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Above the Glass

The hockey empire strikes back

I was going to use this weekend to do the same thing as most people: reflect on the year gone by, make resolutions I won’t keep and make predictions for the second half of the season. But then I got distracted by the Star Wars New Year’s Day marathon on the Spike network and out went my New Year’s plans. It was then that I realized that not only is “The Empire Strikes Back” the best of the Star Wars movies, it’s also chock full of dialogue that could just as easily be used by players to chirp at each other, as code amongst coaching staff about game strategy, and as replies to reporters.

“I thought they smelled bad on the outside”: To be used by fans or others who are given an inside look/tour of their favorite team’s locker room, only to realize that it’s not just players and their gear that smell bad. If you’ve ever hung out at a practice rink, outside a dressing room or sat close enough to a bench, you know that pretty much everything in hockey smells like a microwaved armpit. 

“Oh, switch off”: If done right by the right player, this could work as a good countermeasure to a chirpy opponent who follows you around and keeps trying to get in your head with trash talk and what not. You’d need the right attitude, confidence and a keen ability to impersonate C-3PO’s proper British accent, but it could work. Just turn right around, look the offending player in the eye, dismiss him with a wave of the arm and declare “oh, switch off.”

“It’s a good bet the Empire knows we’re here”:  The code that coaches use to acknowledge that they know the opponent has dialed their number and will probably kick their team’s ass.

“Shut him up or shut him down”: An order from the coach to his team to stop a high-scoring forward like Claude Giroux or Evgeni Malkin from getting anywhere near the net.

“Sir, it’s quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable”: The code from the assistant coach to the head coach that it may be time to pull the goalie after he’s let in way too many goals way too quickly and has lost confidence.

“Mine, mine, mine!”: What a star forward yells at the opponent while he’s skating down the ice and protecting the puck.

“He will join us or die, master”: What the GMs tell their owners and coaches during the free agent frenzy about the acquisition of big ticket players like Brad Richards or Jeff Carter.

“That place is strong with the dark side. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.”: What coaches tell their team when they have to play a team that has dialed their number and whom they have not beaten for some time. For example, in the case of the Portland Winterhawks, the cave full of the dark side is the Tri-City Americans’ barn in Kennewick, WA.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”: The standard opening to a coach’s pre-game speech for big games, such as the Winter Classic or the start of a playoff run.

“You have learned much young one, but you are not a Jedi yet.”: The reminder to rookies on a scoring streak that they shouldn’t get too high on their horse because they still have much to learn.

“Never tell me the odds”: Used by coaches in response to any critics, reporters or others who try to make predictions about how a season or game will go.

And of course:

“May the force be with you.”: The last thing coaches tell their team at the end of every pre-game or intermission speech.

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Comments

SYF's avatar

“You have learned much young one, but you are not a Jedi yet.”: The reminder to rookies on a scoring streak that they shouldn’t get too high on their horse because they still have much to learn.

Given the propensity for the Wings to over-ripen their prospects and see how they’ve matured with the big club, how apropos.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 01/02/12 at 09:55 PM ET

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com