Saturday, February 19, 2011
Let's Heritage the shit out of this weekend - Flames preview and open thread sponsored by Tim Hortons
Forgive me in advance for waxing poetic, but if any game calls for it, this is it.
I must admit to being an unabashed fan of outdoor hockey. While I grew up in the city and thus as far away from a "pond" as humanly possible, many, many days and nights of my youth were spent on the outdoor rink at the park just down the street from my house (park satellite image obviously taken in summer). I really do have the stereotypical Canadian memories of my mom coming to tell us it was "9 PM for fuck's sake, get your stupid ass back in the house it's your bedtime" (mom swore like a sailor even back then). I can just picture my friends and I out there, at -20 Celsius even, just wanting to play. I recall the times we told the city worker to go away when he wanted to resurface the ice because it would mean 30 minutes we couldn't play. I remember the wacky boards we had, with no curved corners and set up as a parallelogram rather than a rectangle. I remember digging through the snow to find our last puck after it flew over the boards. I remember the glorious, glorious relief I felt when I finally took off my 1970's-era Bauers (wearing extra socks because Mom bought them a size too big because "you'll grow into them") after skating practically non-stop for five hours.These were amazing, simpler times that I remember very fondly, and no doubt many of you have similar memories. The outdoor hockey game is a quintessentially Canadian tableau. I guess Vermonters, Michiganders, North Dakotans or Finns for that matter did the same thing, but it's not the same. In Canada those outdoor rinks and ponds meant everything because hockey means everything to a Canadian kid, unlike the Michigan kid who was just biding time 'til Little League season, or the Finnish kid who went cross-country skiing on the weekends. In Canada, it's our shared Heritage.
So what does all this have to do with the 2011 NHL Tim Hortons Heritage Classic? Dick all. The Tim Hortons Heritage Classic is about the NHL seeing a very successful college stunt and thinking holy shit, we can capitalize on this. We can expand our audience, get some press, sell 50,000 tickets instead of 20,000, sell some toques, and sell some admittedly delicious sugary treats. And now doing it repeatedly. All of it under the guise of it being "traditional" and "playing to hockey's heritage." Yeah, whatever. My park didn't have heated benches (or any benches) and didn't have 50,000 people watching (or anyone watching). FFS, it didn't even have nets. Using boots for goalposts is our Heritage. A made-for-TV event is not.
With that said, an NHL game in a football stadium is still pretty fucking cool, no matter how many times they do it. So let's get in the spirit and sell some admittedly delicious sugary treats while we set this one up.
The first double double of the morning - before the THHC even starts, we get a warmup today with the alumni game. It goes at 6:30 PM EST, and it's on RDS (CBC has banished it to online only). I cannot wait for the return of Jyrki Lumme. That guy ruled. And maybe Sergio Momesso brought some delicious sandwiches with him, and Lanny McDonald can spend the game picking crumbs out of his mustache.
Waiting patiently in line for your morning fruit explosion muffin behind that guy who hems and haws when ordering and takes forever, even though he's there EVERY FUCKING DAY - 6 PM EST start tomorrow. On CBC, and Versus for you 'mericans. The Habs won the only other meeting so far this season, the crazy 5-4 win last month when we blew a four goal lead only to have PFK celebrate his OT winner to the disgust of everyone outside Montreal. The Flames are the much better team right now though, going 7-1-2 over their last 10. As for the Habs, well, we suck right now.
Like uh, Dunkin Donuts I guess? Dome Beers remains our favourite Flames blog, what with all the half-naked chick pics on there. And you know, beer.
As sweet as a 20-pack of Timbits you scarf down all by yourself. Hey, don't blame me for eating them all, I was high at the time - DDD is our best offensive player right now I guess, with 7 points in his last 5 games. That's both exciting and disturbing. DDD is also responsible for a CHicken resurgence. The Flames have hot players up the wazoo right now, with Jokinen, Bourque, Regehr all scoring, and Kipper playing well between the pipes.
As cold as a large Iced Cap - do I have to say it? Tits pointless in 8, brainless in 59. The whole defense as a group really shat the bed against the Oil, but Paul Mara will rescue us all. Flames and their 7-1-2 record don't really have much to be chilly about, except for maybe the temperatures expected at McMahon this weekend.
Exciting like one of those temporary donut flavours you fall in love with only to see them disappear after a month or two - Squid!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!! Looks like Squid (who actually played in that first Michigan - MSU Cold War game) will make his return after missing 12 games. Not only that, Hal Gill looks to return as well to help shore up the D after missing 4. Even CHeez Whiz, so horribly disfigured in the last game, has a real chance of playing.
Like a hot chocolate after the game - if all the models of the SI Swimsuit Issue can't warm you up, you may be suffering from death.
Let's hear your rink and pond stories and / or fave Tim Hortons treat in the comments