Monday, April 02, 2007

Birth of an American Hockey Fan Week Eight: NHL Vintage Collection: Greatest Goals

After taking a week to bask in the Sabres glory, I decided to tap into NHL’s Greatest Goals, as narrated by Denis Leary. Reasoning behind this casting choice: 1. It was 1996, pre-blogs, when spewing vitriol on random topics still had some cache 2. Boston fans should always narrate sports specials, it gives them something to do 3. There are no other celebrity hockey fans. Though the production values were a little bit low—at one point, another camera man filming Leary fully and unapologetically entered the frame, and I was surprised they had sprung for two cameras—they did manage to shell out for a couple of additional “celebrity” hockey fans, Dave Coulier from Full House and Dan Moriarty from (I’m assuming) open mic night at Jimmy’s Burgers and BBQ on Route 1. I’m unfortunately a little fuzzy on names and teams, which would not only be a key component of this post, but really the only thing that makes it make sense, but none of you are reading anyway, so play along.

Unlike my less-than-exciting experiment with Classic Moments a few weeks ago, this DVD proved to be highly entertaining, and although the daguerreotype-to-digital transfer for some of the older games made it difficult to distinguish between players and, well, the ice, there’s something to be said for a game winning goal in which nary a helmet flies off, as the NHL had yet to determine the correlation between getting hit in the head with a puck and massive head trauma. They trot out quite a few legends to toss in a few monosyllabic words on their famous goals, including Gretzky, Brett Hull (who, it would seem, was in the crease), and a Lemieux or deux. While some of these guys have held up quite well for having had the shit slapshotted out of them for years, some of their noses make me wonder whether their team doctor’s were even vaguely acquainted with the idea of a plumb line.

At one point Dave Coulier gave Luc Robitaille a mic and a piece of chalk and asked him to reenact the specifics of his famous goal (I forget which one), and if your DVD remote isn’t a piece of shit like mine, you can actually pause on the very moment during Robitaille’s masterful oration (“Then I went here, and he cameat me, so I went here, then I went here…”) at which Coulier regrets turning on his mic. Once Lucky Luc figured out how to use the chalk and got about halfway through drawing circles and hearts on the chalkboard, Coulier mercifully put us out of our misery.

Even worse is Leary’s attempt to recreate the famous goal during which the famous hockey player (an assist here?) flips the puck over the back of the net, to himself, to score. An amazing goal to watch, with some seriously creative expletive usage on my part, but Leary takes about 4-5 tries on clear ice only to fail miserably, and a truer anti-smoking announcement has never been filmed.

Perhaps the greatest joy for me was the introduction of a move called a spin-o-rama, joylessly defined by Wikipedia as “a player completing several tight circles with the puck fully under control of his stick, eluding pursuing opponents who cannot keep up or intercept the player.” There was an entire category devoted to spin-o-ramas, kicked off with Valerie Kamenski’s shot between his feet while in some sort of tailspin. This move is the wheelie, the slam dunk, the Called Shot of hockey. Including this maneuver once in every game would guarantee that even the Predators would pack the stands. This move blew my top, agaped my jaw, warmed the cockles of my heart.

All in all, a worthy 46 minutes and royalty nickel for Denis Leary, and I learned how to pronounce Yzerman.

Birthing Status: Four Centimeters

1 comment:

WD to Evers to Chance said...

Luc Robitaille's quadruple spin-o-rama play was definitely a bit over the top. I do think the move in general is pretty awesome, though. I think it probably falls under your list of things to show to your 9-year old daughter when you want them to become hooked on hockey.

Oh yeah, I totally agree with your comments about the production quality. It was on par with a music video that your friends made for their grunge band in high school. Only with worse sound quality. I think they should probably re-shoot that special or something...