Tuesday, June 13, 2006

one. more. win.

Last night, Andi and I attended the RBC Center's away-game coverage of game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Nice night.

We met up with Laul Peland at Neomonde for the pregame meal that was undefeated all through the regular season but inexplicably ignored all through the playoffs. By the way, it's worth mentioning that over the course of these playoffs, I've developed a pile of superstitions that might qualify me for a mental disorder. There's a lucky spot on the floor(disproved during the Buffalo series), a sombrero(disproved), a cursed spot on the love seat(active), special lunch items(undefeated), special dinner items(active), a shirt(disproved), a different shirt(active), a toboggan(undefeated), and a seating arrangement(undefeated). These are just a start. I need help.

After Laul decided to wuss out on the game, Andi and I found some lovely seats with a good view of the RBC Jumbotron. Then came our neighbors. We were first joined by a pretty large collection of small children and their families in front of us. The girl in front of us would adorably turn to me and ask "did we score a point?" whenever the RBC crowd cheered and the boy would take quiet delight in reminding me of the double-minor that would come with my request for any Hurricane to open a bleeding wound upon Chris Pronger's head(I still say that if Pronger bleeds enough, the 4 minutes on the penalty kill would be totally worth it). The kids were alright with me.

We were shortly joined by a chattering flock of teen girls. I do mean chattering. I've often been afraid that with the instant messenger/text messaging revolution that our young folks might have forgotten how to actually speak. No more worries. The chatter disappeared when they spotted a group of boys they knew and left to join them. It reminded me of so many get-togethers I was part of before drivers' licences were issued to my crowd where the sole purpose of the gathering of 10 teenagers was so that "the couple" could get some quality making out time.

I discovered that Andi and I are becoming cranky old folks at an alarming rate when we both expressed relief to be free of the chattering of the Teen Girl Squad. Their replacements, however, were far worse.

In my current shape, I hesitate to call anyone other than UMAGA fat. So let's just say that the duo that replaced the teen girls were "jolly." The two "jolly" girls had homemade t-shirts which identified them as Mrs. Andrew Ladd and Mrs. Eric Staal. Mrs. Ladd and Mrs. Staal were twice as loud as the gaggle of teen girls and offered about half the interesting topics of discussion.

During the game, they were joined by a guy who I thought inexplicably might want to be Mr. Eric Staal but Andi was certain was their gay friend. From there it was an hour-and-a-half of a thoughtful discussion on The Storm Squad's lack of devotion to the sport of hockey. I considered asking them which of the team's players they had "boosted" the way it's rumored the Storm Squad does that proves their devotion to Carolina Hurricanes hockey. I then remembered that the answer to my question was presumably written on their shirts. When not knocking the Storm Squad's seeming lack of enthusiasm, they took time off to offer in-depth critique of their husbands' work with the phrase "Man, we suck!"

The act of watching the game was especially nerve-racking because the puck didn't exactly show up on the jumbotron. I could tell where it was by the movements of the players, but anytime a shot was fired I had no idea just how good the shot was. This made three foot misses look like close calls. In the final minutes of the game, with the 'Canes clinging to a one-goal lead, even dumping the puck into the offensive zone started to look like scoring chances before the goalies' body language would assure me otherwise.

Following the win, I went home to catch any coverage of the game I could. What I found was News 14 Carolina's post game wrap up, complete with locker room interviews. The problem with locker room interviews is the sheer amount of bare butt that makes it onto the screen. The hilarious part was that the cameras did nothing to avoid it, at times inadvertently following a nekkid Hurricane on his walk while panning from one talking head to another.

I've since then thought about what a big deal was made about Ray Whitney's fun in the background of Fox's early-round coverage pre-game interviews and how he knew where the camera was at all times. I've come to decide that any naked Hurricane you see on News 14's coverage is only seen in such a state because he wants to be. It's what I would do, so I can respect that.

The real fun here is that with a 3-1 lead in the series, I've started to more seriously entertain the notion that I'll see my beloved Hurricanes lift one of sports' holiest of grails. Just one more win, guys.