Friday, December 31, 2010

LATER 2010

LATER 2010

First off, I want to wish everybody a terrific New Year. 2011 is going to be one heck of a great year, ehh. You can count on it.

A not so famous back woods New Years chant, “May you walk with wood in the morning and may you walk with wood at night. Morning, noon and night you’ll play the whole year long s’long as those splinters give you no fright.”


You guys got me on that one. Don’t have a clue what it’s supposed mean.

I figure that by the time you guys get around to reading this it’s already gonna be some time into the new year but just the same I’m gonna relate this story to you.

Unlike most years, I managed to stay up until the wee hours of the night this year which enabled me to ring in the New Year with an atrocious amount of drinking. Ah yeah the honey too. Just the two of us really tied one on this year hanging out here at the cabin. Snowed in and who gives a fuck. Cable was still working (no lines down) and best as I can remember we watched one of those shows that gets piped in from Times Square in New York City. Maybe it was a Dick Clark affair, but I suspect it was hosted by one of those weenies from an ‘80’s or ‘90’s boy band. Don’t really know, don’t really care.

I had set the alarm clock to wake me up in time to see the “Winter Classic”. No matter how hung over I was gonna end up being, I sure didn’t want to miss it – so I planned accordingly and had set this early in the day. This, in my opinion, is the best damn thing that has happened in the hockey world since day one. I live for this game! And this year it’s gonna be a hell of a rivalry. Penguins versus the Capitals. Crosby against Ovechkin. All of this being played on outdoor ice, the way the game is supposed to be played. Original roots. Original sportsmanship.

I love it. Just hope that I hear the alarm go off and manage to get my fool ass up.



Oh shit my head hurts. Throbbing like maybe both temples have been hit by slapshots. Need some aspirin. Need to take a piss big time. I lift my right hand to my forehead and, and, and I’m falling.

Beer cans scatter. My elbow and chin smoosh off of something gooey. Ummm – smells like pizza. Damn, it is pizza. I push my face up from the floor and note that its mushroom and sausage. Yuck what a mess. I just about hurl on the spot, cover my mouth and fall back into the mess again.

Now I’m aware of laughter and maybe the voice of a sportscaster.

Shit! Am I missing the game? Hope not.

“Good to see you finally got up, Jasper. Oh, I mean fell down again.”

Ha, ha … more laughter. More voices. Different voices. Sheesh my head hurts.

I roll out of the pizza box and can see a gold colored sofa beside me. Musta been sleeping on it ehh? Not in my house. We don’t own one like that. We musta gone to the neighbors or something.

I’m a little dazed but things are getting clearer.

The razzing was Mikey’s voice. Positive of it. But I haven’t seen him in years. My onetime defensive partner.

Yup. It’s him. Sitting on a hassock in front of the TV. A mug in his hand – must be coffee. Need some, but shit I’ve got to pee.

I finally stand up and look around. Nope not my place. I look down at the sofa and there’s a crashed out lady laying there with her face buried into the cushions. She’s there, I must a been there too. Skinny, raunchy, gold sofa. Snug. Both of us sleeping there. Doesn’t look like the honey though. I lean over her and gently lift up some of her red hair to see who she might be.

Mike whispers with force, “Whoa Jasper. Don’t wake her up. She seems to have a real attitude – hates hockey.”

“Who? What?”

“Ha, ha. You are so wasted. You brought her over from the bar last night. You two seemed pretty tight, but I was dang ass glad when she passed out. Got wholly quieter around here.”

Now this is totally tripping me. Where’s my honey? She’s going to be soooo pissed.

I look around, head’s still pounding. What in the world is going on? Where the hell am I?

Daggone if this doesn’t look like the house on Randy Lane. Yupper. I’m sure it is. I’m looking into the kitchen and out through the sliding glass door and see that old refrigerator on the patio. It’s gotta be. No doubts now.

“Is there some more coffee? Aspirins?”, I ask of Mike.

Why am I thinking aspirin and not Advil?

“Yeah, there’s a fresh pot on the counter and aspirin in the medicine cabinet of the upstairs bathroom.”

I mumble, “Thanks, I’m on that. Gotta take a whiz though first.” I stretch - damn something’s not right down there. My crotch itches like crazy. I look over at the sofa and hope I didn’t get the crabs from that redhead nodded out there that looks like a pile of dirty laundry.

Stumbling, I climb the stairs and find the john. The lid’s up so I don’t have to bend over – my head would have exploded. Oh shit. I unzip and reach into my fly to dislodge the little monster in my shorts. What a mess! Some kind of something; foreign, slimy, lumpy, is in my shorts and it ain’t my Johnson. Whatever it is I’ve got to get it out and get it out now. I’m about ready to piss myself already. Come-on! I unhitch my jeans and shove everything down past my crotch and piss all over my hand. My hand and shorts are all bloody. Crapola! What the fuck happened to me. My crotch is really burning but I don’t see any damage to my package. Just all bloodied up. I push my britches down further – have to clean this mess up.

What the hell is that in my shorts? There’s a orangish red mass in my shorts. I grab some toilet paper and pick what looks like a bloody turd out of my shorts. And drop it in the toilet. Before I flush the turd gets washed clear and I see that it’s a fucking chicken wing. A hot wing no doubt. How the hell did it get in my pants? Who knows? No point in asking anyone else cuz I’ll get the shit for sure.

I push back the shower curtain hoping to find a washcloth and discover a young lady sleeping in the tub on top of a pile of towels. She had one leg hanging over the edge of the tub but it had been hidden by the curtain so I hadn’t had a clue that she was in there until then. Weird. She was clutching a washcloth in one had so I reached to grab it from her.

Damn! It woke her up. She looks up at me and sees my mess.

“Oh … my … God. What happened to your little thingy?”

I respond in desperation, “Fuck you. Nothing. Go back to sleep.” And pulled the curtain back. Freakin embarrassed, I’m a mess, my head’s killing me and I ain’t even at my own place.

I put the lid down and sit on it. My shoes are still on (never do I ever sleep with my shoes on) so I take them off. Snoring now on the other side of the curtain. I stand up and remove my pants, throwing my shorts in the trash can. Suds up the wash cloth in the sink and wash the hot wing sauce from my midsection. Wring out the rag and use it to dry off. Re-dress, find the aspirin and head south. Need to try to forget this shit.

I get down stairs and find a clean coffee cup in the cupboard and pour myself a cup of joe. I ask Mikey if they’ve got any sugar. He gets up and points me to some. Three heaping teaspoons and the aspirin. I’m set.

“Hey Mike, you know you got a female sleeping in the tub upstairs?” I ask as I sit down on the end of the sofa and check out the red head again. Nice ass. Hmmm

“No shit!?” and Mike’s bolting up the stairs two at a time. A minute later he’s back down.

“Sorcelli brought her back last night. They were going to crash on the couch but you guys were there. I thought they left. He must be crashed out front in his car again. Most nights he sleeps on the couch cuz he doesn’t have anyplace else to go.”

“Hmmm, what in the world went on last night? I can’t remember a thing.” Gosh, I’m telling you guys I’m still a bit confused.

Mike starts out, “Well I didn’t drink as much as the rest of you guys, but just about everybody from the team showed up at Tweeds to see in the New Year. We closed the place and a few of you came over here afterwards to watch Strange Brew on the VCR. So there you are sweet and true. And the game’s just about ready to start. Caps against the Pens on outdoor ice. Me, Dave and Charlie skated on outdoor ice when we went back to Detroit once with Gavin last winter. It was bitchin.”

“Ahh, Tweeds, huh?” I say with hesitation. “It’ll come to me. You know I learned how to play hockey on ponds and the high school I played for had two outdoor rinks. Today’s game should be good.”

The announcers are still covering pregame crap when Gavin comes down the stairs scratching his crotch. He’s wearing stained boxers and a tank top. “Game on yet? Damn, I think that wench tried to cut that wart off my pecker last night. She was studying it pretty good for a while and now look at my shorts. They’re all bloody and my pecker is on fire.”

Mike says “What? Just about ready to start.”

My response, “I’d rather not and maybe you should look for hot wings instead of warts.”

He turned around on the stairs and headed back up mumbling some shit under his breath.

Player introductions were beginning and it was pouring down rain in the stadium where the game was to be played. Damn this was going to be a disaster. The puck won’t move well on wet ice. And if the rain freezes up then the rink will be like some bad ponds that I’ve skated on. Not good. Easy to break an ankle.

Gavin comes back down, wearing sweats now, pours himself a cup a coffee and plops down in a blue rocking recliner.

“Jasp, I didn’t remember until you said that shit … that the girls dared us last night to stuff hot wings down our drawers. Dang what a mess and that hot sauce burns like crazy.”

“Uh, huh – glad you remembered that cuz I didn’t have a clue why I was such a mess. Did you see the girl in the tub?”

“Yeah, Sorcelli’s date last night. What’s with the rain in Pittsburgh?”

“Oh, it’s just pouring buckets. They say it’s gonna be socked in like this for the whole game back there. I think they’re probably gonna cancel the game,” Mike fills us in.

“Well, fuck that shitolla!” Gavin spits out. “I played in worse weather than that back home before. Many a times, I have.” He pumps out his chest. “They aren’t going to puss out on us like that. Man look at all those fans in the stadium. They will just fucking riot or something.”

He leans forward in the recliner and coffee spill all over the carpet. No problem, the place is a rental. The security deposit is long gone by now.

Some guy that sounds like Jim McKay but is dressed like Don Cherry with his freaking high collar and foolish coat and tie, is walking out to center ice and making announcements for new sponsors for today’s game.

The coffee and aspirin are starting to work a bit so I listen intently so as to focus on something besides the still underlying headache.

“We are proud to announce two new sponsors to today’s activities that have stepped forward and provided support and equipment as a contingency in order for the game to continue. We believe that without their input today’s game would be a total washout disappointing millions of viewers. Ladies and gentlemen it is our pleasure to recognize Baden Sports of Federal Way, Washington, USA and G&K Manufacturing Limited of Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada.”

He’s clapping and the crowd’s applauding as the players stand on their bluelines tapping their sticks. In the background you can see that the arena’s staff is moving benches out onto the ice and lining them up behind the players.

“I would now like to ask the players to be seated on the benches as one of our sponsors brings out brand new equipment for today’s event.”

Ovechkin looks back over his shoulder, sees the benches and then skates into center ice. The showman that he is drops his stick and holds out his hands as the camera zooms in, portraying one of his best what the fuck expressions. He spins around so that all in attendance can see his put on.

Meanwhile the rest of the players are beginning to sit down. And it’s still pouring.

Out of the shoots come about a hundred sweet little honeys dressed in bikinis and carrying boxes and they step through the gates of the rink and position themselves in front of each of the now seated players.

The camera zooms in on one of the boxes and a very nice pair of tits. What I can see on the box says “Forest Traction”.

The girls kneel and begin to unlace each of the players’ skates. Some having to unwrap bands of tape to get to the laces. Mind you taking off hockey skates is not such an easy task. Goalie skates is requiring a team of two.

This is some pretty sweet videography and Gavin is whistling while Mike makes cat calls. I shoosh them hoping that they won’t wake the unknown red head on the couch.

Soon enough all the skates are off and a drum roll comes out of the tv’s speakers as simultaneously the bikinied babes open the boxes and proceed to take out what looks like pairs of high top tennies. Blue ones for the Pittsburgh bench and red ones for the Washington bench.

At the same time about another hundred or so babes come out of the bowels of the arena dressed in French maid attire and each of them acting like they’re sweeping with some sort of broomstick that is either blue or red at the sweeping end. They proceed unto the ice and march up to each player and hand one of these broomsticks appropriately colored to each player with a several bundles more being dropped off at each team’s off-ice bench. They gather all of the hockey sticks from the players and the benches and head back to warm places of the arena.

By this time all of the players are now laced up in high top tennies and the Jim McKay/Don Cherry dude is now again announcing some more shit. “Ladies and gentlemen again please provide a warm round of applause for G&K Manufacturing Limited for providing Forest-Ice broomball products the Forest Traction top of the line broomball shoe and their aluminum shaft ultra elite Pro 4500 broomball brooms with a molded poly/rubber head.”

The camera zooms in on Crosby now and you can see that he’s flabbergasted. They pan down the bench and all of the Penguins appear to be dumbfounded.

So am I! Mikey and Gavin are now screaming things that I won’t repeat here. The red head is waking up and Sully is coming down the stairs scratching at his crotch too. Don’t ask!

The camera pans the crowd and everybody is on their feet throwing beers, hot dogs – you name it.

McKay/Cherry starts talking again as the camera zooms in on some official looking document titled “The International Rules of Broomball”.

“Today’s game, which the network and your hockey organization, has been transformed for safety and the utmost level of entertainment into a modified version of the international rules of broomball. Three balls, as provided by our new sponsor, Baden Sports, will be used at all times during the game. The bluelines and the center ice redline will be ignored. Faceoffs will occur after goals, penalty infractions, and to reintroduce a ball into play after it leaves the rink. Running time will ensue, meaning that play is continuous with no stoppages other than to end a period, with each period lasting thirty minutes and twenty minutes between periods. Both benches with their entirety will be allowed on the ice at all times except where a penalty is being served. All on ice officials shall act as referees with the power to assess penalties. In event a team has players that are injured and cannot play then that team may provide a substitute from these staff members only: assistant coaches, trainers and equipment managers provided adequate safety apparel is worn. Without further ado let’s remove these benches from the ice and let the game begin.”

The players from both teams crowd around the boards in front of their benches with curious expressions on their faces. Byslma is just shaking his head. The camera zooms in on Boudreau who’s had some difficult times as of late. He’s mic’d and you can hear him telling his players that this one counts for the books so they better give it their all.

The three balls are set down along the center ice redline and the buzzer blows to begin play.


What’s that freakin buzzing? Oh shit. It’s the alarm clock. The winter Classic – I’ve got to get up to watch it. Rain or shine it’s gonna be a great game.

I roll out of bed, look back at the honey still sleeping – so peaceful. My head is pounding. Too much liquor last night for shit for sure. I stumble around to her side of the bed and give her a kiss and a squeeze.

“Honey, you better get up if you want to watch the Rose Parade on TV. She mumbles and rolls on to her back and puts her arms around me as we kiss again. “I love you jasper Wheats, I surely do. Happy New Year. I’ll get up in a few.”

“Ditto”, I return. “ Gonna jump in the shower and get some fresh coffee going. Need some Advil really bad. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine. Now go. Hurry up with the shower cuz I’ve need to clean up too.”

I kiss her one more time and still stumbling I head to the bathroom, scratch my balls and wonder about the weird dream I had last night.

2011 is going to be a good one. Later 2010.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Twisted Hockey 2010

Summer comes to a close, by popular belief, today here in America. But scientifically it doesn’t end for a couple more weeks. It’s been a fortunate summer for me but not necessarily sweet. Last year at this time I was unemployed however this year I’ve had only three days off since the beginning of summer.

Not all good.

Late July the company I was contracting for let me go, but the next day my subcontractor hired me to continue running the project. The same shit goes on in the NHL I’m sure. Pro scout today and assistant coach for the farm team tomorrow. Keeps ya busy but pay cuts chase these moves. Wish I was an “in demand” player that could negotiate the big bucks.

Yeah, those days are past for this little old crooked puckster. Shoot! I was working with some beginners last year but I haven’t even been on the ice for a few months now. It’s not even all the work but maybe effects of the work – or maybe the last time on the ice. Who knows what causes this crap. I’m pretty sure that I’ve got a torn rotator cuff in both shoulders. The right shoulder, that I tore first, is probably from picking up the engine for my 1957 Fiat 600 (yeah that was more than a year ago but the sucker still hurts) and the left shoulder was fine until after my last skate with the kids.

Is it the cause?

Hell I don’t know but the timing lines up.

Let me relate:

I was skating with the kid’s practice and I took a couple of the kids (a boy and a girl) down to the far end of the ice. They couldn’t keep up with the drills. So I had them passing to each other and I’d chase the puck for them.

No problem.

As the net at this end was good and empty, the father of one of the other kids skated down and started taking slap shots. They weren’t quite as a swift as those of some of my NHL heroes but they had a little more oomph than my shots. He skated by after a couple of shots and said that I had to try his stick – a composite. He said that he waits until the sticks are at the end of production and just a few are left in stock; buying them for about half price. Now that’s a deal if you look at the list price these days. Dang near amounts to a days worth of take home pay to cover leaving a skate shop with one of these babies . Ehh?

So I borrow his stick for a few shots. Kinda hurt that he didn’t want to use my old wooden Sher-Wood P.M.P. 5030 SC, Bellows model (you know you guys it’s been a while since I had my hands on a Coffey “curve” model). Yeah it hurt, cuz I always figure that I’m walking with wood and this dad aint. Wassup widat? But I ding a few and it feels like the old days where I could pick a top corner from the blue line.

But later that evening my friggin left shoulder is killing me.

Was it the composite?

Or was it work?

Sheesh! Who knows.

Now some of you puck heads know that I teach a bit of college for an Illinois university. One class that I taught over the summer included subject matter on the manufacturing and processing of composite products. So, I, of course had to talk to the students about the design of hockey sticks both wood (definitely) and composites (reluctantly) and the relationship to consistent results from well designed composites used by pros today. I also included some minor diversions to aluminum shaft sticks – yahdy, yahdy, yahdy.

Maybe I should be a stick designer????

I’d really like to not be in pain and have enough time to get back on the ice with these little youngsters. It is so rewarding to see these kids not give up on our sport and to actually show improvement.

I’ve helped some of their families out financially by recycling equipment through my connections. As we all know, hockey ain’t cheap. Whatever I can do I do.

Back in the day I bought gear for Jingles and Bronzy to keep them in the game. I’d like to think I’m still doing the same thing to promote our great sport.

In February I bought a whole bunch of new youth sticks that I planned to distribute this year. Through a buddy I got these at wholesale price. Really a great deal and it didn’t set me back too bad. Nice little sticks from Bauer with your typical Nike logo (are these guys into everything now?)

But here’s the bitch of the deal: The pretty little sticks got recalled (March 18, 2010 by Health Canada and April 1, 2010 by US Consumer Product Safety Division – release #10-189). The lead in the undercoat paint and decals on these sticks exceeds the limits for children here in the US and Canada.

Nuts, what do they figure? Are the kids going to eat these sticks or something? Oh yeah, high stick to the choppers and your eating my paint boy. Not going to happen. All these kids wear face cages any more until they’re eighteen or something. Right?

What’s wrong with a little lead? It was in almost all light colored paints when I was kid. And I turned out ok, didn’t I?

Well, some may disagree but that’s beside the point.

Umm …. disagree about the problem with lead paint or disagree with my well being and sanity?

Ha, ha, ha!

I ate the damn sticks. I mean I ate the costs because I had to trash them because the return costs would have been almost as much as my purchase price. What a waste. Huh?

I just didn’t feel right in giving them away.

Maybe there was a “midget” league I could have given them to. You know, guys that are shorter than me – not a lot shorter but shorter by golly. I looked for such a league but had no luck. The sticks would have been ok for adult midgets since the recall was based on exceeding lead limits for kids. To be so lucky.

Twisted summer. Twisted hockey.

My father in law passed away this summer too.

That kinda sucked. Great guy – the father of my honey. If he had played hockey in his youth I bet he would have had the skills of the Pocket Rocket. Same build, same intensity in all that he did. He’s missed so badly. God bless Jack’s soul.

Then there’s the Blackhawks, Stanley Cup winners. Is half their team traded away already? Salary caps be damned! Can they even make a show of it this coming season? We’ll see, we’ll see.

And Stevie leaving behind his Michigan heritage to join a Florida organization. Kudos to the south, ehh!

And damned if Mr. Chris Chelios didn’t finally hang them up. My hero of heroes. What am I going to do now for Pete’s sake? I was hoping that the dude would at least skate until he was my age or at best until he reached legal retirement age and could draw social security benefits. Detroit gets him for some sort of youth development dude. What a contrast ehh? Well he walks with wood until the day he dies and the “kids” better appreciate that.

My bud, Jamie, summed up the whole situation with foolishness on facebook, “Sad day today. Chris Chelios retired. My dream is probably dead. He was the only player in the NHL that is older than me. The NHL scouts will probably stop coming to my men's league games.”

Yupper! Twisted summer. Twisted hockey.

What’s your story?

Season’s almost here, so skate hard and walk with wood.