Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Changed Tune

For some reason or reasons that I hope were more nuanced than general jadedness, contrarianism, and curmudgeonry, I was previously not all that excited about the ongoing HBO 24/7 series following the Caps and Pens, despite it featuring my current favorite team and my former favorite/current most detested team, respectively. Well, tonight after watching episode two of four, I will admit: this series is unbearably entertaining. Maybe it was getting to see real hockey players after playing in my own men's league game (0 goals, 2 assists, +2, 3 shots, general tentative and mediocre play in a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in a "must win" game that all but skunked our playoff hopes), or the aid of some late night beers (Stone IPA, 6.3%) and whiskeys (Makers, rocks), but I was more or less paradisiacally enthralled watching the episode.

Quick thoughts:
  • Bruce Boudreau is a dummy. Good guy, experienced hockey guy, friendly guy, great junior player, not a self-serving, real politicking actor, etc. All of that notwithstanding, he's hopelessly inarticulate and just not very intelligent, and it comes through almost every time he opens his mouth, whether talking to the camera, the players, or the GM. I don't think those are traits that necessarily preclude someone from being a good hockey coach, but they probably don't help. Luckily he did not appear with his face slathered in BBQ sauce this time.
  • I have completely turned around on Crosby this year. He's been so damn good and effective on the ice that even I can no longer disclaim or discount him as a player. But, shockingly, his personality has shown through in this series as well. His recounting of how he and Malkin determined who would be the last one in the line-up of players walking from locker room to the ice - Crosby had always been last on ice his whole career, ditto for Malkin, when Malkin arrived Crosby was like, "uh, how should we settle this, rock, paper, scissors?" And Malkin told him, with Crosby pulling off a perfectly fine Russian accent, that he'd played three years in the RSL, compared to Crosby's one in the NHL - was so interesting and endearing, to both players, and I found it so, for lack of a better word, neat that Crosby, who had already accomplished so much at that point and who was the recognized golden boy of the NHL, not to mention the type of fairly strict superstionist to whom I imagine a routine like that means something, would defer there and laugh at the silliness of it, well, maybe I'm an idiot, but after 5 years of actively and bitterly rooting against him, I think I can finally stop doing that. Which is probably just a means of self-preservation because rooting against him appears to be a losing proposition.
  • Matt Hendricks, with black eye, blood swollen pupil, and stitches, kinda reminded me of Skeletor a bit. I knew nothing about Hendricks going into this season - there are a handful of NHL players that I could say that about - but he's been a delightful surprise. Very versatile and useful player, and based on this show, he seems like a decent and fun guy. Why there's a shot of Hendricks with his foot rapped in a bag filled with blood I cannot even imagine.
  • Caps celebrating their one win to break the losing streak as if winning the Stanely Cup was a bit lame, though I guess I understand it. That team is going to go insane if they ever actually win anything.
  • I thought it was kind of interesting that the Caps trainer appeared to be a bit dismissive with Ovechkin after OV complained of hamstring soreness. For all of my complaints about OV this year (he's looked awful and I think it has to do with a lack of Crosby-like commitment off the ice), I certainly do not get the feeling that he's a very high maintenance player. So when the franchise player, who has been struggling and who plays a ton of minutes, complains of a physical problem, I'd expect the trainer to be excessively diligent and thorough and cautious and using everything but leaches to fix him up. Instead, the trainer told him that you don't use your hamstrings when you skate (which struck me as odd but I guess is true) and suggested that the hamstring was sore from OV squatting the prior day. When OV asked why it was just on one side, the trainer basically just said, "maybe you favor one side. Do you favor one side? ... Just go get a message." The whole thing was weird.

It's a fascinating show and it's intensified my longing to be on more of a real and competitive hockey team. If anyone knows of any strange community where they value some combination of receiving low quality legal advice and watching even lower quality hockey, please advise.


Jeff said...

"If anyone knows of any strange community where they value some combination of receiving low quality legal advice and watching even lower quality hockey, please advise."

That exact recipe has served me pretty well in Princeton, NJ so far.

imbroglioh said...

I mean that I want to be paid to provide legal advice and play hockey, rather than watch hockey, though I'd take either. I feel like I'm probably a good enough lawyer to draft the agreements necessary to start a pro league in Eritrea and a good enough player to play in that league.

Jeff Smith said...

Very well written.....more entertaining than the show itself (:

Anonymous said...

Missoula, Montana sounds like your place.