Canucks and Beyond

Hockey Soup

11/15/2007 at 4:20pm EST

Without any common theme, some random odds & ends stories and related NHL commentary from this past week.

First, about the head injuries:

Concussion Tales

A lot of concussion-related stories lately, but about the most recent ones…

imageOne thing which occurred to me while following the coverage of the retirement of Eric Lindros—while much was made of his career, his worthiness (or not) for the Hall of Fame, his value as a human being, etc—I barely saw mention of the very graceful way he decided to end that career last week.

He cushioned probably the worst experiences of his career—those concussions which derailed it—by rewarding the London Health Sciences Foundation with a $5 million donation. Lindros declared, “I believe it’s because of this care that my career lasted as long as it did.”

That’s a pretty classy move. $5 million is not a gesture, it’s a remarkable gift.

But enough of the “classy”—there were also the Chronicles of Boston.

There is where we witnessed the post-concussion dramas of Patrice Bergeron reaching to a whole new level as Bruins GM Peter Chirelli got into a war of words with TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

To paraphrase, McKenzie: “Players need to be more careful to avoid dangerous hits.” Chirelli’s response: “Don’t blame the victim!” McKenzie’s counter response: “I’m rubber and you’re glue…”

It all ended with Bergeron proclaiming in a press conference: “Why can’t we all just get along?!”

Good grief, what a bunch of girls. But Bergeron gets a pass—at least he has a concussion.

Questionable Headlines Last Week

From the Santa Barbara News-Press: “Malkin Doesn’t Practice”
(...he’s just that good…)

From the Miami Herald: “Leafs Still a Disappointment”
(I have nothing to add; that headline just sells itself)

From the Chicago Tribune: “Lalime Gets Shot as Savard Sits…”
(... and everyone thought that all the bloodshed had ended once Bill Wirtz died…)

And lastly, though it’s not a headline, Damien Cox’s commentary on Jiri Tlusty in the Toronto Star yesterday must be the single dumbest thing I’ve read in a hockey story, ever. (I mean, when you manage to make Steve Simmons sounds like the rational one, you know you need to pump up your medications, Cox):

The youngster would be back in the minors, having disgraced what was once a Canadian institution – a team that once had a member of Parliament in its lineup – with his amateur porn shots.

Amateur porn shots?? Oh, give me a break.

Did this Really Happen?

Comedian Tucker Max once told a story on his website about a drunken trip to a Chicago Blackhawks game some years ago that results in some mayhem. What I want to know is, did this actually happen? Does anyone recall it?

I’ve cited the segment of the story where the trouble begins:

The second period comes around, and Chachi doesn’t return to his seat, so I finish his beer. He’s not going to need it. Mark is busy sucking on the CamelBak, and appears ready to slip into a coma. Then it happens, that defining moment that I wait for every time I go out drinking:

Right before the second intermission, some guy comes up and asks our section if anyone wants to go on the ice and shoot pucks against the mascot,


The guy kinda stares at me hesitantly, but since no one else in the 1/4 full section dares get up and challenge my drunken enthusiasm, I become the chosen one. I get down to the staging area behind the penalty box, and the other two participants are a girl who was so skinny she looked like she spent three weeks on the Miami 48-hour Miracle Diet, and a fat guy who uncannily resembled the Comic Book Guy from The Simpson’s. I asked him if he owns a comic book store, and I guess this is a joke he’s heard often, because he got kinda mad at me. Unsure of how to react to his visible anger, I say “Worst. Reaction. Ever.” This didn’t help.

imageThe waifish usher explains the rules to us: We get a hockey stick and a puck, and are allowed to take one shot against the mascot, this big, furry, dog looking thing. Anyone who scores gets tickets to the next game. I chime in,

Tucker “I don’t want to go to the next game. This place sucks.”
Usher [stares at me with contempt for a minute] “You can’t take your beer on the ice with you.”

Once on the ice I flip off the crowd, and start my advance on the mascot. Right before I am about to shoot the puck, genius strikes me.

I hurl my stick at the mascot to confuse him, kick the puck into the goal, tackle the mascot into the net, pull his jersey over his head, and start delivering directed body shots into his ribs.

Raise your hand up if you’ve ever heard a professional team mascot say “What they [email protected] are you doing, you as$hole?”

I’m not sure if I have ever laughed so hard as when this big fuzzy brown head let loose with a rapid fire barrage of curse words. I am so in tears laughing at him, that I can barely keep up giving him body shots. Of course, my laughter only makes him madder, and I eventually lose the upper hand. He gets me rolled over and ends up on top of me. He is now completely engrossed in the fight, and starts hitting me back, all while I am laughing hysterically.

The crowd went nuts. I mean honestly—picture this scene in your head.

The entire time, the announcer is standing 10 feet away, completely dumbfounded. He had no idea what to do or say, until the mascot got on top, when he finally comes over and pulls the mascot off of me. It actually took him a few minutes to get the mascot composed. The mascot had completely lost his shit; he wanted to keep fighting me, especially after I got up and threw my hands in the air, receiving boisterous cheers from the crowd.

I was escorted off the ice, to continued cheers, when someone who appeared to be in charge started throwing around a lot of words like “assault” and “battery.” I paused, staring at him while I composed my thoughts, and said,

Tucker “I’m sorry, but I stand by my decision. I am now a member of the elite club of people that have fought a professional team mascot. You sir, are not in that club.”

He stared at me, completely silent, for what seemed like three or four minutes, and then just turned and walked away. I was kicked out of the area, and told not to ever come back.

I had to wait by the car for a good hour and a half until dumbass Mark came stumbling out. When I asked him why he was so late, and didn’t leave when I was kicked out, he looked at me strangely and said,

“You got kicked out? What did you do?”

I think that Craig MacTavish might also be a member of that club, actually.

Anyone else you know ever get into a fight with an NHL mascot? Seems like it should be more common than it is…

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