28 February 2007

"Did I Puke On My Jersey?"

The Game: Avs vs. Blue Jackets

My first words yesterday morning. Don't worry. I didn't.

On Monday, I decided to use my day off in the most productive way possible -- patronizing the state's largest liquor store. Go north on I-25 for about half an hour, or until the highway is littered with tumbleweeds (whichever comes first), and you'll find DaveCo Liquors, an establishment of airplane hangar proportions. It even has a humidor, which is unassailably cool.

I was determined to stock up on local goodies, and I did myself proud. In addition to a couple of microbrews I will feature very soon, I aquired a Cottonwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon vinted in Olathe, Colorado. I couldn't help but nip into it, as there was a double-header on Versus. It was actually pretty good, though it definitely needs to be decanted for a good three hours. But, given the result, I'm not sure if I should warn you off of Colorado wines or to insist that you UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES follow this particular one with vodka. I'm an Irish lass who can hold her sauce and who loves her vodka, and I've been broke enough for long enough to have steeled myself to the vilest versions out there. It may be that red wine just isn't my thing...

At any rate, I couldn't bring myself to drink for the Jackets game.

When Brunette (on a 12 game point streak) gets a PP goal in the 1st, it is announced that the Avs' power play is 3rd in the league. It seems like every game, Avs are breaking personal, franchise, or league records. So why aren't they winning games?

At Intermission, Giguere speaks to the trades. He highlights the Avs' lacks in goaltending and toughness. Everyone knows by now that May was traded for goalie Mike Wall. May: good riddance. But I'm curious about what Wall's presence means for Theodore (how to dump him?) and young Budaj, who has really come into his own this season. Also, we reaquired Scott Parker from the Sharks. He was an Av during the glory days, and he supposedly has an Avalanche tattoo. Two points in his favor. And he's a tough guy - but he's an injury risk! The Avs have plenty of great potential players who are riding the bench with various physical ailments. The last thing they need is another Leopold.

For this very reason, Finger and Cumiskey have been called up from Albany. I like Finger; he's a scrappy guy. And he gets his first NHL point with an assist on Stastny's (13 game point streak) 2nd period goal.

It's almost Budaj's 5th shutout (and the Jackets' 14th), but Columbus rallies in the final 2 minutes and scores twice.


Blue Jackets 2
Avs 3

Best Friends Forever!


In the Real World, I Don't Think Ducks Survive Avalanches

The Game: Avs at Ducks

The good news: Wolski is back, after missing what seemed to be an inordinate amount of games for a "mild" concussion.

The bad news: Skrastins is out with a knee injury for 7-10 days, ending his Iron Man defensive game streak at 495. It must have been some injury to keep him off the ice. Commentator McNab makes an ineffective comparison between Skrastins and an amputated limb, and I wonder about his sobriety, so often in question of late.

I am watching the game on the Altitude Network. They try, and overall the game coverage is better than on Versus, but I HATE the "Principles for Success" they highlight before each game. Today, they are as follows:

1. Av pride
2. In their face
3. Offense stay strong

Ugh. I never know whether they deserve a "No shit!" or a "WTF?" They might as well say:

1. Score goals
2. Score more goals than other team
3. Don't let other team score goals

In the 1st, McDonald gets two rebound goals on Budaj, and Klee gets penalized for Delay of Game because he took a puck to the face and fell on it. Not good. But Rycroft and Sakic tie it up. Selanne scores, Hejduk responds. Then two more Duck goals, and I see in my notes that all I could do was write "FUCK" and underline it a bunch of times.

I didn't record which of my Colorado brews I drank, but I can tell from my handwriting that I was, so IT'S NOT MY FAULT THIS TIME!


Ducks 5
Avs 3

After the game, Quenneville looks tired and broken. It's sad.

Best Friends Forever!


"Our present business is general woe." -- Albany, King Lear

The Games: Avs vs. Wild and Avs at Kings

Apologies for the posting hiatus. Work has been kicking my ass. Yes, ballet can kick ass. You try perpetuating a notoriously esoteric art form in the electronic age. You think hockey needs better marketing?! Don't get me started...

I went to the Czech hockey bar, Sobo 151, for last Thursday's game against the Wild. No Colorado beers on tap. I take full responsibility for the loss. I drank Czechvar, Pilsner Urquell, and Becherovka, a Czech liqueur that tastes remarkably like Christmas tree and Gingerbread. Makes you all warm and fuzzy, too. And I shared some amazingly potent garlic dip and potato pancakes that were roughly the size of my torso with a buddy. Good times, despite the disappointing first and second periods of play.

In the third, the Avs rallied, much to the delight of my fellow pub patrons, but Koivu ultimately delivered thier demise. And I was handed mine at foosball in much the same fashion -- too little, too late.


Wild 4
Avs 3

I missed the Kings game, as I was mired in three hours of Shakespearean tragedy. Not that it wasn't good, but after an hour and 45 minutes without an Intermission, even I was antsy, and my mind wandered to the game.

Everything I read before seeing Lear warned me: Don't go see it! No one can do it justice! Now I see why. The genius of Lear is that there is no hope; no redemption. It grates against everything we want to believe about Fate and human nature. Since it does just that, I think directors and actors subconsciously attempt to alleiviate that supreme discomfort for themselves and their audiences by projecting humor and sexual innuendo into the play where it isn't appropriate. (It's Elizabethan English. The use of the word "cock" isn't ALWAYS double entendre...) That was my experience, anyway.

What does all this have to do with hockey? I guess it's a butts-in-seats thing. When I scoff at theatre companies for tweaking Shakespeare to make his work more palatable to the general public, I can't help but remember that I was one of the ignorant masses who assumed that hockey was boring because of the low score. I'm sure people assume that Shakespeare is boring or difficult to understand, and I combat the same thing on a daily basis at work for the ballet. I know that Shakespeare and ballet, as we all know hockey, is worth watching. If someone just sees it, they'll take something away from it. Even if they aren't hooked on it, they will appreciate something about it. And they will probably come back.

That said, I hope stuff like widening the nets isn't the recourse. Just like I shudder to see The Merchant of Venice done as "Surfin' USA." Or to think of a ballet about Paris Hilton.

We lost in the shootout, and I am "one minded like the weather, most unquietly" (Gentleman, King Lear Act 3, Scene 1).


Avs 5
Kings 6

Best Friends Forever!


21 February 2007

Nobody Puts Baby On The Last Row

The Game: Avs vs. Flames

If remaining fanatical after last weekend's losses was comparable to staying in a marriage (see last post), last Tuesday's game was the hockey equivalent to vacation sex.

I sat behind the Avs' attack twice goal, in the very top row of the arena. Hearing "Livin' On A Prayer" on the organ was a little disconcerting, but whatever. A nearby father began teaching his 7 or 8 year old son the Art of the (PG) Heckle.

Dad: "Kiprusoff, you bum!"

Son: "I don't know if you have 20/20 vision!"

Wolski and Leopold are announced as scratches. Damn. Wolski suffered a mild concussion at the last Avs/Flames matchup, when he took an unpenalized hit while not in posession of the puck. I don't particularly care about Leopold, since he's only been healthy enough to play three games since I began following the team. First, it was hernia surgery. Then, and groin injury. Now his wrist is broken and he'll be out another month.

Interestingly, Brad May gets a bigger BOO than Theodore when the starters are announced.

Stastny gets two goals and an assist in the 1st, breaking Tanguay's 51 point record as a rookie with the Avs in 1999-2000, and making him the third player to reach 20 goals as a rookie since the team came to Colorado. When asked at the first Intermission why Avs/Flames games are consistently high-scoring, Stastny flashes his toothless grin and says, "Aw, we're just trying to make it interesting for the fans." Gotta love him.

At a TV time-out, Sakic is honored for his 600th goal. He humbly rose to acknowledge the standing ovation, and the stick-banging support from his teammates. The Flames didn't bother to participate. I mean the Lames. Yeah, I said it. The Lames.

I have to wonder if Canadian teams feel like they're playing golf instead of hockey when they come here. Even though we won, the applause was spotty and cautious. I guess nobody wants to be the guy who got his hopes up. But me. I left hoarse.


Flames 3
Avs 4

Best Friends Forever!


20 February 2007

Two Losses, Shakespearean Cosmology

The Games: Avs at Flames (AGAIN) and Avs at Canucks

This weekend, I officially crossed one item off the old "List of Things To Do Before I Die" (watch a game at ESPN Zone, an establishment I can only describe as "soulless"), and added an item to the lesser-known "List of Things Never To Do Again" (patronize a bar with an escalator in it).

The Altitude Network broadcast live from ESPN Zone during Saturday's Flames game. Although apathetic waitstaff, overpriced Velveeta cheese, and camera-hungry drunkards who may or may not have been able to point out Calgary on a map annoyed, I had a cold beer and a good friend (on whose recomendation we quickly left for Old Chicago) at hand, and the game started out well, despite Vaananen's game misconduct ejection for an ill-advised early hit.

Leading 2-1 in the second, the Avs lost momentum, plagued with miscommunications and penalties. In the third, Wolski sustained a mild concussion. It looked much worse, as he tried to stand up after the hit and fell immediately back to the ice.


Avs 2
Flames 5

Thanks to the stellar bartending staff at Old Chicago, I was treated with Springboard Ale, the Spring special release from New Belgium. Appropriately, it's almost pastel yellow. And quite refreshing.

On Sunday, my hopeful but ironic beverage choice was "Levity" Amber Ale from O'Dell's. Named as such for its light color and its proposed effect on the drinker, it's not as bitter as some other red beers, and is very easy to drink. Good stuff. It occurs to me that I don't have a very sophisticated beer palate. Or beer vocabulary.

The Avs worked hard, and outshot the Canucks 36-20, putting an impossible 4 goals past "Nothing Can Stop Me!" Luongo. Richardson scored while the Avs were shorthanded, and Brunette was credited with two just for being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, Theodore was less effective, and he and poor Ken Klee are in the doghouse after an awful loose puck gaffe in the 3rd. Theo went to cover it, and Klee swatted it out, right onto the stick of Sedin for a goal.


Avs 4
Canucks 5

A recent trip to Tattered Cover Bookstore afforded me The Essential Hockey Haiku and a copy of Shakespeare's Philosophy. I've been studying King Lear lately, as I'm going to see it on Saturday at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Lear's central theme stems from the line "nothing can come from nothing," spoken early in the play by the King to his favorite and most genuine daughter. This semi-existential summation of the creation question hearkens back to Job's "everything is vanity," but, in the context of the play, better equates to "everything is tragedy." Even the purest love and best intentions are rewarded with shame and death. Love does not conquer all -- sometimes, every safeguard, every hope falls through, and there you are, mangled, despised, and alone.

All this is just to say that, when I go so far as to say "I love hockey," I acknowledge that I am inviting a certain amount of pain into my life. As Skrastins said, "pain is part of the job." I think that goes for the fans, too. I believe that both cameraderie and competition are ingrained in the human psyche, and that it is therefore perfectly legitimate for a fan to take a loss as a blow. We may not play the game, but we are certainly invested in it.

But that's what a committed relationship is, then. For better or worse, right? Although you marry someone assuming that your collective characteristics and behaviors will combine in a fruitful way, there is no way to predict what will happen. In the same way (veteran bloggers, do you recall the moment you realized that hockey is metaphorical for EVERYTHING? [tear]), an exeptional player or team may not perform to expectations, and no amount of skill can change the fact that a puck is a puck (is a puck? Thank you, Gertrude Stein), ice is ice, and humans are...you understand.

That said, I love my husband, and I hope we can work it out. Similarly, I love hockey, and am willing to take even the most painful loss in stride in hopes that maybe -- just maybe -- there might be better days ahead.

Best Friends Forever!


17 February 2007

One Feat of Strength Begets Another

Having left my car at work last night, as I went to Happy Hour at the Irish Snug and then a poetry reading at a friends house that quickly degenerated into a drinking song singalong, I decided this morning to walk downtown and fetch it, so that I can go to ESPN Zone tonight to watch the game. I thought "It's a gorgeous day, and I need to work out anyway. I'll just take a brisk jaunt down Colfax."

Probably not the best idea I've ever had.

Three hours, 7.5 miles, 18 honks, 3 whistles, 2 smoochy sounds, and one "looking good!" later, I have to say:

This game better be good.

Best Friends Forever!


16 February 2007

Sakic, Hat Trick, Alcoholic

The Game: Avs at Flames

"...I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well. I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself..."

--"Vindicated," Dashboard Confessional

"...Oh you gotta keep it strong, move along, move along like I know you do. Even when your hope is gone, move along, move along just to make it through..."

--"Move Along," All-American Rejects

I don't often admit familiarity with bands/songs like the ones referenced above (although Chris Carabba's earlier work is of some merit), but there's nothing like pop music for being hyperbolic, is there?

Or, I guess I could revert back to the behaviors associated with football fandom and just yell, FUCK YEAH! WE KICKED ASS!"

Before the game, it is announced that Forsberg has been traded to the Nashville Predators. And guess what? I don't care! Had he gone to the Wings, though, I would have been forced to stomp on his foot.

Another pre-game feature was Part 1 of a 3-part series filmed about a month ago when the Avs took their fathers and mentors along on their trip to Anaheim and San Jose. While the majority of the team played poker on their PSPs, Liles drank milk and did a crossword. "I better myself; I work on my mind," he said. The English teacher in me swelled with pride. The hockey fan in me couldn't help but observe that we've seen more from him in TV interviews than on the ice since his return. He only played eight minutes last night - it may be that he's still nursing his foot.

Not even a minute into the game, The Flames got the crowd lit up and the Avs intimidated with a small scrum. Soon, they had a goal. As the Avs attempted to make thier way down the ice, the game looked more like pinball than hockey. Before we knew it, it was 0-2.

Finally, the Avs get on the board when Super Joe scores his 599th. And Richardson goes to the box for a stick to some Flame's jewels. Is there a technical term for that? Junk Checking?

Theodore relieves Budaj in the 2nd. Something about the change spurs the team; Brunette gets one in, and Hejduk two. In the 3rd, a shot from Clark barely tiptoes over the goal line before being swatted away. The goal is awarded after review, and the Avs took the lead for the first time in the game.

The Flames tie it up again at 5 (FYI, Tanguay assisted on 3 of the Flames' 5 goals. Did trading him for Leopold seem like a good idea at the time?). But HEJDUK SCORES AGAIN! My first Hat Trick! I wish it had happened here, and am reminded of my urgent need for a hat.

With 9 seconds left in the game, Sakic becomes the 17th player in NHL history to reach 600 goals, scoring on the Flames' open net. He told the papers that wasn't ideal, but they still had to work for it. Now I have to go the game on Tuesday, when the Avs meet Calgary for the third time in a week here in Denver. I'm sure they'll do something nice for Super Joe, and I'm sure I'll cry again. Go ahead and scoff. You and I both know you'd do the same.


Avs 7
Flames 5

To make the evening even better, I had leftover Alu Gobi (spicy cauliflower and potatoes) and Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, CO. A brewer after my own heart, they obviously have a penchant for the $3 word. "Brewed to enjoy with friends and stimulate serendipity," says the six-pack. I did enjoy it, though alone. And the night was serendipitous regardless.

Furthermore, the water in my complex was turned back on (water main break), and I got to take a shower. Probably felt as good as if I'd played the game myself.

Best Friends Forever!


15 February 2007

A Samurai Send-Off

Before Tuesday's game against the Ducks, one of Denver's local sportscasters asked Liles whether or not it would help the team to invite Dr. Phil into the locker room. I know, television reporters are abominably daft. But Liles' answer concerned me. He said, in as many words, that no doctor could fix the team's ills, and that he/she would find more wrong than expected.

Lately, the company line has been that the team is losing because they don't start with enough enthusiasm. The elephant in the room is...there's much more to it than that. There is an attitude of surrender in Denver. And not just since it has become increasingly clear that the Avs may not make the playoffs for the first time during their residence here.

I noticed it in particular at the two Avs/Red Wings games I have attended this season. From what I understand, a Wings jersey used to be an invitation for a beating in this town. I know the rivalry is all but dead, but the meekness with which we accepted both losses and wins surprised me. In some cases, it seemed like shouting "Red Wings Suck!" was meant as little but a joke, especially in the context of the comparative performance between the two teams. It was as if those who ventured to yell it (or wear it) were children experimenting with swearing in front of their parents for the first time.

It's time for the Avs to get introspective; go back to basics. In half an hour, you can be in the mountains asking what it all means. Do it.

Yeah, Budaj was inspired on Tuesday. But as of tonight the Avs are on the road, playing the Flames twice. They have lost the last five against Calgary. Budaj has been replaced in three.

It's gonna take more than enthusiasm.

So, a little Zen for the Avs' pre-game mountaintop reflections: The Samurai Creed.

I have no parents; I make the Heavens and the Earth my parents.
I have no home; I make the Tan T'ien my home.
I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means; I make Docility my means.
I have no magic power; I make personality my magic power.
I have neither life nor death; I make A Um my life and death.

I have no body; I make Stoicism my body.
I have no eyes; I make the Flash of Lightening my eyes.
I have no ears; I make Sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs; I make Promptitude my limbs.
I have no laws; I make Self-Protection my law.
I have no strategy; I make the Right to Kill and the Right to Restore Life my strategy.
I have no designs; I make Seizing the Opportunity by the Forelock my design.
I have no miracles; I make Righteous Laws my miracles.
I have no principles; I make Adaptability to all Circumstances my principle.
I have no tactics; I make Emptiness and Fullness my tactics.

I have no talent; I make Ready Wit my talent.
I have no friends; I make my Mind my friend.
I have no enemies; I make Incautiousness my enemy.
I have no armour; I make Benevolence my armour.
I have no castle; I make the Immovable Mind my castle.
I have no sword; I make No Mind my sword.

Focus. Think of nothing but the task at hand. You are here for a reason.

In other words, guys, don't try to play hockey tonight. Do what you were born to do.

14 February 2007

"I Love it When a Goalie Plays Good"

The Game: Avs vs. Ducks

Normally, I denounce color commentators as moronic automatons. But last night's reaction to Budaj was classic. A little Forrest Gump, a little Mr. T. Classic.

Budaj got his fourth shutout, and was altogether amazing. Notwithstanding his Flandersian adherance to Christianity, I have to make the obligatory Vishnu (or "The All-Pervading One," from the root meaning "presence everywhere") reference. He seriously sprouted extra limbs, and proceeded to contort them in all kinds of inconceivable ways.

Stastny and Hejduk both got their fourth consecutive goals. Yay!


Stars 0
Avs 2

Off to Indian food. Best Friends Forever!


A Valentine Greeting to Warm the Heart...and Blacken the Lungs

And, for good measure, a poem:

You Fit Into Me

You fit into me
Like a hook into an eye

A fish hook
An open eye

--Margaret Atwood

Best Friends Forever!


13 February 2007

From the Highest Mountain to the Deepest Valley

The Game: Avs at Stars

I spent last weekend about 20 miles past Winter Park, where there were no phones, televisions, or computers to taint the beauty of nature. In other words, I nearly went insane. On my way up the mountain, I stopped at a grocery store in hopes that I might at least find The Hockey News. Alas, Gun's 'n' Ammo gave way to Hunting Magazine, and I left empty-handed.

The mountains were beautiful. Snow, Aspen, and age-old icicles the size of tree trunks. But as soon as I could, I was racing back to town to catch the early Avs/Stars game.

Pardon the lack of pastoral photos, by the way. I can go toe to toe on Russian Literature, but please don't ask me to plug stuff in! It doesn't help that my computer predates mankind. I'll figure it all out, I promise...

Each member of both teams pledged money to The Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, based on their performance. $300 for a goal, etc. As admirable as I think that is, I also think Garth (who, I feel obligated to admit, happens to live in my hometown) was wise to go with funding children's charities through sports instead of starting the Garth Brooks Center for Kids Who Don't Read Good. He is quoted in the Post as saying "hockey, per player, gives more than any other sport. ... I'd say philanthropic, but I can't spell it or use it in a sentence. You know what I mean. A very giving person." Good lord. Personally, I would like to help kids more, but I am not a philanthropic. I don't have enough money to philanthropic that venture. Hours of fun for the whole family...

Budaj and Turco started the game in goal. Three Dallas goals later, as I was feeling the distinct sensation of deja-vu, Theodore was put in. Sakic, Stastny, and Wolski scored, and Turco was replaced by Smith soon after. Too bad. I really like Marty Turco, and I was annoyed to hear the announcers talk about him like he's some washed-up has-been in the shadow of the rookie. Yeah, Smith, with his recent string of shutouts and some impossible saves, is impressive. But have some respect. Alternatively, it was nice to hear Budaj called the "Fourth coach" as he yelled support to his teammates from the bench.

When the Stars scored their 6th goal, the replay captured Guite beautifully as he all but stepped out of the way of the puck. His face in slow motion was priceless. "Noooooooo..." He almost redeemed himself with two goals-that-might-have-been, but Smith was just too fast for him.

Leopold was sent to the box for closing his hand on the puck, a ridiculous sounding penalty that I had not heard of and didn't particularly want to. I'm gonna have to look into that one.

The McLean/Arnason/Laperriere line made it 5-6, and it looked like the Avs were about to take the game. The speed increased by double. A HUGE check on Clark resulting in a Stars penalty seemed like it would seal the deal. But it didn't. THREE consecutive power plays were wasted by the Avs. Even with the extra man, they were chasing the puck all over Dallas. Literally. The Stars basically just stood in their zone, waiting for an Av to pass them the puck so they could clear it out. And that's what happened over and over for six total minutes. Finally, Liles turned it over, Theo stopped the ensuing shot and essentially kicked it to Halpern, and Halpern scored on the rebound.


Avs 5
Stars 7

What a nail-biter. To go from 0-3 to 5-7...Three power plays in a row when it was a one point game...Two days later it still makes my neck tense up. The medicine on Sunday, as it will be again tonight, was 5th Avenue Pale Ale, courtesy of O'Dells Brewing in Fort Collins. This hoppy ale is made in small batches (5 barrels at a time, wouldn't you know) for quality. And it's good.

Let's Go Avs! Please? Best Friends Forever!


09 February 2007

My First Hockey Cry

The Game: Avs vs. Thrashers

...And it didn't even have to do with the outcome of the game. Rather, before the game started, Karlis Skrastins was honored for breaking a nearly 40 year old NHL record for most consecutive games played by a defenseman. The arena was dotted with signs, some in Latvian, saying things like "IRON MAN MADE IN LATVIA" and "ALL LATVIANS ARE PROUD OF YOU." And when Skrastins took the ice for a lap, and BOTH teams were beating their sticks on the ice in support, I pretty much lost it.

Two of former record holder Tim Horton's daughters were present for the occasion, and color commentator Peter McNab, who played alongside Horton as a Sabre, gave them each a bouquet of roses. Skrastins' (stunningly gorgeous blonde) wife was given a bracelet, and "Scratch" himself a framed black and white side-by-side of action shots of himself and Horton. It was actually really touching.

Too bad the Avs proceeded to get completely schooled.

I was seated 20 rows from the ice, just behind Theodore (urp) in goal. Amazing seats. For the entire first period, I didn't even want to make noise, because I wanted to hear everything. Every scrape of the ice...I could hear the players talking to one another. I could practically feel the checks.

To make the experience even more enjoyable, I got to watch the game with a loud, foul-mouthed Canadian (Edmonton fan), who also happens to be an 80-odd lb. ballet dancer. A pleasure I hope to repeat often. To use her turn of phrase, it was "fucking wicked." Apparently, the last time she attended an Oilers game, her "commentary" was obnoxious enough that a male fan sitting nearby had to be restrained. During the course of this game, she downed three beers, a hot dog, and a serving of Mmmini Donuts. I think I've found a hockey buddy.

Theo wasn't the only player who got off to a bad start during his single period of netmindlessness. Nothing was working for the Avs. Even though they tied their season high of shots on goal with 48, for a while there it was looking like Skrastins was going to get shut out on his big day.

There was much rejoicing when Budaj replaced Theo in the 2nd, but the damage was pretty much done. It didn't help that the penalty calls seemed more than a little one-sided. Lappy, Leopold, and Stastny (he's on a roll) scored, but Hossa topped off the Thrashers with a sixth in the final two minutes. As disappointing as the loss was, I was more disappointed to see fans absolutely STREAMING out of the arena. You can wait two minutes. If you're so interested in getting home as quickly as possible, watch the game from home. Jerks.


Thrashers 6
Avs 3

It occurs to me that hockey will probably break my heart. That said, my heart is a glutton for punishment.

I drank Coors. From a plastic bottle, no less. But it was cold. Probably because I was so close to the ice. So there. Best Friends Forever!


08 February 2007

Tough Guys Earn the Win

The Game: Avs vs. Panthers

After watching the Dead Wings come back and win against the Rangers the other day, I closed my eyes real tight, clicked my heels and wished the Avs could have their 3rd period performance. The hockey gods made a deal with the Devil...I got my wish. Or close enough.

Stastny tied it up with less than a minute in the 3rd, and Sakic won it less than a minute into OT, but, according to first star Sakic, the win was all about Theodore and Arnason.

Theodore earned his keep in periods 1 and 2. And thanks to Florida's double penalties at the last minute, he got to see the win from the best seat in the house.

Arnason (second star) scored his 13th. He really worked hard. Wherever the puck was, there was #39. [Choked up] He's my special boy!

Liles was back on the ice after missing 11 games with a broken foot. According to the Post, he left with blood "pouring" from it, but glad to be playing again.

Speaking of hardcore Avs, Tuesday's game was Skrastins' 486th consecutive game. Tonight (Avs vs. Thrashers) he'll break the record for most consecutive games played by a defenseman, previously held by Tim Horton for his 486 games as a Leaf between February 1961 and February 1968. I wonder what chain of restaurants Skrastins will champion?

Also, Lappy apparently leads the league with penalty minutes for fighting. And Wolski is playing with the flu. Tough guys.


Panthers 4
Avs 5

I'll be at the Thrashers game tonight, in the best seat I've had to date. I'll whisper sweet nothings to you about it in the morning. Sleep tight! Best Friends Forever!


06 February 2007

An Observation

With all due respect, Brian Engblom needs a haircut. That is all.

Best Friends Forever!


05 February 2007

If It Weren't For That Pesky Third Period...

The Game: Avs vs. Oilers

After venturing out into the bright meltiness of Denver to fetch a six-pack of aptly named Avalanche Amber Style Ale from my friendly neighborhood liquor store (my favorite employee's name is Kim Kim), I was ready for Saturday's afternoon game. Not particularly ready to drink, per the previous night's shenanigans, but you know...I had to take one for the team.

Let me preface this next paragraph by alerting you to the fact that I saw my first televised hockey game on November 18th (Avs at Wild), and my first live one on December 6 (Colorado Eagles vs. Rocky Mountain Rage). I will say it again: I am learning as I go. I get my information from other blogs, newpapers, and team websites. But, I confess, I also have to consult Wikipedia. I can't help it.

So, for your edification, perhaps the most incoherent rant Re: the Edmonton Oilers ever made, interjected into an otherwise informative and perfectly legitimate article, and further proof that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information:

"The edmonton oilers are probably the luckest team in the NHL. How they made the playoffs is a mystery to most NHL players. Not only are they lucky there fans are the biggest f*ck heads in the world, think about it White Ave. mmmm.. i wonder where that came from oh wait i know the Red Mile in Calgary Whats the problem you guys can't think of stuff your self you have to take it from other team. More proof that the Oilers suck, well look at Chris Pronger spent one season in edmonton and hated it with a passion. funny i think the same thing about Edmonton. You want more proof that Edmonton is lucky look at them this year, what are they this year last in the Northwest division, not in a playoff spot. Funny how that works. I guess you guys should have kept the horse shoes in there ass over the summer. Not that would have helped much anyways."

I don't know what that means, if anything. But it was amusing to stumble on in between the Oilers' "Great One" days and last season's playoff run.

According to Coach Quenneville, Saturday's game against the Oilers was "almost a carbon copy" of the Avs/Wild matchup on last Thursday. The team played well in general, fell behind in the third, and couldn't make it up.

It was a heated conflict, in my limited experience. And I must say, it was really nice to see someone other than Lappy get into it. Newbie Rycroft is now the only other player on the team to get a five-minute major for fighting. I was struck by the announcers' repeated comment: "This is how the game should be played." For once, I had to agree with them. It really was evident that both teams were fighting for something that was supremely important to them. I'm sure no player would readily admit that some games feel more important than others, or that the urgency isn't the same with 60 games left as it is with 30, and most of them away from home, and the playoffs in the balance, but the difference was palpable to me. And I felt the disappointment.

Sigh. If only. That's what the general consensus seems to be. If only the young 'uns like Wolski and Stastny, etc. had a couple more seasons under their belts. If only Sakic could stay on the ice for 60 minutes. Ok, that one was mine.


Oilers 3
Avs 2

Surprisingly, my beer choice is having little effect on the team's performance. Too bad. Then again, there are less desireable superstitious rituals. Avalanche Amber hails from Breckenridge, CO's Breckenridge Brewery. In their breakdown of its hoppiness, etc., Avalanche is cited as having "19 Bitterness Units." I had to laugh. Only 19? Too bad #19 Sakic is such a tactful, humble guy. That would have been too funny.

Best Friends Forever!


02 February 2007

What's "Wild" About Minnesota, Anyway?

The Game: Avs vs. Wild

So, it started snowing last night. Again. I believe this is the SEVENTH consecutive weekend that Colorado has gotten dumped on, in installments ranging between a couple of inches and a few feet. Now, I am usually the transplant that defends snow against the perennial grumblings of natives. But this is getting old. This morning, the wind was blowing so hard through the breezeway at my apartment complex that snow was actually coming in the cracks of my door. There's a little pile on the carpet; I kid you not.

Anyway, it was a good night to come home, cook up a vat of chili, and watch the game. Apparently I wasn't the only fan who thought so, as the Denver Post cites low attendance at the Pepsi Center. Or maybe we all just thought the Avs should have had this game in the bag.

The Avs are on a five game homestand. And they just beat the team at the top of the heap. And this was a must-win four point game. The Wild have been terrible on the road in general this season (9-16-1), and are especially so when they come to Denver, going "2-12-2...in 16 lifetime visits to the Pepsi Center and hav[ing] lost in five of their last six trips [here]" (TSN).

It was a good game to watch, really. The Avs kept it tied up until into the 3rd period. Even when the Wild made it 4-3, I wasn't too concerned. But that fifth goal...Ugh.


Wild 5
Avs 3

Nothing like beer to wash down the bitter taste of defeat, though. Last night's was Planet Porter from the Boulder Beer Company in Boulder, CO. My only previous Porter experience was at Rock Bottom, and I thought it tasted like oven drippings, so I was a little hesitant. But, it was time to give Porter another chance, and I'm glad I did. I can't stay mad at you, beer! When I tasted it, the words "beer milkshake" came to mind...in the best possible way. It was like beer...making out with a chocolate milkshake...on silk sheets. Yeah.

Boulder Brewing Company touts itself as Colorado's oldest microbrewery, established in 1979. I don't know about that. They're older than me, anyway.

Best Friends Forever!