After the game when 50,000 people order an Uber.
Photo courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service
After the game when 50,000 people order an Uber.
Photo courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service
Hockey is great, but I think we should use parts of hockey in daily life.
Fed up with that annoying co-worker? The next time they come walking towards you, ready to sell you on their latest pyramid/MLM scheme, hip-check them over the cubicle wall.
Tired of your mother haranguing you about dating that girl with hoop earrings and a tendency to say things like “You get back, Jojo!” Put her in the penalty box you built in your living room. No TV, no phone.
Jerk cuts you off on the road? You are allowed to pull them over and take their keys, returnable after 5 days.
The Third Man In rule in hockey provides a game misconduct to any player who jumps into a fight already in progress. In real life, any family member who jumps into the middle a fight between two family members has to sleep in the backyard for one night.
The icing rule prevents players from shooting the puck the length of the ice. For everyday life, the icing rule penalizes your wife when she “ices” you — not talking or responding to any of your questions about “what’s wrong?”
Coolest names in 2017 Stanley Cup Finals – Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators
The Blue Jackets were founded in 2000. That was a crazy year. That same year, Lars Ulrich of Metallica started a lawsuit against Napster, which was a file sharing program that allowed people to share songs for free, which is of course illegal. But why did Lars file the lawsuit? He’s the drummer. Maybe James Hetfield said to the band, “Listen, boys, let’s have Lars file the lawsuit. It takes the heat off the band a bit, and everyone knows drummers are a little crazy.”
The Blue Jackets name recalls the state’s history in the Civil War. Not the War Between the States — The War Between the Real Estate Companies. A professor at Ohio University in Athens explained, “Legend has it that Ohio was ground zero between the battle of the real estate agents with yellow jackets and the local group with blue jackets. The battle lasted 21 days, ending only when the blue side sold a four-plex next to a strip mall for 20 percent over market value, soundly defeating the yellow jackets.”
The Blue Jackets play at Nationwide Arena. A company spokesperson said, “Of all the great things about Nationwide Arena, we are perhaps best known as the home of the world’s largest T-shirt launching Gatling gun. We can launch 1,000 T-shirts every minute into the crowd at hockey games, basketball games, and many other events. It’s not flawless, though. Normally, it moves back and forth as it fires the shirts into the crowd. One time it got stuck, and shirts kept piling up on this family from Coshocton. It took us three days to dig them out.”
The Boston Bruins started back in 1924. Now, that was a crazy year. That year Jelly Roll Morton recorded the hit “Jelly Roll Blues.” The lyrics go like this:
I bought some jelly rolls today
Just as I was about to pay
Somebody stole them, my coffee too
I’ve got the jelly roll blues
The Bruins are the third-oldest team in the NHL, and the oldest in the US. The team was started by grocery king Charles Adams, who purchased the franchise for $15,000. “Fifteen thousand dollars?” said a fan. “Today that wouldn’t pay for what the Bruins spend on hockey tape!”
Adams hired Art Ross as the general manager, and he became the front man for the Bruins for three decades. A former star player, like Bobby Orr did years later for the Bruins, Ross liked to rush down the ice with the puck rather than pass it forward. That’s why the called him “Art Ross, the Hockey Puck Boss.”
Did you know the farm team for the Winnipeg Jets is the Manitoba Moose. The Manitoba Moose is named after a real moose. The team’s spokesperson explained, “The owners were at lunch trying to decide a name for the team. Just then a giant moose strolled in the restaurant. Right there in downtown Winnipeg! The press picked up the story, dubbing the hungry moose The Manitoba Moose, so the team just went with it.”
The first ever goal scored by a current Jets player was by Nik Antropov in the team’s debut against the Montreal Canadiens in 2011. When he joined the league from Kazakhstan, one Toronto Maple Leafs executive said he had “world class hands.” The term “World class” is batted around pretty easily these days. Like a restaurant saying they have “world class” pancakes. How do we know they don’t make better pancakes at some dingy diner in say, Kazakhstan.
That game featured a rock show by legendary Canadian rockers Bachman Turner Overdrive singing “We Just Got Back the Jets,” a takeoff on their hit song, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Alternative titles they considered were “Winnipeg Never Forgets” and “At Least We’re Not the Nets.”
The original Winnipeg Jets were founded in 1971 in the World Hockey Association. The World Hockey Association only played from 1972 until 1979 before merging with the NHL. A hockey expert explained: “The WHA was like the little engine that could…if it would have had some coal to fire the engine, and if the engine would have been bigger than the size of the motor in a Hyundai Sonata.”
Despite a strong core fan base, the Jets struggled financially and moved to Phoenix as the Coyotes in 1996. But never count Winnipeg Jets fans out! The Jets rose from the ashes! The new Jets, the current Jets, started as the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999. They moved to Winnipeg in 2011 as the Jets, but the original Jets history stayed with the Coyotes. One fan said, “It’s confusing as hell. There are more criss-crossed marriages and divorces in this league than an episode of the Real Housewives of Moose Jaw.”
The Thrashers were founded in 1999. That was a crazy year. That year President Bill Clinton was embroiled in a famous sexual harassment lawsuit, at one point he was cited for contempt of court. They cited him for “intentionally false statements.” My cousin Hemple told me, “Joe, a similar thing happened to me. I told my wife I was getting the car fixed, but she found me with these ladies from work at the bowling alley. She broke my bowling thumb right in front of everyone. Didn’t stop me. I just don’t use the holes, sort of cradle it and then roll the ball off the end of my good fingers.”
The New York Rangers were founded in 1926 as an expansion team in the early days of the NHL. 1926 was a crazy year. That year the first lip reading tournament was held in America. One participant said, “My wife and I were in the contest, and it so happened that I had to read her lips. She said, “I would like a divorce and I’m taking the house.”
The Rangers are true OGs of the NHL, not only one of the oldest teams in the league, but considered one of the Original Six that includes the Bruins, the Blackhawks, the Red Wings, the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens. League play became sort of tedious with only six teams, so they worked in an extra team for variety called the Minneapolis Mad Hatters. A former Mad Hatter said, “We settled on Mad Hatters, but we also seriously considered the Minneapolis Mary Tyler Moores and the Minneapolis It’s So Cold I Can’t Feel My Toes.”
The Rangers were the second NHL team in Madison Square Garden — the New York Americans started play the previous year. The Americans went out of business in 1942. A league official explained: “Their last season they became the Brooklyn Americans, with the slogan, ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn!’ And no profits either, apparently.”
The National Hockey League was spawned from its predecessor, the National Hockey Association. See, there were four teams, but they couldn’t get along with Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blueshirts, so they formed a whole new league and froze that guy out. A hockey historian explained: “It would be like if the Rolling Stones couldn’t fire Brian Jones, so they started a new group called the Rolling Rocks and left him out.”
In additon to the NHA/NHL, two other professional leagues were running in the early part of the 20th century. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association introduced many innovations, some of which are an integral part of the game today. They came with the blue line, penalty shots, playoffs and numbers on jerseys. Our hockey historian said, “There was a lot of innovation in the early years. Heck, they didn’t even have a penalty box. You had to stand in the corner and think about what you did.”
One of the teams in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was the Vancouver Millionaires. Their home games were played at Denman Arena, the first rink in Canada with artificial ice. Their official song had these lyrics:
On the ice and in da club
We’re the best, ain’t no scubs
We’re the Millionaires, we run this game
We’re poppin bottles and makin’ it rain
The Ottawa Senators were founded in 1992. That was a crazy year. That year Janice Pennington won a lawsuit against the Price is Right for an accident on the set in 1988. She won $1.3 million dollars because a Plinko chip bounced out of the game and hit her in the head. The headlines read, “Pennington Procures Payback from Plinko Puck Packing a Punch and Poking Her in the Pecker.”
The Senators play at Canadian Tire Centre, which is also home of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, which coincidentally is mostly filled with tires. A tour guide said, “Follow me. Please keep up with the group. OK, this Canadian Tire was used on the Monster Truck Sixteen Tons of Savage when it won the 1999 Monster Truck Championships right here in Ottawa. Unfortunately, the driver passed away when he fell 3 stories from the cab to the arena floor.”
This is the second go round for the Senators in Ottawa. The original Ottawa Senators played from 1883 to 1954, and was one of the founding members of the league. These were no pikers – the OG Senators won 11 Stanley Cups. They were the first organized hockey club in Ontario, but the only problem was there was no one to play. One player on the team said, “We spent that whole first year playing imaginary teams. We made players out of hay and propped them up with broken hockey sticks. If you body checked one of them, you were covered in hay for weeks.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins were founded in 1967 in the NHL’s first expansion. The league went from six to twelve teams. Can you imagine a professional sports league with six teams? “OK, we play you guys on Monday, then we play the other guys on Wednesday, they you play us on Saturday, and we play those other guys next week. And then we just repeat that 45 times.”
There was a lot going on in 1967. “The Milton Berle Show” last aired on ABC. Hey, have you heard this Milton Berle joke? “I’m 83, and I feel like a 20-year-old, but unfortunately, there’s never one around.”
The Penguins weren’t the first NHL team in town. The Pittsburgh Pirates were active on and off from 1925-1931. They took their name from the baseball team in town. “Sure, why not call every team in town ‘The Pirates.’ Pittsburgh Pirates football, Pittsburgh Pirates basketball, Pittsburgh Pirates roller derby, Pittsburgh Pirates tiddlywinks…”
When the Penguins took the ice in 1967, the American Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Hornets shut down. They franchise appeared for the first time in Pittsburgh in 1936, moving from Detroit after nine years there as the Detroit Olympics. The Hornets used to play at the old Duquense Gardens, the very first rink to use Glass on top of the boards. Prior to glass, arenas used wire mesh. “I liked the wire mesh better,” one fan said. “That way, when a fight broke out right in front of you, you could stick your finger in the eye of guy on the opposing team. Old time time hockey, good times.”
The Washington Capitals were founded in 1974. The top single that year? Barbara Streisand’s “The Way We Were.” Here are the lyrics:
It’s cold outside Baby
I wish it was like it used to be
The Way we Were
“Um, first of all,” a Streisand fan wrote me. “Those are NOT the lyrics. And did you rhyme WERE with BRRRR? Wow.”
The Capitals have won one conference championship. In 1998, they captured the Eastern Conference crown and faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup. They lost four games to none. It’s disappointing to do so well the whole year and then get shut out at the very end, kind of like how my senior prom.
The Capitals goalie that year was Olie Kolzig, also known as Olie the Goalie, or among close friends, Godzilla. “Sir, it says on your license your name is Godzilla. Is that all one word or is it God Zilla. Are you Mr. Zilla?
Olie was born in South Africa but moved to Canada as a kid. How did that conversation go around the dinner table? His dad says, “Kids, we are leaving the almost eternal sunshine of South Africa to go to the land of endless winter, Canada.” Olie said, “Dad, how about we compromise? How about you and the rest of the family go to Canada. I’m going to stay here and play golf.”