all cylinders and we have a tough task on the coming Sunday. Lose and we’re out.
At least we’re still a couple of years away from getting relegated and we saw the division below us playing in the game before us. At this rate we’ll be playing until we’re sixty.
So here’s some advice for Dustin Penner. Get out there and bleed all over somebody. Seriously.
Get some teeth knocked out and then come back and set up an OT winner.
Catch yourself a flu and puke so violently then blood vessels in your already bizarrely coloured eyes pop. But don't miss a game.
Separate not one but two shoulders and keep giving her.
Because here’s the deal.
You’re the best option for this club on LW and all of your underlying numbers are good. Can’t deny it. No matter what anyone says.
You help make the PP go and why you weren’t on it from the get go is beyond me, really.
And this whole showing emotion thing, well that is overrated. I love it when I see guys roaring after a goal, all pumped up, but as long as you score I don’t care if you do a little dance, make a little love or eat another bucket of chicken on the bench to celebrate.
But here’s the deal, pal. You’re the third highest paid player on the team and for all of the nice underlying numbers shit the fact that your coach hates your guts enough to bench you every single game probably has something to do with noted floater and softie Ales Kotalik looking like Gordie Howe compared to you.
He doesn’t have the results that you do but you know the thing is that while I am not a big fan of the coach these days I am kind of with him on this one. I saw you play against the Oilers back in 2006 and you terrified me – a big bull who drove around and often over guys to get to the net.
Now you don’t hit, you’re pushed off the puck easily, you just don’t try that hard. I like results but I think, like MacT, I’m not too pleased when I think the results could be and should be that much more.
So go out there and get yourself nice and carved up against the Habs. Take a stick in the face, spit out a tooth or two and go back to the room to get stitched up and have a root canal. Come back, score a couple, kill Mathieu Schnieder and then beat up Laraque, Carbonneau and the ghost of Howie Morenz for good measure.
I mean if we can bleed a little in a beer league game surely you could for 4.25 a year, no?