Welcome to Phaux Hockey!
(Abandon hope, all ye who enter here)
I was happy with my recap of H2H, so I thought I’d do one of this trip as well. And even though it’s a game in AZ, it’s still a @#$%ing trip, alright. 3 hours East in a post apocalyptic mining town, I ditched out of work early to head to the State’s capital and the land of arid, blazing temperatures hot enough to melt most jewelry on a mid-summer day but wealthy enough to keep a refrigerated ice rink indoors. Wrap your mind around that. It’s not only how I feel about how out of place hockey is here, but I also begrudgingly admire the fact that they even attempt to keep ice frozen in such a climate. Did you know that most developing nations can’t keep a constant flow of power to homes and, at times, entire cities? Yeah, well phoenix (it won’t be capitalized in this report) would love to reach out to them, but it’s @#$%ing hot outside and there’s ice cold beer in the same place as our ice cold sheet of…well, ice.
So my journey begins after a hard day of shoveling drill cuttings, enough to fill about thirty or so 55-gallon drums between the ten of us. Leaving the shovel behind I make my way to Glendale, stop to buy a charger so that I can be in contact with Jess and Calquake, whose name is Mike, which I re-learned as I was time traveling during our last meeting. I told my mother, just to freak her out, that I was meeting an older guy I’d met on the internet. “But don’t worry,” I said, “he thinks I’m a vestal, prepubescent teen.” “You are,” was her response. I crossed the empty rivers and dry, treeless mountains, through the plains of the Simpletons and past the scores of the Stillborn. The mutants, they awaited me at Jobing dot com arena. And FYI it should be pronounced “JO-BING”, because that’s how the retards @#$%ing spelled it.
Traffic was a bitch as all of a sudden people flock to Coyotes’ games. Flock? Is it a flock of coyotes? Anyway, I met up with Mike, and then we rendezvoused with Jess of Bingo Bango and her posse. Great people, very laid back and even without our passion for hockey, still really funny. Serven also shows up, and in typical Sully fashion beers begin disappearing somewhere into my abdomen, only to later re-surface on some coyotes fan’s face.
Our conversation was pleasant, the Wings’ fans seemed relaxed, confident, and proud. We talked hockey, we even talked in a respectful manner to some gentlemen from phoenix. It was respectful until someone showed up with their face painted white. He got all in my grill and was like “You think you’re a real fan?” He then pointed to his face, painted white, mind you, and said “You think you’re a fan? I am. Do you know what this means?” He was probably referencing the white out but all I could think of to respond was “It means you just got done filming a money shot in a bukake scene and you need a towel? Hang on, I’ll go get you one.” He wasn’t happy, but that’s the kind of asshole I am, and the kind of asshole those classless fans deserve to meet at a home game. Seriously, these are some messed up, classless folks. They’re no class like school in July. More on that later.
In the meantime, I used beer as an excuse for my attempts to ask if Jess’s sister was single. She is. Bingo Bango. Is she in for the next A2Y round up? Let’s hope so. I also complimented Jess’s husband for being the giver of one of the seriously largest diamond rings I’ve ever @#$%ing seen. Have you all seen it? It’s like blood diamond big. Smuggled out of Africa by holding it awkwardly in his foot. Somebody definitely got shot for that jeweler to be able to sell that shit. It’s @#$%ing huge. I had to say how badass it was. Hope it’s real.
So then the game begins. And there are enough recaps out there of the action that I don’t have to tell you what I saw. Instead, I’ll tell you that I sat with Jess and her posse in the first, then in the second we moved down to Serven’s area because, well because it’s @#$%ing phoenix and there’s empty seats in the twelfth row. And for the last and final period, it was just me and Serven. I was chanting and yelling and raving and cheering my @#$%ing ass off. VooX (w00t!) knows how I roll. I also brought up the question: Is it ky-oats or ky-oat-ees? Because depending on the chant, it changes. I think that’s @#$%ing bullshit and reflects the fact that Arizona ranks 49 out of 50 in public education, ahead of only Mississippi. Good job, kids.
The magic of that night came to peak when Zata iced the game. It was a hat trick, and I was wearing my Winter Classic (I was there) hat and was really looking to throw it. But, because Robert Burns was right and the best laid plans often go awry, Gary’s @#$%ing protective netting (which kills thousands of dolphins each year) was in our way. I couldn’t throw it because we were behind the net, in too tight. So I did the next best thing: I jumped the railing into the tunnels where the zambonies and ice girls enter the ice. As soon as feet hit concrete, I get @#$%ing gang-slammed by two (usually) worthless ushers taking advantage of the inconvenient size difference and seizing the moment as though it were that one event that would vault them to Suite Usher. I got tackled pretty hard and dragged out of view of the ice, but not before I made eye contact with Zetterberg and gave him the secret signal.
So there I am getting dragged, and as soon as we turn a corner I get thrown down pretty @#$%ing hard and my arms get twisted behind me, like how Bertuzzi does it when he wants answers. They held my hands together with cuffs and there was a lot of shouting. This is what I recall from that (I wasn’t very drunk, which is a really fortunate thing):
Me: “It’s a @#$%ing hat trick!”
Them: “We’re so sick of you @#$%ing Red Wings fans coming in here thinking you own this place.”
Me: “It’s a @#$%ing hat trick man! Favourite player scores a hat trick and I can’t throw a hat because you don’t understand hockey? Are you @#$%ing kidding me?”
Them: “We’re not kidding you and you’re not getting away with this shit. No one is. No more. You’re not welcome here, understand?”
Them: [addressing someone else] “What do you want us to do with him?”
Me: “What the @#$% can you do? It’s a hat trick for crying out loud!”
Bossman: [bends down to my level] “It’s probably in your best interest to keep your mouth shut.”
Me: “I know you’re right.”
Them: “Well what do we – ”
Bossman: “Need I remind you that you are all on camera here?”
Bossman: “Let the kid go, give him his hat back.”
Them: “Get the @#$% out here.”
Me: “All class, you guys, and [to the bossman only], thanks.”
I left awkwardly after that. I haven’t seen a walk of shame that was this uncomfortable since my last family reunion. I thought I was gonna get, if I can steal Petrella’s catch phrase, jailsexed. Nasty. But lo, there was some sense amongst the Stillborn. I did not share Brother Francis’ fate.
So after that event I re-met the gang and told them my stories. I thought I was pretty badass and phoenix was pretty stupid until my mind was blown by a fellow Wings fan at the bar, during post-game drinking. Mike can back me up on this one: A kid that threw an octopus on the ice was thrown in jail. There was a $500 bail for that shit. His friends were coming around asking Red Wings fans to help and collect money. Of course, we contributed. I pulled out my wallet and gave cash to the help the needy, even though I don’t go nearly that far at church. Mike, who’s probably seen Deathwish too many times, pulls out a wad of cash flips through it, and hands them some recompense.
“@#$%ing bullshit,” we both agreed. What the @#$% is hockey coming too? First the Dive story about bringing charges to the 25 year-old kid in Denver during Franzen’s series against Colorado (did we really only dress one forward that series? Damn…) and now this.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is hockey hell. I finished the night by staying with a former roommate in college who is now one of the many uninformed hockey fans of hockey hell. One of them. The mutants. They were all out playing beer pong when I arrived, talking needless shit after their team gave up a touchdown plus extra point worth of goals. One bandwagon-to-the-bandwagon fan even had the audacity to say that was the only win we’d get this series, as he squatted and pooped in the corner of the grassy lawn. @#$%ing monkeys have more class than these people, I’m not shitting you. This guy really learned the rules during Game 1. He’s from Florida. And he sleeps on a tarp about 3 feet from his own filth. Maybe I’m exaggerating that, but really, no honor whatso@#$%ingever.
I don’t want this bullshit to take away from the amazing time I had, though. Mike Calquake (his last name is Howe, by the way), his daughter and in-law, Mike Serven, Jess and her posse, the lot of them were wonderful people to be around and I was happy to share some quality hockey time with quality hockey fans. A2Y has really helped bring us all together, along with all the other blogs and interweb sites. Mike plugged A2Y to all Wings fans he encountered. He plugged A2Y like Gary plugs Rosby, but without the assplay or scatplay involved. Back to my point, people found a family on the Gore, and to be able to enjoy these same people in real life, in person, is @#$%ing awesome. I have a great time with all of you and I’m always in shock at how @#$%ing lucky we are to be able to have such good friends that are every bit as cool in real life as they are on their sites. Good work everyone, and to Serven, Calquake, Jess and everyone else, I had an amazing time and can’t wait to do it again. I know some of you are doing it again for Game 5 so take my advice: Don’t sit behind the netting. And if you do, make sure you have explosives strapped to your chest in case they try jailsexing you in a dark damp tunnel below the seats after a hat trick. You know, them bomb-vests make good bargaining chips. Because I can’t make the next trek, I’ll await Drew and his lady-friend in their trip during May. We are going to go out in Phoenix dressed in Red Wings gear. What will we do? Who the @#$% knows! But we’ll be representing. That’s all I have on this one.