Oct 292011

By Rich Lindbloom

I know some of you are thinking, “Alright, now you’ve gone too far.” At first glance, there is no way that the New York Dolls could ever even obtusely be connected in any way shape or form to an article on hockey. If you’re highly offended, let me state you probably have good reason to be. In fact I’d completely understand if you immediately send these strange thoughts without delay to the trash bin. I’ll be the first to admit, even I thought long and hard about this piece. However I just can’t seem to get the Doll’s song “Funky But” out of my head. The thought about the song was pulled from the depths of my memory banks when I heard a conversation between the Ombudsman-Adam Fels, and his brother Sam.

I’m fortunate enough to have season tickets next to the Fel’s brothers, and often eavesdrop to try to glean some tiny morsels of their hockey wisdom. (Did anyone catch Sam’s description of Bob Murray adding Andrew Cogliano to the Ducks this year, “..akin to attempting to fix a leak in your bathroom sink by pouring Mountain Dew down it.”) I have to admit, I’m still disappointed Sam didn’t know who #62 on Anaheim was, but for the most part he’s a veritable wealth of hockey information. Anyway, I overheard the two bro’s talking about the New York Dolls, and butted into their conversation by saying “I saw them. They opened up for Mott the Hoople in the Auditorium Theatre back in the early 70’s.” One thing led to another and I can’t seem to get the one song of the Doll’s that I remember out of my head.

To tell you the truth, the Dolls sort of weirded me out that night. I realize the Midwest is supposedly a year behind the LA and NY fashion scene’s, but somehow I just couldn’t imagine their outfits catching on any time soon in Grabowski Land. The excessive makeup and high heels also kept me off balance. Anyway, their song entered my head and I started thinking…

It helps if you’ve actually heard the high energy song “Funky But,” but I couldn’t help draw comparisons to our “funky, funky machine,” Patrick Kane. Before you accuse me of going to far, think of it from a father’s perspective. Tell me, who would you rather have calling on your daughter, Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews? Now I have your attention, don’t I?  Toews is physics, Kaner is modern art; Toews is a symphony, Kaner is a street musician. As the crowd worked themselves into a frenzy when #88 took the ice as our third shootout contestant, I thought how perfectly Coach Q had solved the shootout difficulties we’ve been having. As our funkified frat-boy closed in on Hiller, the atmosphere in the U.C. was electric. This is just me thinking again, but the fan noise as Patrick zeroed in on Hiller may have had an effect on the outcome. No offense Jonny, but when Q wanted to seal the deal he tapped on the shoulder of our “funky, funky machine.”

There was a buzz at the U. C. on Tuesday night from the moment we ran up to the doors to secure our precious Corey Crawford bobble head. My son couldn’t understand why I was running through the parking lot at 6:05 to get the bobble head giveaway. It was worth the effort. As Greg later pointed out to me at home, the mask even goes up and down! “Watch this dad,” as he bobbled the head and the mask came flying down – cool! The bobble head is actually a lot nicer than I thought it would be. It even had the picture of the Indian warrior that’s on the back of Crow’s helmet. I now know why grown men will not give up the prize to the kids whose parents didn’t get them there on time. Losers!

At any rate, Crow did not disappoint on this night especially effective in stifling the Ducks, for the most part, quackless power play. Outside of two upper corner, threading the needle shots by Getzlaf and Selanne, Corey was impenetrable. This is not to say there weren’t plenty of tense moments for our sophomore net minder, but for the most part he was seeing the shots and directing the rebounds towards the corner. His counterpart, Hiller, was his usual miserly self. I recall a game I believe during the Championship season at the U.C. where we outshot the Ducks around 36-14 and lost 1-0. Just as thoughts of dumping a 100yd approach shot into a lake enters my mind in the middle of my backswing, memories of Hiller’s abilities to stop the kitchen sink kept resurfacing. Thank goodness for our “funky machine.”

Kaner had two huge assists on the Hossa and Sharpie tallies. His spin-o-rama move, (for once, as Fifth feather astutely pointed out), opened the door for a chip shot for our Slovakian Blueblood. I still can’t believe I picked “dat horsa guy” up in the 10th round(!!) of our Fantasy League. Marian almost was bucked for his white stallion with 2 minutes to go in the third when he was called for a spurious infraction. Either the Duck he ran into deserved an academy award for stunt acting or Hossa has super human strength (tough call actually). When you stop and pause a moment to think about it, if Marian was in front of our crease and tried to clear the guy out as he battled for a rebound, do you think the quacker would have quashed to the ice? I’m pretty sure he could have maintained his balance in that situation. Somewhat uncharacteristically, I let out a “Kill the ref,” cry that got the guy in front of me to chuckle. I know he was thinking the same thing!

Crazy 88’s feather, saucer pass to Blackhawk middle age heartthrob, Patrick Sharp, was buried in about .0002 nano seconds. I turned to the Fels brothers and said, “How fast do you think that “Hull-ian” blast was? Sam and Adam seemed to agree that it was about 90-95mph, (around 150kilometers for you metric freaks). We didn’t see eye to eye on that one – I had it clocking about 125 mph (200kilometers/hr), based on my never failing visual acumen. Either way, Hiller never saw it – and so far this season I think it was my favorite goal. However, if Hossa’s blast with 2.4 seconds remaining on the clock in OT would have went in…

The odds of the Captain Marvel to not only win the draw, but marvelously placing it on Hossa’s hungry stick defy estimation. Toews may as well have held the puck like a placeholder for the Bears on an extra point on that play, it was that perfect. As the 81 cars blast clanked off the far post, over 21,000 fans made a noise I’m not sure I heard in the U. C. before. There was the initial “ooooohh!,” and other moans and groans, as we realized how close the shot came to striking pay dirt. However the “buzz” that ensued as fans shook their heads in amazement, led to what I’d call “Funky Machine’s Bolero,” during the shoot out. Emerson Lake and Palmer recorded a song called “Abaddon’s Bolero” that was described as follows – “A single melody containing multiple modulations within itself is repeated over and over in ever more thickly layered arrangements, starting from a quiet Hammond organ making a flute like sound over a snare drum and building up to an ear shattering wall of sound.” (and you think I have run on sentences.)

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, shoot outs need to go the way of the dinosaur. As my friend Jerry McP, who used to coach at Mt. Carmel, said “I hate shoot-outs! As a coach I say don’t give up any breakaways…and after a tie I have to give an opponent three “free shots.’ Sux.”  It seems that most of the old school fans, and I think you know who you are, detest this crap game and it’s contrived outcome. There’s nothing wrong with each team getting one point after a 5 min OT period.

Mike Dikta, inadvertently, put it best describing the problems with deciding an outcome in a carnival like manner. He described a football game that was extremely physical, ranting on and on about the how tough the players were who were incessantly clobbering each other. “Boy that was football out there today. There were arms and legs being lost, people carried off the field, huge collisions etc.” He went on and on about the incredibly tough, physical nature of the game, stating it didn’t matter who won, “damn it, that was football.” And then he said something that made me laugh out loud – “Screw the skill guys, I’ve had enough of that crap.”

I do have to reluctantly admit I was entertained by the shootout on Tuesday. The energy and sound seemed to build like ELP’s Bolero, reaching its apex as soon as “funky machine” grabbed hold of the puck. Before he tallied, Toews had worked the crowd into a minor frenzy with a wicked wrister that sailed toward the roof of Hiller’s cage. Now I’ll admit, being way up in the boonies I could have heard wrong, but I swear I heard Toews holler “Water bottle!” seconds before he lofted his tally.

After Salami or Balognie, or whatever you want to call that extremely annoying Finn on the Ducks, put a letter in the mail slot, Kaner also yelled “Water Bottle!” just prior to his game winning five hole solution. As I’ve said before, “funky machine” is a tricky little devil.

Two last notes: Mayers stepping in to the Duck who wanted to waddle with Stalberg, is perhaps why I hope fighting is never totally banned in this game. I think it was Brookbank, who had apparently studied video of Stalberg’s last two bouts, and decided he wanted a crack at lover boy. He was in for a rude awakening when Mayers entered the fray saying, “Pick on someone your own size.” Actually, I don’t think Jamal said anything, he let his fingers do the talking. Always nice to know someone has your back in this game.

I also took a guy from work to the game who doesn’t drive, but may be the Blackhawks number one fan. He’s a custodian where I work and I told him “Hey if you want to get a standing room only seat, I’ll take you to the game.” He was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning and my son, Pete and I all took turns standing for a period in the Southwest corner – not a bad seat actually. Pete was sitting next to me and said I’ve never seen a shoot out live before. He told me he couldn’t get to sleep until 2am that night! And he had to get up at 4:30am to head to work the next day. In all honesty, I didn’t expect the Ducks game to be anywhere as near as exciting as the Bruin contest. It’s why I’d like to go to every game if I could afford it – you just can’t experience the emotion and elation of a win like last Tuesday’s in front of your TV.

It was as James Brown described a venue he played at once “Itstofunkyinhere.” I put all the letters together because that’s how James said it as opposed to the way a cracker like me would say it, “It is too funky in here.”

As the dolls would put it,

“You funky but, you funky but,
Alright, allright, allright,
Funky, funky machine.”

Rich Lindbloom

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