Friday, August 27, 2010
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog, mostly because hockey hasn’t been on my mind since Patrick Kane’s “Most Awkward Stanley Cup Clinching Moment Ever” (which I remind everyone that I happen to predict). One of the other reasons is that 2010 is a World Cup year and well, I was watching World Cup games before it was cool (I didn’t see very many people in 2002 up at 1:30am watching the US smack Mexico around… again), so Soccer was (and still is) on the mind. Mostly I wasn’t posting because I had no working computer, let’s just say it was hovering between Blue Screen of Death and “Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.” But it’s fixed, time flies, and it's the end of August and Hockey Season is beginning.
I know, you’re thinking “Hey dummy! Practice doesn’t start until September!” And I would say one out of two ain’t bad. But as classes at UAA start, so does hockey season for the most part. The players are back in town, the roster is, for the most part, finalized, and you know that the guys will be getting some ice time together on their own. So, you wonder, what do we have to look forward to? Well the word that describes the beginning of this hockey season is: new. New teams in the league, one somewhat known and the other a somewhat mystery. New players, 11 of them (10 freshmen and 1 transfer) including 2 new goalies. And a new number for the vast majority of the ignorant to predict the Seawolves place of finish. Yeah, it’s somewhat exciting to see them picked us 12th instead of the usual 10th, so we got that going for us, which is nice.
You can’t really blame the media and the bloggers and the vast majority of the ignorant internet forum morons (to be hereby known as tVMIIFM) for picking us last. On the outside it makes sense, a widely considered lower tier team of the WCHA with 19 underclassmen, two freshmen goalies and a sophomore goalie with a whopping 40 minutes of experience, and losing their leading scorer generally doesn’t inspire them to pick them 6th. In my years of watching college hockey, teams in that situation tend to go on one of two paths, the “too young to compete, welcome to the rebuilding year” path, or the “too young to know that they shouldn’t be winning these games” path. And in this bloggers mind, the latter is what he hopes and believes in. So my message to everyone, the players, fans, parents etc. is to just ignore the writings and the ramblings (especially of the tVMIIFM) and just win.
. . .
To put a little bit of a personal stamp on the blog I’d like to introduce a soon to be recurring feature, My Top 5 (blank). If you’ve ever read, or at least soon the movie of, High Fidelity you’ll know where these come from. If not, basically the hobby of the main characters (guys who work in a record shop) is to create Top 5 lists they can think of because they’re obsessed with pop music. So to mark a return to the blog from a summer vacation I present a classic Top 5 list:
Top 5 Favorite Things From My Summer Vacation
1. Work really really really unsafely in an effort to keep track of an important World Cup game.
Here’s the thing, I work for UPS (the brown guys) at the airport, which involves working at 6am and such. Problem is that the World Cup is scheduled around Central European Time, meaning games on when I’m at work. The England game was easy to deal with, it was a Saturday, my day off. The Slovenia and Algeria games were not on my days off, meaning I was following them closely using a cell phone and ESPN Gametracker. So as the Algeria game approached the 90th minute still at 0-0 my attention was not really focused on driving my Tug (the cargo tractors) but my cell phone and when I hit refresh and it’s pops up 1-0 USA, lets just say I wasn’t a very safe worker (for the record, I wasn’t the only one).
2. Actually go to Seward and watch the Mount Marathon race.
For someone who has lived virtually their entire life in Alaska I guess it’s a shock that I’d never seen the race. Mostly because I’m, well, lazy. I never really had the desire to drive to Seward, crowds and all, and watch it, until this year when my wife insists that we travel to Seward on the 4th so she can shop at the shops. Which, of course, means she shops and I ate and watched the race. Only in Alaska do we celebrate our nation’s independence by running up a freakin’ mountain. Yeah we’re awesome like that.
3. The aforementioned Patrick Kane’s “Most Awkward Stanley Cup Clinching Moment Ever”.
Time will tell us where the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks stand in memorable Stanley Cup winners but the hilarious way they won it will be remembered forever. Show of hands who knew the puck was in at the moment it did? Yeah, thought so, just Kane. Kane shoots the puck seemingly into the goalies pads and then starts hopping around like he’s won the Stanley Cup, meanwhile everybody else in the world is going “Kane, WTF man? You hit his pads, chill. Wait? He scored?” Best part of the moment is that ruined any chance of a memorable cliché line from the announcers (like my personal favorite “Deep in the heart of Texas the STARS ARE SHINING!”) to be used on the end of SI DVD.
4. Ninja Kick = Yellow Card.
In soccer refereeing there is a moment in every match where something occurs and you must deal with it correctly or the match is going to hell in a hurry, we call them Moments Of Truth or MOTs. Howard Webb is one of the best referees in the world in one of the best leagues in the world (the English Premier League). And yet, he totally screwed the pooch in his biggest match ever. The match had a record 14 yellow cards and both teams got fined for it, yet it could’ve been avoided if Nigel De Jong had been red carded for that ninja kick to the chest he delivered. Instead he got a yellow and everybody else on the field thought “Hmmm, free for all! He doesn’t have the guts to send anybody off!”
5. Playing Red Dead Redemption
Yeah I’m a video game nerd and like most fathers my age when we’ve gotten our kids to sleep and the wife goes to sleep too I tend to boot up the PlayStation and play a game in my few spare moments of time. RDR is western themed sandbox game (meaning it has an open world and you can wonder around and do what you want) from the makers of Grand Theft Auto. This game combined two great things, doing whatever you want with a memorable cowboy/outlaw/Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western storyline to push you around the world with. But like any sandbox game, it’s not the storyline but the other stuff you just find and do messing around. Personal favorite: hunting. I guess wondering around in a forest and shooting a grizzly bear with a shotgun is something that hits close to home to Alaskans like me.
Well that’ll be the first many Top 5’s to come. I hope for them to become a regular feature of my writings. In the coming season I’ll be looking to add some video features, game highlights, postgame interviews etc. Once the NHL training camps start to open I’ll keep track of the alumni around the various leagues. And I hope to be making some statistical analysis at some points this season. The season starts October 2nd but both Donald and I will have plenty to talk about before then, so keep close.