BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL
February 13, 2015 • 3:08 PM
8-BITS vs. THE CANADIENS: WE BLEU IT
This one was straight off the plane from back-to-back road trips – I had my gear stashed in my car at LAX so I could head straight to the rink, and even though I got there a good 90 minutes before faceoff it turned into a more leisurely wait. Turns out the temperature in the building got raised earlier in the day to the point where there were big pools of water on the ice, so now everything was a good 30-40 minutes behind. I ended up hanging out with our goalie Nick, who’s one of the true rink rats at the Skating Edge and really knows what’s going on there in several leagues.
Even after the game before us started, the team using our assigned dressing room before us took their time finishing up and clearing out, so we spent the first period stretching and hanging out in one corner of the rink. While we were doing this, a really nice lady brought her three small kids up and asked if they could ask me a few questions about my prosthesis because they were curious. Well, of course they can. I spent a few minutes showing them how my body-powered prosthesis works and talking to them about prosthetics in general, and also told them I play hockey with a special prosthesis that was made just for hockey. They had pretty wide eyes at first, but, they relaxed quickly and loosened up after that. Mom did a great job with the parenting – she made the introduction, but then the she had them look me in the eye and ask the questions themselves. Mom did it just right, and I told her so. Eventually the second period of the current game started
so Nick, Albert and I just walked into our dressing room and at that point the previous team apologized and took their meeting to the next place.
This week we had 8 forwards and 4 defenders, so I started the game as one of 2 centers that rotated out with 3 sets of wings. It also didn’t help that Chris, one of our better snipers, was out of action this week after twisting his knee during a scrimmage and was reduced to watching on the bench with a cup of coffee. Very cool to see him turning up in street clothes to hang out and support us, though. Our opponent this week was the Canadiens, who are led by a Dad and (I think) his 3 sons. They moved down from the division above after a rough season there where a number of players came and went and (I think) left the core guys hanging, but now they have a more stable lineup. And as far as the Aluminum League standards go, they have a fast team. We were scoreless at the end of the first period and I felt like I’d spent most of my ice time breaking up their plays and being more of a shutdown forward than anything else. The stat sheet later said we were
outshot 6-2, so that assessment seems right in retrospect.
The second period went a bit more our way, and we got some help when one of their guys took a double minor and we scored with a few seconds left in the second penalty to go up 1-0. At that point the ice felt like it was tilting in our direction and our new guys Ben and John made a nice play in front of the net to put us up 2-0. By the time the end of the second period came around the Canadiens looked tired, but we were about to give them some help.
I had already switched from center to left wing during the second period to try and preserve my wheels for the third as I was feeling the results of the odd hours and the travel of the last few days. A few others switched up after the second, including folks who switched between defense and forward. Looking back now, all the switching probably hurt us because there was definite lineup and positional confusion on our part throughout the period, and we paid for it. The end result was a complete collapse on our part, giving up 3 goals and an empty-netter in the last 10 minutes to secure ourselves a 4-2 loss. All credit is due to the Canadiens for playing the better game when it mattered and capitalizing on our failures and some long-shift fatigue, and they showed class in how they celebrated their goals and their victory. They play a good, clean, fast game based around a lot of puck control, they’re having a good time out there, and – this definitely
gets a mention – they did a great job limiting our shots on their goalie, who was on the younger side but nonetheless held his own very well.
I can’t deny that I was really, really unhappy in the immediate aftermath, and I wasn’t the only one. The worst losses are the come-from-ahead defeats, and at least a couple 8-Bits silently stuffed their gear into their bags and headed out without saying much. A big part of the muted post-game conversation that did occur was people trying to figure what they had done or hadn’t done to help contribute to the collapse. Losing like this just sucks, and it stung during the drive home and well afterwards – normally by then I’ve let whatever happened at the rink go, but not this time. We are better than this.