Saturday, January 27, 2007

HEROES 01.22.07

With apologies to all – I missed the All Star Game this past week so there ain’t shit I can write about it. I had to meet with my new employer and damn if the boss don’t really run your life. Can’t get signing bonuses or incentive clauses without them and the agents ehh? I did catch most of the skills competition the night before. Nice to see the big guy having the quickest little dinger. I really wonder how Bobby Hull would have looked like compared to our current ice heroes.

Speaking of heroes did you guys see NBC’s show Heroes this past week? I’m a big fan and it’s listed as one of my fav shows back at I’m into this weird kind of comic book style drama where the characters can have some kind of super or supernatural power or gift. Reminds ya of gettin in the zone and havin a good night on the ice. Smokin! Yeah, walking with wood feels so good.

Well here we go. I’m going to do a parody of the January 22, 2007 episode. I’m doing it as if its one of Jasper’s dreams and as we all know, dreams are all screwed up and have no real continuity. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Sheeeeeet man, enjoy!

HEROES 01.22.07

There’s a story going around about one of Cheevers’ sacred goalie sticks being found years ago frozen in the snow somewhere up in the great north. The dude had been feared by all of Canada in his day… coming out after ya when ya came in on him on a breakaway. And swingin that stick at ya after he made the save. Could really scare the shit outta ya. They say they found it up near Lake Ramsey out of Sudburry in Ontario.

Some shit hole ref named Skyler had something to do with. Seems as though they say he had locked it away in a secret room. I think I’ve seen the place though and it ain’t no secret room, I think it’s the equipment room or broom closet at the back of our locker room in Bay City. You know opposite the showers. There’s always a trash can in front of it that’s full of tape balls and empties. You really never notice the door.

But Skyler’s one bad ass. When it comes to refs he just sort of the silent type. Like any other he just does his job, makes the calls, blows his whistle, collects his cash from the league at the end of the game. If it’s his last game of the night he might pound some with us in the bar after. But on the ice when he makes his call and sends ya to the box – he just looks at ya …… and ya know that damn bald head is sweatin under his helmet too, and ya kind of have a brain fart and want to forget all. No point arguing with him he just will add on more minutes.

So guys, I’m now out on the ice during warm up. Just skating, stretching, trying to get loose but tight. I yell at Jingles to blind side me so that I can get my adrenalin cooking ya know. Us old guys need as much help as possible getting lit before a game. So I’m skating making some tight cuts to test my edges and I hear some tang up in the stands yell, “Well you can blow the Star Spangled Banner out of my ass! Go home Matt, were done.”

I see Matt coming up behind me. He skates for the wad wackin Rhino Room Wreckers that we’re playing tonight. I slow down and he catches up. I pull my best Dr. Phil and say to him, “Good luck with that.” His response, typical, “F-you ass hole.” Oh, the game is on!

Cheer leader … body snatch

What the f was that?????

Sometimes I just can’t remember a lot of things but it seems as though I skate over to the bench and take a toke from my water bottle. This was some holy shit. I had collected some of the water from when the Garden had melted down and this stuff was some umpteenth generation on that. Kinda like your grandma’s sour dough starter. I figure that it gives me good luck.

I’m fadin in and out now. The games gotta be going on. I get a penalty. Nah it ain’t two minutes, ain’t a double, aint five for fighting, shit ain’t even a game misconduct. Gol-damn if I don’t get the DEATH PENALTY! Yipes – what the hell’s goin on here?

Now I’m with my bud Hiko. I think he’s Korean or maybe Japanese but I know that he came down from Hibbing. Good “D” but it always looked like he was skatin on his ankles with loose skates and all – pretty shifty. So we’re looking for “it” and Hiko says “It looks like a dipstick.” I tell him he’s a lame-o and that it ain’t no dip stick, it’s a hockey stick. I think we’re in the hockey hall of fame or maybe it’s the hacker hall of fame. I don’t know for sure but there’s a lot of edgy stuff on display.

But we find what we’re looking for.

Hiko says, “That ain’t no snow suit.”

“Shit no. That’s Cheevers’ gear.” But it’s in some kinda glass display case like it was the Stanley Cup or something.

I pull out my water bottle take a tote and tell Hiko “Our life of legend begins.” The water’s magic kicks in and I’m in the zone. Time slows down for everyone but me and I open the case and snag Cheevers’ stick. We’re out of here.

Out in the parking lot now. Climbing over snow banks and buried cars we get to a safe place to examine the stick. I check it out. Crap! It ain’t even a whole stick. And it ain’t even wood. It’s a stinkin Easton! Holy smokes Batman! I flip it over and see that it says, “Replica provided by Lidstrom.” Vegas Schmegas we’re going to Hockey Town USA. Detroit ain’t bad but if ya want chicks ya gotta cross over to Windsor for the tang. Our journey was ahead of us. We had to find Cheevers’ original wood.

Hiko’s getting a chill now and whips it out to take a piss. It steams in the snow. A yellow drizzle of color and stench. I tell him that that’s a real work of art. Maybe his piss picture could predict our future. Maybe not – its all too unreal.

Dream jump again ……

We’re in a clinic or something and I tell Hiko that he looks healthy.

Jump again …….

Texas I think. But it’s cold. The North Pole’s shifted and the hell with global warming. Hiko say’s that he’s clean and doesn’t need drugs anymore. He can piss a good picture without them.

I shut my eyes and I space out a little bit. I see him exploding. I hear someone say “Peter …. He’s the cause of the explosion.” But no, it wasn’t Peter, it was Hiko folks.

Jump again ……..

Make the save, win the game. Am I reading Cheevers’ mind??????? Every time I hear that in my head I start thinking about cheerleaders afterwards. But nothing in my life has been real. Everything was a lie.

Oh crap. Its Skyler again. I’m begging him to give Hiko back his memory.

My gift? Yeah it’s in a bottle. I’m my own private freak show.

Make the save, win the game. That cheerleader again. Maybe the team needs cheerleaders. Yeah that’s it. Tight sweaters, hard bodies, short plaid skirts with colored panties underneath that said things on them. Like “Bite Me” or “U Guys Suck” so that when they bent over in front of the other team they’ let em have it.

What’s going on here? Mind melt or something.

So I, Jasper Wheats, can jump back and forth in time and space. Crazy. It’s just a dream. Its like Crosby and Howe skatin on the same line. I can handle this. Gotta just keep remembering walking with wood feels so good. Just gotta keep it down.

I got the power, you got the power, maybe he got the power too.

So it’s just me and Cheevers now. He’s telling me, “You, me, the video camera. Just keep the camera on me. I know you can keep a secret. I want you to see what I was. I want the team to know.” He skates out to the net and does a bit of stretches and scrapes to rough up the ice. I look out at the blue line and … Woe! … looks like all of the Outlaws lined up out in a semi-circle getting ready for the machine gun drill. I look back at Cheevers and he’s shy of all of his gear. What the f? He’s just in his long johns – no skates, no stick, no blocker – nothing! I’m thinking that all of his shit must all be back in the museum. I look back at Cheevers and he turns to face the net for a second then grabs something redish colored from the top of the net. Oh shit. It’s the cheerleader’s red plaid skirt. He turns back to the boys, dancing lightly on his feet cuz their startin to freeze, and tucks the teenie little skirt into the top of his long johns and with a shit eating grin he yells “Red Zone guys!” I swear that piece of red skirt that was hangin out of his long johns was smaller then his goalie cup if he’d had it on. Now I still had the camera running but I felt like I was missin it. A chance to bust a guy open and I ain’t holdin wood … just this camera. Whatttt??? So he yells again. “Not one at a time. Not alternating sides. But I want it all at once when I say three.”

He makes the count and its sounds like a barn coming apart from a northeast bound twister after he says “Three.” The camera’s getting this as I was focused on him. He must have been hit with at least ten or twelve of the shots. A couple hit the skirt. I figure it was Jingles that creased his skull – never could keep his shot down. That wasn’t just a dent, that was a crushed skull. He went down like a sack of bricks. Blood was flowing pretty good. Pretty much reminded me of Clint Eastwood in The Gauntlet.

The guys were mysteriously gone now as I ran out onto the ice with the camera still filming. Felt like an equipment manager sliding out to fix up a guy in a televised game but there was no one there to help me keep my balance. Cheevers is still down as I get there. No noise, no nothing – I figure he’s gotta be dead.

Then I hear a little moan as he’s laying there in a pool of congealing, freezing blood. There’s gotta be about seven gashes besides the crushed skull (Jingles … I’m thinking … you asshole). He moves a bit then grabs one of the pipes and starts to prop himself up. I’m thinking I better help him, but before I can put the camera down he pulls a Bruce Lee and pops up to standing. Before me (and the camera) he starts to mend. The gashes close up and his skull pops back out with a sound like a Coors can opening.

Oh shit. I’m shaking now. Wonder why I didn’t wake up at this point. Maybe I better visit a psych ward after I wake up.

Hico shows up again. Carrying his suitcase. Its got like two million bucks in it and he’s getting ready to hand it over to Lidstrom’s agent. He said it was his signing bonus that he had reneg’d on. The agent takes and says to both of us that the debt ain’t paid in full. We’d always owe Lidstrom. Gad what’s he want? Am I going to end up being a stick caddy or something for the rest of my life. He needs me I guess.

Dream jump again ……

It’s a honey. Maybe one of the cheerleaders. Can’t really tell at first. Ah yup. It’s the tall one. Nasty uh huh. But she’s got some split personality or something. I remember thinking that Nicks had said that she had hit on him pretty good one night and then when he was getting ready to go for the gusto she tells him that she ain’t that kind of girl. Talk about doing a flip-flop. So she’s been out on the ice doing some cheers and bending over showing her derogatory ass to the Rhino Room Wreckers. That jackass Matt jumps over the boards and goes at her. Slides her straight across the ice and slams her pouty little face into the glass in front of the penalty box where I’m still sitting serving my death penalty. Man it was ugly to have something that cute get all washed along the boards. But she was special. Had her kid with her that night. Man did he want to be a hero and play for the Outlaws when he got older. But it really hurt him to see his mom trashed like that.

So now its time to figure out who’s on the roster. How many heroes are there? If we could just gel then I’m sure we could make a difference. Maybe take league this year. Who knows. There’s gotta be more out there like us; that have what it takes to be an Outlaw. But each of us has so many problems that hold us back from being are best. Look at Hico. He showed up at home the other night and his old lady’s got a suitcase out. Said she got it out that morning to pack and then leave him but couldn’t put a damn thing in it. He nearly had a breakdown and had to explain some to her how he could read her mind and all. Some bulllshit that was when he tried to prove it to her by asking her to pick a number exclusive between one and three. But they stayed tight. Ya gotta stay tight with the things around ya or else ya bring it to your game. Staying tight with team says ya gotta stay tight with your life.

Maybe Madison Square Garden melts down. Maybe all of New York City blows up. Even Hico with all his damn piss paintings can’t paint the future. And Cheevers can’t see everybody if we don’t clear em out from in front of the net. He’ll need his stick back to move forward. We need his stick back. The first snow melt will bring an impossible change. We’ll have new friends from the internet to feel safe with as they laugh along and wonder: Does the earth shutter under my skates?

Make the save, win the game (damn there’s that cheerleader again – and I’m trying to be so serious).

Skate hard guys!

Walking with wood feels so good!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Global Warming

Earlier this week I talked with my bro Bronzy who lives in SoCal. Lucky sucker, he and Jingles are still playing a couple of times a week and according to Jingles, Bronzy ain't doing too bad at it these days. I bring this up and he says "Well Jasper, I think we finally got in a league where we're playing against guys closer to our own age." I tell ya, I loved playing against the young pups and rubbing a little in their face, but after a while ya just can't stop 'em. Life catches up with ya. Gotta love hockey though and walking with wood feels so good.

So whats this shit about global warming? Ya got any idea? Ice caps melting and all its kinda scary. One week on the news I hear about some massive ice pack breaking off of Antartica that's the size of Russia (hey don't kid yourself Russia ain't that big anymore). And then I read that the permafrost under Northern Canada (now there's a BIG country) is shrinking by some ungodly proportion. The Tundra gone - no way Jose.

I mean, I s'pose this is reality, but what the f...? I could tell you stories. Hmmm. Let me think about this a bit.

Lets see. I'm hearing that the Dakotas and Minnesota have been having some really mild winters these last few years. Sorta been keeping track of that part of the states cuz I've lived in the area. I can remember some pretty damn cold winters back there.

Ever screw around in high school practice? Yeah, if ya get singled out then ya gotta stay after and flood. You younger whipper snappers probably never skated anywhere 'cept in an indoor rink. Ain't they nice?!?!

Well, Wayzata High School in '68 only had two outdoor rinks. Wooden boards and all. That damn afternoon that I got nailed and had to flood was 30 below. Ya had to change out of your gear and jump in some winter garb with pac's and all that shit and haul a motherf'ing inch and half diameter rubber hose out of the boiler room. First to the closest rink and put down some new ice then move onto the further rink and do the same thing. Course ya catch shit from the guys the next day cuz the ice is still shit. No Zambonies, just a bunch of team mates with shovels, scraping the ice after practice then "you screw up you flood". Colder then poop I'll tell ya.

But it seems as though that same year we had a bit of a thaw. Damn near all of the snow melted and I didn't hear a thing back then about "global warming". But what a bitch-ass thing that thaw did. The snow runoff filled every low spot around and refroze quicker then shit. We had ponds everywhere and I went walking with wood to skate on every one of them that I could find. New ice is great! Of course most of the new ponds I found had crap sticking up out of the ice and as I've mentioned in earlier writing that shit gets ya horizontal if your skate hits it.

At the end of our neighborhood was Gleason Lake. Not too deep and really crappy for fishin' - only held bullheads. At the widest, the lake is only about a half mile across and maybe two miles long. It narrowed in one spot where the railroad trestle was and had a little spit of land further on up the tracks where the trees had really gotten wacked from a tornado a couple of years earlier. You could get to the tracks from the backyards of any of the houses across the street. So I moseyed on over there and walked down the tracks to the trestle. (I've been back recently and the tracks are gone - just a bike path now.)

Beeauutifullll ! The whole lake was like a sheet of glass. I figured this was going to be great! The ice was at least eighteen to twenty inches thick which was due to the shallow depth of the lake and the ice was black as the night. I'd only skated on Gleason once before and that had been in a cleared out patch that was the roughest chunk of ice I'd ever skated on. Ice under snow did that - it kind of resembles porous lava rock. But this was something else today. This was tits!

I laced up and tossed the puck out on the ice and it slid forever as I skated out after it with my wooden stick in mittened hands. Just skate and skate and skate. Stick handle a bit. Shoot the puck somewhere - shit shoot it anywhere and chase it again. There was a bit of a breeze so if ya skated into it ya worked your butt off but with it behind ya - ya could sail. Made me think about a story that I had heard from the guys that a few years earlier some whiz had gone out on the snow covered lake with skis and a parachute. He got sliced in half on barbed wire at the south end of the lake after the wind had really got behind him. Nah - not gonna happen too me. I'm in control - I'm walking with wood!

This was the absolute greatest feeling. So much ice. Sooooo smooth. But I gotta tell ya I also had the biggest damn shot of scared-as-shit goose bumples out there too. Those of you that have done this know what I'm talking about. You're skating along and the ice cracks right between your skates. Nah your not in danger, but the noise that that fissure makes as your body weight causes the settling or shift or whatever the shit it is to happen - just liquifies your bowels. Its like a gunshot - where you didn't pull the trigger but maybe you were inside the barrel. It happened, I think, three times that day. You're never ready for it and its so cold and ya know how the sound carries on those crisp days.

Ya can't pass that up. Winter thaw - global warming - glaze ice out on the lake! I don't know.

Ok. So back to the science of this shit about global warming. I read in our local paper the other day here in wonderful Fairfield, CA that the "Cold Spell" that we've been having is of course unusual but not uncommon (what gobal warming???????). In the past, but still recent history, one of the goose ponds (Fairfield has got geese the same way as Rochester, MN so don't call them duck ponds. OK?) got frozen over several different times. Yeah, don't go skating on that shit - too thin here. Just the same ... frozen over. So what gives?

And snow in Texas. Heck one of the girls at work showed me pictures from this week taken at her brother's ranch in Del Rio (that's like right next-door to Mexico). The picture was of him and his kids out in one of the pastures and they had made a damn snowman. I mean, snow on the ground and enough to build a punk dude.

So what's with this global warming bullshit?

Here's my theory on all this. There ain't no such thing as global warming. The earth's just getting ready to tip on its axis. And the North Pole's going to end up somewhere south of Texas with the South Pole east of Madagascar somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Scientists say that its happened before - so why not again?

Ok enough already.

Skate hard, skate often, and continue walking with wood.

Hey if ya like this shit then let me know. Shoot me an email at

Thanks guys.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The North Woods

You’ll have had vacant days
that have followed vacant nights.
But walking with wood is “just all right.”

A fable retold umpteen times to young lads of the North Woods.

“Skate hard!”

Bif Redden - an ice hockey drill of the North Woods.

“Film at eleven”

Bif Redden -recap of the day in the North Woods.

Well, I better go fix the plumbing.

A North Woods farewell after finishing the last one.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

First Skates

I started thinking about the time back when that $1.9 million hockey stick was carved. Sheeeet ,that was a long time ago! Didn't have the Internet back then. Hell, didn't even have tubuler blades or kangaroo skin Tacks back then. Its my understanding, from my grandpa's grandpa or some such other old fart that tried to learn me some cultural goods, that hockey was originated by our North American native Indians. No, not those ones that you get when you're on the phone trying to resolve your computer problems but full blooded Native Americans! I haven't read any other news about that old stick but as far as we up here in the North Woods know - it could have been carved by an Indian.

Again, back to that cultural learning, seems as though that when the Indians originated the game that they didn't have skates. I guess they just ran around slip sliding on the ice. You know - kind a like those idjits that rent the rink after hours and play broom ball. Hell yes they've got spirit and hockey's originators had spirit too. Thank God for that or we wouldn't have the game we have today. But I don't think they invented the shoot-out. Nah, couldn't have. Its just not a team thing. Minor league idea or something.

So when they started using "skates" the type that they used were attached to their walking shoes or boots with straps. The straps were probably made of leather, but get this - the blades were made from wood. Yeah wood. I'm telling ya Walking with Wood is the bomb! Skating with wood can't be too bad either. Wood baby! Snow shoes are made of wood and sinew or leather. Probably invented by the Indians too. And look at all the shit that I'm sure evolved from snow shoes; like tennis rackets, squash rackets (what the f' is that) and Nike's. Hmmm, ya gotta think about that don't ya?

My first skates could have been the strap on version. I remember seeing those skates but my memory gets a little foggy about whether I ever actually used them or not. I do remember that my younger sister wore these skates but not me. Who knows maybe I did? These pups certainly weren't wooden. Dang shame. They were cheap chromed steel and each one looked like a little sled that you strapped onto each shoe. Front blades, back blades and side by side to boot. I don't think you really skated with these things but it was a start. Walk, scoot... walk, scoot ... get the idea?

Ahhhh .. the first skates that I do remember wearing were ... OK this is shit, I mean embarrassing ... they were white, well scuffed up white ... they had toe picks (God forbid) ... and they had two blades each. Skates yes. Hockey no! They did get me started on a life long pleasure from being on the ice. Bitchin! Though I never did partake of figure skating (minor miracles, yup) and it would be many years before I got to even skate again, as we know my first skates that weren't hand-me-downs would be hockey skates. Yes!

Enough for now, but remember that Walking With Wood feels so good!