BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL

January 20, 2015 • 07:22 PM

DRAGON SLAYER

It was an omen of things to come when I walked into the rink to hear the final moments of Slayer’s “Angel Of Death” blaring out of the PA during a break in play. Beauuuuuutiful. I smiled and took in the moment before the game resumed and then walked back outside to stretch my legs and collect my gear. It turns out I managed to miss a big fight when I stepped away, with the two initial combatants augmented by the remaining eight skaters on the ice piling into the same corner to grapple with each other at the same time. And then on top of that apparently another player left the bench to join in, and I’d imagine that little rapscallion is in deep trouble if it’s true. You do that in the NHL and it’s an automatic 10-game suspension.

Today’s opponent was the Magic Dragons (I’m presuming it’s a gamer reference, and that’s kind of cool that their name is just as nerdish as ours), and for whatever reason I enjoy playing against them - we always seems to have close games with good flow, and they also have these bright purple and gold jerseys that are so over the top that you can’t help but love ‘em. We were at a decided disadvantage as we were down a full line of forwards, though, and they looked to have a full team or close to it.

It also seemed like they got themselves a couple more big dudes during the offseason, and the game was probably the most physical I’ve been in since starting to play again. Lots of bumping and jostling and pushing and wrestling, and more bodies on the ice than normal. At one point there was a fairly funny interlude when I somehow won three straight faceoffs in their end from the same left-side dot that all resulted in these little one-time shots on goal that were quickly covered and resulted in another faceoff. Their goalie bobbled the second one so I sprinted for it, but he dropped and covered the puck right before I stumbled and fell into him. He was not happy, but I apologized right away and he looked up to see a couple of his guys laughing at me and that probably helped. Our line did not score during the first period, but Albert and Norman from the other line did and we were up 2-0. We’ll take it.

The rougher play reached a crescendo about 7 minutes into the second period when one of their guys collided with my right wing Hunvey behind the play, and my left wing Albert didn’t like that one bit and went over and said some bad words and got up in his grill. I didn’t see any of this as the puck had been cleared and I was heading up the ice. Then the whistle blew and their goalie skated out and said some bad words to Albert, who said more bad words back. Then everybody said bad words. Then the referees decided Albert’s bad words were the baddest words of all and that they were even more colorful than the Magic Dragons’ jerseys, so he got a 10-minute misconduct to go along with a minor. Then we got another minor and killed off a long 5-on-3. Sometime after that we scored a 3rd goal to go up 3-0 at the end of 2. Again, we’ll take it.

The third period was another story. By this time the referees had warned each team at least twice about the rough play and bad words, and their patience had clearly worn thin. I’m pretty sure they worked the previous game with the 11-man brawl too, so I can’t say I blame them. And by this time we were also tired, especially at forward, and the Dragons took advantage and outplayed us pretty soundly. They outshot us something like 11-4 and we didn’t help ourselves by continuing to take penalties throughout the period. At one point I came off the ice after a shift, breathing heavily and staring at the floor. I looked up to see that there were still 9 minutes to go, and I said some bad words because I was hoping it was going to say there was much less than that. The game got a lot less chippy, though - at one point one of their guys took what essentially amounted to a diving golf swing at a puck I was clearing but accidentally connected with me
 instead. He scored himself a slashing minor, but on his way to the penalty box he skated over to apologize and fist bump, which was a classy move. Soon after that the game’s low point happened. One of their big guys took a tumble into a corner after a collision and stayed down for a solid minute. He eventually skated off holding his wrist and forearm and maintaining a stoic look on his face as he passed by, but his hand was trembling from adrenaline and pain. Hopefully he’s alright, but man, it didn’t look good.

As Mick Jagger might say, time was on our side and the 8-Bits hung on and escaped  with a 3-2 win. The Dragons came very close to tying it up a couple times, and for their part they could come away from it feeling good about their comeback effort, and you could see that as the teams went through the post-game handshake/fist bump/slap five ritual. It’s still a little odd how it instantly becomes all smiles after an hour of this kind of thing, but I guess that’s hockey. I’m not sure the referees will look back on this day all that fondly, though. I know I wouldn’t if I were one of them.

And hopefully that Magic Dragon dude is not seriously hurt after the “wings of pain reached out for (him).”  Oh, come on. You know I had to close this with a line from “Angel Of Death”, and that’s about the only one that worked.

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