Jun 152013


By Rich Lindbloom

Back in the early 70’s, I used to work on my tan in the backyard. I’ve always found it very hard to just lay there and bake – I remember a friend once saying he could lay out for about five minutes and then it’s “OK, what’s next!” To while away the time while working on transforming myself into a bronze Adonis, I’d often read. A favorite pastime was setting up a chessboard and studying chess openings from the over 1,000 page book of The Theory of Chess Openings.

As I headed out to the back yard one day after greasing up with the Coppertone, I saw a book on hockey that my sisters had just finished reading. Bored (actually confused) with trying to figure out what a Grandmaster was saying about the Caro-Khan Opening, I grabbed the book and headed for the lounge chair.

Actually, I grabbed both the book on chess openings, and the hockey book which I had ensconced within the chess book. I had to keep a wary eye out for my siblings while perusing the hockey book, lest they detect a tear in my eye. If the word ever got out that I was reading that particular book, I’d never be able to show my face in Hazel Crest again.  While the book mainly focused on hockey, Erich Segal did have a secondary plot in his book, a powerful love story about two star crossed lovers in the Boston area.

One of the combatants was a hockey player at Harvard, Oliver Barrett IV. He hailed from a stuffy WASP family, all well respected Harvard graduates. The Barrett’s were the type of family that highly dissuaded their children from mingling with the riff-raff. Although pretty much a jerk, I liked his character the most because he was a very good hockey player. The other was a bossy WOP named Jennifer Cavalleri. She hailed from a working class family, was sharp as a tack and attended nearby Radcliffe College. She was probably one of the “frustrated women who had to be home by 12 O’clock,” in the Dirty Water song.

I don’t want to give the story away to those of you who haven’t read it, let’s just say you’d be well advised to have a tissue box handy. Of course, the book, Love Story, probably would not have sold as many copies as it did (over 21 million) had it been more appropriately entitled, Hockey Story.

In this day and age where men don’t have to bury their feelings in the black holes of their souls, it would probably be perfectly acceptable for a young man to cry at the ending. However when I read it, it was a time when father’s exhorted their sons too “stop crying or they’d give you something to cry about.” (Is that an oxymoron?) Shedding tears was the antipode of being a man.

Despite my most earnest efforts to maintain a semblance of manhood, tears ran down my cheeks at the end of the book like Niagara Falls. Thank the Lord none of my 8 brother or sisters came out at that moment. Damn sun must have been getting in my eyes.

All this makes me pause and wonder what Andrew Shaw’s reaction would be to the end of the book. Actually, I doubt very much that he has ever cried and most likely would beat the hell out of anyone who did. While many shrinks would consider not being capable of feeling pain or expressing emotion in a negative light, for a hockey player it comes in pretty handy. After midnight though last Wednesday, Chicken Hawk finally let it all hang down, sniping a puck by the beleaguered Tuukka Rask in triple overtime. Too say he was a little excited was an understatement. “I love shin pads,” he exclaimed.

Actually, the puck was deflected into the net off Shaw’s shin pads, eliciting a little dig by Kaner the next day in an interview. Greg Boysen from secondcityhockey.com did a nice job listing several quotes by various Hawks in a Friday posting. My favorite was one by Kaner;

“Yeah, I sit next to him. There’s times where I almost got to tell him to shut up because he just asks questions and doesn’t stop talking when you’re next to him there in between periods. He’s really excited to be here… He does a lot of good things for us, whether its hits, being an agitator, even scoring goals. He probably scores more goals off his shin pads than he does his sticks.”

As they we say in golf after chipping one in to save par, “it’s still a four on the scorecard.”

The goal was obviously one that Shaw will never forget, but what impressed me the most about his game was the way he used his body as a weapon throughout the game. He threw some huge hits on Big B’s, including one on Lerch from the Adam’s Family. Its obvious Chara was getting aggravated by lack of respect Shaw was showing him – the little weasel has a way of getting under your skin. It’s rather apparent that “tall” does not scare #65 – actually I’m not sure anything does. He would be well advised to stop hollering “Timber!” just prior to trying to nail Chara. When these 2013 playoffs are all said and done, Chicken Hawk may need plastic surgery. On the other hand, we all know hockey chicks dig scars.

It proved to be the night of the “little big men” (I love oxymoron’s) for the Hawks, with are legitimate stars not scoring any goals. For a second there, I thought Bollig was going to knock in some loose change. Can you imagine the U.C. if that had occurred?! Actually despite my vociferous complaints that went unacknowledged by the genius that is Coach Q, Brandon had a decent game while filling in for the enigmatic Viktor Stalberg. I just don’t get his benching. At any rate, it was obvious the B’s knew when Bollig was on the ice. No one answer’s my pleas to “Hit Someone!” like Bollig.

Another “little big man” who played large was The Rat, David Bolland. He scored, assisted, played great defense and appears to be a role model for Shaw.  (A 31% face off stat needs to be worked on, but four out of five ain’t bad.) My favorite play of the night by #36 though was when he lined up a Bruin by their bench and lowered his shoulder. The forward saw the hit coming and coughed up the puck like he had just had the Heimlich maneuver performed on him. For a little guy, Bolland knows how to use his leverage to punish unsuspecting opponents. Hawk fans throughout Chicago were much relieved to see good Davey return to form. Good show Bollsy. One final thing about the irascible rat  – how was that slap in the face by the stick of Seidenberg(?) not a penalty? Ref, you suck.

Milan Lucic has been known to use his brawn more than his brain on occasion. He plays like a veritable “Panzerkampfwagen,” literally an armored combat vehicle. There was one play where he and Keith were chasing a loose puck behind the Crow in the Know, and Keith wisely stepped aside when Lucic lowered his shoulder. As Bob Marley once noted, “He who fight and run away, live to fight another day.” I would not have wanted to see the end result of that collision! I highly doubt Duncs would have skated over 50 minutes in the contest had he tried to prove he was a man in that instance. It should be noted that Chicken Hawk would not have backed down though! “Ugly don’t scare me,” said Shaw.

Lucic was one of many B’s who were quite noticeable in the game. It’s pretty amazing, and lucky, the behemoth did not end up with a hat trick. The puck just seemed to find him all night long. Even as a Blackhawk fan you had to admire the passing on the B’s first goal. Horton’s pass was Gretzky-ish. Sa-weet as Napoleon Dynamite would say. I’m not sure what happened to Horton, perhaps he heard a Who? “Even though you can’t see them or hear them at all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.” I, (sort of), hope he recovers – it makes for a better hockey game – we want to beat the B’s best. Also, if he doesn’t recover, Bryan Bickell could become the top free agent in a few weeks and be offered a ridiculous contract by some desperate team. Sure hope he doesn’t end up in the Western conference.

There is on B’s player that I wouldn’t mind seeing knocked into the middle of next week. Bradley Marchand adds new meaning to the word nozzle. I said it before and I’ll say it again, no Hawk player can back down from this little punk. When he slew footed Crawford, sending him to the ice, I was very upset none of the Hawks answered the call to teach this knucklehead a lesson. How could the refs let that go? Crow could have been seriously injured on that play, and I have absolutely no problem with Mr. Big taking a penalty if he wants to perform an on ice castration of the pest in Game Two. Let’s see; nozzle, punk, slew footer, knucklehead and pest. I think I covered it all. Of course if he wore the Indianhead I’d be saying he’s just a hardnosed hockey player! He’s a little bit like Bolland and Shaw all rolled into one.

Tyler Seguin, filled in admirably on the B’s first line when Horton headed to the dressing room. It’s pretty apparent why he was the # 2 draft choice behind Taylor Hall a few years back. Can you imagine Jagr if he still had Sequins speed. Yikes! Seidenberg did his best to beat the Hawks into submission, laying a huge hit on Tazer in the first period. That hit looked like it hurt. If you’re a Hawk forward chasing the puck, you might want to consider a circuitous route when heading into the deep, dark corners with #44.

Well Game One certainly proved to be all it was billed up to be. It added credence to that saying, “Hockey is life.” Although if you read the book, Hockey Story, errr I mean Love Story, I think the true meaning of life is winning the heart of some damsel. A lot easier said than done! The $1 Million Dollar question that was asked by everyone I talked to at the office Thursday was, did you stay up until the end. Actually I did I did and I didn’t. Suffice it to say, like in that Bachman Turner Overdrive classic, “I was working overtime.” You figure it out!

As we prepare to battle tonight against this tenacious Bruin squad, another thought entered my mind. If the Hawks open up a can of whoop-ass, and win this thing in four or five games, should we feel sorry for the Bruin fans? Nah, after all “hockey means never having to say you’re sorry.” If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read this book;

 Hockey StoryHockey Story – over 21 million copies sold

By the way, just in case you’re wondering, Preppy did lead Harvard to the championship! Go Hawks! Win one for Jenny.

Also, in a word to the wise for Tuukka Rask, “Love means never having to throw your teammates under the bus.” No need for that after that marathon on Wednesday. As a good friend of mine said, “No matter who wins tonight, the NHL is the true winner.”

Never thought I’d hear that statement back in early January.

Rich Lindbloom

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