So you’ve come looking for hockey stories?
I’ve got a few.
On Tuesday nights, I play in a community-run men’s league for guys 35+. It’s a six team league and each season they scramble the teams so you’re always playing with new guys. Keeps the blood down.
This Tuesday, my team was up 3-0. About halfway through the game, I came off the bench for a face-off in the offensive zone. As I moved towards the dot, the other team’s goalie came out of his net and started mouthing off to me. The gist of it – apparently I need an attitude adjustment.
I told him, "My attitude is fun."
He mustn’t have hear me. Later that shift he slashed me, tripped me and, as I stood just outside the blue paint, he tried to tackle me. He got two minutes and I didn’t get any answers.
This crazed goalie yelled at me for the rest of the game. He chirped and hollered and swore. This nice man whose kid I coached in mite hockey a few years ago had lost it.
I gave him a smile and an extra hand pump when we shook hands after the game. This seemed to set him off even more. As we left the ice he told me, sounding like a washed-up pro wrestler, that I had pumped him up for the next game and that I better be ready for him.
Ready? I suppose. Although I’d like to know what I did to garner all the attention (I did blow him a kiss when I left the rink. Seemed like the right thing to do).
On Thursday night, I know what I did.
My other men’s league team plays in the ass-end of Scarborough in the basement of a mall that never had anything approaching a glory day. The 2nd floor Chinese buffet is the anchor tenant and a decent Lebanese joint is our go-to for post-game falafels and beer.
This week we played a decent team and lost 4-3 in OT. Number 61 on the other side (and number 62 in our hearts) played the game like he was on a three metre spring board. I have never seen anyone dive quite like this guy. Touch his skates and he’s soaring through the air like Superman. Cut him off and he’s Bobby Orr in 1970, albeit 65 feet from the net and with 0.065% of the talent.
He drew two penalties on us, although he went full-on Louganis a good four or five times during the game.
In the post-game handshake line I thought I’d have a little fun. As he approached, I shook his hand and said, "I was worried this handshake would send you airborne." I thought it was funny. Guess I was alone.
Mr. Louganis followed me to my bench, followed me off the ice and followed me to the door of our change room.
He was not happy. He wanted an explanation. He wanted a retraction. He wanted justice. All 5'6" inches of this bearded hipster wanted some sort of resolution. I'm surprised he didn't dive to get one.
So here’s what I learned this week.
You can take your PDO, Corsi, Fenwick, and GVT. You can take your "seen him good," grit, intangibles, and clutchiness. You can take all the debate and discussion around these parts, but the more I play this game, the less I understand it.
By stories, you meant Leafs content?
Links after the jump.
Leafs Wire - The History of Hot Starts
Leafs Nation - The Buds and the Bears Shift by Shift
Down Goes Brown - Upcoming NHL Records and Milestones
Mirtle - The Leafs Thin Blue Line
Leafs HQ - Season Declared Dead [Where's Miracle Max when you need him? ed.]
Leafs Hot Stove - Tales of Old Inspire the New
TSN - Hal Gil Hates Confidence
Justin Bourne with a nice write-up on coaching forwards - Replacing LW, R and C with F1, F2 and F3
Here's what I'll be keeping an eye on this morning:
For all your St. Louis Cardinals info check out SBN blog Viva el Birdos
The wonderful Stoke City FC are playing some team called Arsenal today. You can jump on the Stoke game-day thread here.