Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Near Eve

I used to spend more time with the hockey video games, playing at least three or four complete seasons each year in college, editing every single player in the revelatory NHL 2k3, and conducting weekend "legends" tournaments alongside my regular season in ESPN NHL Hockey.

EA's NHL 10 is the best, by far, of all of the hockey games I've ever played, and I've barely made it past the second period of about 12 games so far. Such is the world of parenthood.

Thanks to the Internet, and some finely honed Geeking skills, I've popped in some pretty good sliders, found the "ultimate" rosters (although ultimate sometimes means John Tavares is centering the Isles' first line), and enjoyed what I can to this point. This afternoon, with the day off from work and the boys sleeping, I managed a 0-0 draw through 37 minutes with the Oilers, only to have a wrist shot hop over Rick D's (I'll probably do the properly sim/dork thing and start Biron to start my "season") shoulder at the exact moment a bedroom door opened and "good morning!" echoed through the house.

Tonight, I will get the bastards back, at least for a period or so ... .

As realistically non-realistic as NHL 10 is, it can't really tell us anything about the state of the Islanders, although my lack of finish on the sticks draws an eerie parallel to the boys in royal blue (I never, never use the "new" jerseys, always sticking with the soon-to-be mainstream alternate). Still, it's fun to think my trance-like repose in front of the sorely out-of-date SDTV might give us some glimpse into the coming season.

A few things I've noticed.

1. The Isles can skate with just about any team, but not Evgeni Malkin.

2. No Finnish. Even the probably-overrated-estimated-we-just-don't-know Tavares CAP can't bury anything but wide-open chances. Thankfully there's Mark Streit and a generous deflection engine.

3. We're going to lose every single fight this season. Or, I need to practice this new fighting system, which makes no sense to me right now.

4. The Ramones will bring the Isles out onto the ice at the newly named "Long Island Arena" every home game. Or not. (wishful thinking)

5. We. will. get. Dion. Phaneuf.

Saturday Night

Because sometimes the stars align even for one of the world's least-connected people, me, the Mediocre One and I have managed to get ahold of some veddy goot tickets for the home opener. No liveblogging, but I will get back on Sunday with the full report.

I haven't been this excited for a hockey game since I went to a bar in Ithaca to watch game five of the 2002 playoffs against the Leafs. I spent the whole night standing under a tiny television, crowding a table full of college students watching basketball on the "big" TV, clutching a series of beers, and yelling at some poor college kid who had the nerve to come down from Cornell to watch the game alone and root for the Leafs in my presence on that fateful, stupid night.

I'm pretty sure I told him he had "personally disgusted me and ruined hockey for at least five years in one fell swoop with his sickening display of ignorance, cockiness, and stupidity." And I'm pretty sure that was in reaction to one muted fist pump when the game finally ended. And then he ran out and my friends roped me into playing pool while I bitched and challenged them to "man up!" and play bubble hockey.


Here's the songs my kids demand to hear when the snow starts to fall.

See you Saturday.

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