September 7, 2006

I'm ready for some Hockey!

Pre-season is fast approaching with the first game, for the Washington Capitals, on September 20th against the Lightning. Regular season begins October 5th against the NY Rangers.

Last year I had a hard time getting into the games even though I started the season at a game. I lucked out and one of my company's VPs gave me tickets for the first home game. With the strike the year before I was ready for a hockey fix.

During the strike my one saving graces was my cousins played hockey for VA Tech. I missed the days when they played in the beltway league but college hockey was cool. There was more violence and some of these boys were such drama boys and fit in there perfectly. The advantage of college hockey is you can stand right at the glass and Mini Red loved this. My cousins were always throwing her in the air and getting wild whenever they see her. So when she stood at the glass they would skate by real fast and smack the glass with their stick. It would scare the crap outta her but she loved it, or should I say she loved the attention. We only wished VA Tech played in our neck of the woods more often.

Wow! I'm checking the Caps roster and so many are missing. I knew Bondra left, they needed to let him go so he could really have a taste of what his talent could accomplish. But where is Peat and Halpern? I have some research (catching up) to do. At least Zubrus is still there but gone are the days of Kelly Miller and Adam Oates.

The best fight ever seen was the P.J. Stock vs Stephen Peat. It’s said they got off 70 punches in a minute. They looked like Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Check it out:

In November of 1999 I was given tickets for a Caps vs Dallas game. I grabbed a few people from work. Donnie had such a good time he wrote about it and emailed it out:
Hockey game last night

So Red from my work scores some free tickets to the Caps game last night vs. the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Dallas Stars.

So myself, my wife Rose and fellow partner in crime Chris Korte head off to happy hour with Red at this place called Chevy's in Pentagon City. Chevy's has dollar off margaritas and the chips and salsa and chix quesadillas quickly begin flocking to the table. The best part was as we were about to leave I was waiting for Rose to come back from the bathroom and I spot her meandering through the tables and there is this blonde lady in front of her who thinks I’m staring at her...she walks up to me and says, “Are you Jim?” I was tempted to say, well we all know what I was tempted to say but instead I sorta looked at her and was like “uhm, no not Jim” and Rose says “got a blind date?” turns out she does and we wish her luck and head to the game.

After getting a good buzz on we head over to the MCI center in downtown DC...well sort of, we first tour the ghetto that is known as south east. Anyone ever visiting DC should use a rule of thumb to stay away from streets named Florida ave and any numbered street under 12. I was not in the least bit worried until Chris headed in the complete opposite direction from what my spider sense was telling me. Rose and Red were in the back of the car and did not get the added bonus that I had as I watched Korte's 90 accord running on empty this entire time. We finally stop at a random Amoco station and I'm sent out of the car to ask for directions. There are three people available to ask, one guy is looking me up and down the entire time and actually says, after he pulls the blow pop outta his mouth, “Nah man, never heard of it.” Keep in mind that this is the equivalent to living in New York City and never having heard of Madison Square Garden. The big lady with him, who reminded me of Nell Carter, said to just turn around and drive up the way we came and not to go on Florida Avenue and we'd run into it.

We arrived 5 min. into the first period! I managed to nurse my buzz with only three $6 beers during the game and thankfully Rose was happy enough with one and to split my last one a bit. Let me tell you how much fun a hockey game is sitting in like the 20th row! I’ve never been to a game that wasn't in the 400's section of either the MCI center or USAir arena (the old venue). You can FEEL the checks and actually see the puck at all times. It took me until the third period to begin heckling the random Dallas fans that showed up, but I got my licks in...In fact there were a couple of moments that the arena was just quiet enough that I’m sure Brett Hull heard me calling him a scrub. The game was a 2-2 tie, 4 on 4 overtime is sorta exciting the caps even got a power play towards the end.

But does the fun end with the game? Hells' NO! Outside the MCI center near the metro, THERE IS THIS ENSEMBLE of trombones, tubas, drums and other cool instruments playing jazzy stuff. We are metroing back because Korte is off to some random midnight concert with his “hommies” in the city. Korte is 21, white and thinks his Dad is Kenny G. So we hang for a while do some dancing in the streets of DC and leave a buck or two before heading home.

It was good times… Thanks Red!