Friday, January 08, 2010

Postponed Post

There was more hockey action
here than inside the arena.

There are certain moments throughout history when every American remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing. Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon, the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy, the election of our first African American president...

And now to that august list, we add the night the lights went out in Newark.

When Ritch texted me and asked for a man-on-the-scene report from the power failure that brought play to a halt halfway through the second period of tonight's Devils/Lightning game, there was only one thing to say:

"Hey dipshit...nothing's happening."

Seriously, where's Jeremy Roenick when you need him?

Or maybe I'm wrong. Is anyone interested in a blow-by-blow recap of every piece of interstitial video the Devils have ever produced? Here's mascot NJ Devil inserted into a clip from Animal he is inserted into a clip from Pee Wee's Big he is going for his yearly colonoscopy.

They even made the questionable decision to run the famous Patrick Swayze/Chris Farley Chippendale's sketch from Saturday Night Live, despite the fact that both men are now dead. I guess they're waiting until Kevin Nealon kicks the bucket to finally pull that one from the rotation.

I did manage to do a little investigative reporting while we waited for the game to go on or not. One Devils representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me that he personally witnessed Lou Lamoriello kicking the plug out shortly after the Devils gave up their third goal on seven shots.

It wasn't all bad news, though...the assembled media must have been psyched to get lobbed such a softball for tomorrow's headlines. Just decide whether to go with some variation of "Lightning Strikes" or the "Power Outage" of the Devils failing to convert on the man advantage and call it a night.

Anyway, after about an hour and a half, things finally got moving, and I managed to capture that action on video as well:

You're welcome.

Ben's at the Rock

Yeah, there isn't a lot going on.

I for one, am loving watching all these anchors fill time. If this keeps up, Stan Fischler is going to be interviewing a drunken Chris Terreri sometime around midnight.

Here's Ben, taped at the Rock moments ago:

Seriously, didn't Gary Bettman have no problem cancelling a bunch of hockey games sometime around 2004-2005?

UPDATE: 10:00 PM broadcasters announce game is cancelled- Mike D'Antoni must be thrilled!

UPDATE #2: Official language is game is "suspended." We dodged a bullet- apparently, the next thing scheduled was Ken Danekyo asking viewers for help with his KenKen puzzle.

UPDATE# 3: New official language is "postponed." They refer us to According to Doc Emeric, fans are littering the ice with some stuff.  As a Bruins fan, I'm kind of pissed we didn't get to see tape of the '88 Bruins/Oilers Cup Final blackout game. It was the best game the B's played that entire series.

Best Shot of the Night

Last Monday, I had the particular misfortune of attending the Bruins/Rangers game at the Garden, a 3-2 snoozefest of a win by the Blueshirts after both teams spent two periods aggressively playing like they really wouldn't mind losing this one.  There was a flash of excitement in the last five minutes of the third when the B's rallied back from 2 goals down to tie it, but that was snuffed out by a Christopher Higgins goal with a minute and change left that looked more like women's billiards than ice hockey. I'm sure the Ranger fans were happy to see it, but it's not like they put an exclamation point on the night by ringing up another of of these beauties:

It was a crap goal and a crap game, and to make a long story short, the Ranger fans left feeling relieved instead of ecstatic, and Bruins fans saw their team try to win without a 60 minute effort again, and instead got just what they deserved, which was a regulation loss. Of course, if they were just gonna blow the game, they could have done us the favor of not blue-balling us at the end there.

Either way, the better bad team won, and no one headed home happy, except maybe Christopher Higgins, and fuck that guy.

So we filed out, and unlike a lot of buildings in the NHL, when you leave Madison Square Garden after a hockey game, the dispersal of fans is gradual and a little off-putting. There are so many other random people just walking around the city that after about a hundred yards, you're still in the middle of a crowd, but with each step, that crowd is made up of fewer and fewer hockey fans. One by one, the people who just shared an experience with you are replaced with those who didn't, until before you realize it, you're right back to feeling like the only hockey fan in America.

It's discouraging, especially after a crap game.

Of course, I was headed for the subway, so that feeling was diluted a little, seeing as I was waiting on the platform for the uptown C train, and could still see quite a few folks in hockey jerseys waiting not only on my side, but also on the express and downtown local platforms across the two sets of train tracks across the way.

I was walking north along the platform to kill a little time, and as I strolled past a trash can in the corner next to an empty bench, I just kind of sensed a disturbance in the force.  People were gathered around, looking at something, I couldn't tell what, but there was a palpable excitement in the air, bordering on fear.

I swiveled my head around and saw it. There was a fat, nasty rat crouching behind the trash can, up on the platform, WITH US, knawing on something. People were maintaining a safe distance of about 20 yards or so, and kind of slowly rotating around the trash can so they could keep an eye on the rat.

Of course, rats in the subway are no big deal, provided they stay down on the tracks where they belong. But when one gets up on the platform, on the same level as you, that's an altogether different experience. I've seen it happen a number of times and it's always dramatic as hell when they run. People run, jump, scream, freak out, you name it. It's exciting, and that rat was cornered and definately going to run.

I joined the circle of onlookers, eyeing the nasty fucker and getting ready to jump if he headed my way. It felt like a game of Russian Roulette, the standoff at the end of the Good, The Bad and the Ugly, or basically, the way you're supposed to feel during the last five minutes of a hockey game that doesn't suck.

"That's poison he's eating now!" announced an authoritative voice. It came from an African American subway custodian who looked to be in his late 40's.  He slowly approached the circle of onlookers, wearing a reflective vest over his blue MTA uniform. He was carrying a large, heavy shovel, painted yellow, and his eyes were fixed on his target. This wasn't his first rat. Not by a long shot.

This was turning into the best show in town.

The crowd, many of them still wearing hockey jerseys, gathered slightly closer, but not so close as to crowd the rat out from behind the can. Fans from across the platform craned their necks and angled for a good view from their limited sightlines.

Slowly but surely, the custodian edged up to the trash can, and with a quick lateral move, turned the corner of the bench, and simulataneously smashed down the heavy blade of the shovel. He narrowly missed the rat, who was off like a shot, southbound along the platform. And that's when the screams started. 

As the mayhem increased, and people began jumping out of the way of the fleeing rodent, the custodian lowered his shoulders and broke into a sprint, the blade of his shovel knee-high like a hockey stick. He caught up to the rat after about 30 yards, and without breaking stride, took a high, hard slapshot with the shovel that sent it flying onto the tracks, where it landed hard, righted itself and scurried away.

As one, the crowd went wild.

Hands down, it was the best shot of the night. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Bout Those Kids!

Big ups to the American squad at the World Junior Classic!

I might not have given a crap if not for Aedan Helmer, reporter for the Ottawa Sun, who dropped me the following line:

I'm looking for some opinions on tomorrow's Canada-US showdown at the World
Junior tourney.
Are American hockey fans following the tournament?

I wrote him back with the following:

Hey Aedan-

What the hell is the World Junior tourney?


Sort of.

I can't speak for all American hockey fans, but I'd tend to doubt there is much interest, as the tourney isn't marketed at all down here. Basically, if the game was starting, and a buddy called me up and said "Hey- US -Canada is on" I'd thank him, and watch it, at least until Canada went up by seven.

There definitely is interest but the only place to watch or get news about it is on the NHL Network, which doesn't have a show devoted to it. We get some coverage from On The Fly, but not enough to really follow the tournament. The only games I have caught this year have been because I was flipping through and saw they were on, not because I was aware in advance. Also, you're never sure if you're watching a game live, and it hasn't helped that the few games I have clicked on have been big time blowouts.

That said, US/Canada is always worth tuning in for.

When's it on?

All the best,


He ended up using a great deal of what I wrote- here's the story. 

I just watched them end it in OT, and good for them!