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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Dubious Victory

Game Report

Strawberries 11 Titans 5

January 28, 2008

Last evening, the Strawberries managed to eke out an 11-5 win over an understaffed Titan squad whose collective hockey abilities would not normally fit into the spaces between the electrons of a denatured Plutonium atom. This is not a slight upon the Titans who usually put up a good fight. We admire their enthusiasm and effort. We adore their girlfriends. Hell, we’d even have shared beer with them if they had brought some to our dressing room. No, the first statement above is a wake up call to the Strawberries who performed with a complacency not seen since George Bush famously said: “Iraq, I don’t lose any sleep over that backwater. Hey Condi, pass the pretzels.”

The marginally remarkable performances on offence will be mentioned only briefly. Archilles Perron, fresh from a trip to the discounted stick section at Canadian Tire, potted 4 goals, most of which were intentional. The Vice contributed 3 tallies, none of which had enough mustard or ambition to leave the ice surface. But as he always says” a goal is a goal is a lovely goal”. Shiny Sean Brightly, despite smelling of freshly soiled diapers and projectile baby vomit, found the back of the net on 2 occasions, unworried that nobody was covering for him defensively.

So much for the plus side. From a defensive point of view, it was the ugly side of repulsive. Jesse The Leak was as shaky as a neophyte drug smuggler running the gauntlet through Canada Customs. Butcher Brophey fell back into his wicked ways, taking an early penalty for, SURPRISE!, hooking, because “ he was saving his energy for later”. Why he would want to save any of himself only close relatives could possibly know. Sir Gumby, the new poster boy for nonchalance, watched blithely as the Titans took shot after feeble shot at his donkless goaltender. “I would have tried a little harder but why? We were winning. Besides, my defence work is never recognized.” Oh, his work is recognized alright, but not for the reasons he’d like to attribute to his game.

The rest of the Strawbs were unremarkable. It was so bad that Samara Desert, the game’s only fan, was busily calling her friends as early as 3 minutes into the match to see if they had any paint that she could watch dry. In the dressing room following the engagement, the mood was somber. The team knew that it had played disgracefully. Post game, no one bothered to set a rendezvous for the Terminal Tavren. Everyone went home grumpy but fortified by the knowledge that this Thursday excellence on ice will once again prevail. We are hopeful it will be Strawberries’ excellence.

0 beer ordered, 1 beer consumed

Monday, January 28, 2008

Here's a photo worth probably less than 1000 words. It's the one mentioned in the dressing room this evening. Notice the attacking dark team, and then notice the IM turn away from all 3 opponents. I do think he was correct, for he was probably bailing out and heading for the refreshment cooler.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thug-less Strawbs Batter Blades

Strawberries 5 Blades of Steel 0

Game Report

January 24, 2008

For the third consecutive game or so, the Killer Strawberries were forced to weave their on ice magic without the services of the inimitable Dr. Thelonius Thug, who has been whiling away the hours at home, nursing his 435th career concussion. To pass the time in as pleasant a manner as possible, he has been correcting his son’s university Physics assignments and knitting small booties for the Tse-Tse flies he keeps in his basement lab. Since Dr. Thug’s recent incapacitation, ugly trade rumours have been swirling about the team, most of them originating from the Machiavellian mind of the scheming Warrin’ Peace who is salivating at the thought of a continued increase in his ice time. Mr. Peace has been cautioned by the Executive and by his first wife, and the squad’s biggest fan, the enchanting Samara Desert, a woman who has dedicated her life to fostering harmonious relations in her own home and in households worldwide. In a press release on Friday morning, Mr. Peace was quoted as saying “Dr. Thug, despite his deepening senescence, is an integral part of the Strawbs’ march to a second consecutive Cup. We need him in the lineup. If anything I said could be construed as derogatory, I must have been misunderstood or been quoted out of context. Either that or something else”.

Even though rumours of this proportion can sometimes disrupt a team, such was not the case last evening. Jesse The Leak, fresh from intense training sessions at the Britney Spears School of Goaltending and Child Rearing, was spectacular between the pipes as he repeatedly frustrated the Blades with his cat-like reflexes and horseshit luck. The “Last Steamer in Service”, Freight Train Laronde had his best game of the year, scoring two goals which will be featured this weekend on either Sportsnet or his Mom’s Show and Tell session scheduled for this coming Sunday morning in her church’s basement.

Also playing his best game since his elevation to Knighthood was Sir Gawdawful Gumby. While it is true that it would not have taken much to elevate his normally anemic play, Sir Gumby was awarded the game’s 14th star, as huge an accomplishment for him as anything he has accomplished since being booted out of high school a the age of 32.

Some concern was being expressed, post game, by those stalwart Strawberries assembled just outside the shower doors about the spotty performance of the usually reliable Whoahorny Richardson, the only Strawb with both a suppository line AND a hemorrhoid cream named after him. On at least two occasions, he rounded his own net, gathered what was for him a huge head of steam, only to ungracefully topple himself into a physically impossible heap, barely five feet from his own goal line. There was ample speculation on the bench that he had once again been guilty of over-imbibing one of the toxic brews he routinely creates in his bathtub. ”Didn’t touch a thing before the game” he sheepishly declared. “ My wife does not allow it.” The only problem with his denial is that his wife left him for a lisping Peruvian pig farmer eight months ago to the day. Apparently, Whoahorny missed the team’s public relations session where all players were advised to keep their lies plausible.

Butcher Brophey is to be commended for his unusual contribution to victory. For the second consecutive match, he has failed to get a penalty of any description. In light of his newfound pacifism, the Executive is worried that something may be amiss at home. The normally truculent and obstreperous defenceman has not been his self lately, a fact noticed by everyone including the Zamboni driver at Palangio Arenas. His main squeeze, the delectable and mesmerizing Miss White Go Go Boots has not attended a game since just before Christmas. The only information related to her inexplicable absence has been speculatively gleaned by the team’s only reader, Ice Marshall Walpole who regularly scans the local newspaper for the titillating tidbits he uses to regale his fellow players. “I’ve been reading the North Bay Disser and Slammer closely for the last couple of months, especially to see if my name appears in the obituaries. So far so good on that front. But I did notice that in the Local Improvements section it was mentioned that someone named Miss Green Dancing Shoes was moving to Buttface, Alaska, home to Strawbs’ farm team’s farm team, the Nasty Cupcakes. Could it be that Miss Green Dancing Shoes and Miss White Go Go Boots are one and the same personage? If so, why did she leave? For me, the whole affair is a mystery wrapped in an enigma swaddled in a riddle.”

Despite the controversies which surround the august Strawberries, a victory over their arch-rivals was recorded nonetheless. Everyone forgave everyone else for any minor transgression which may or may not have been perpetrated. In the spirit of togetherness, the team re-assembled post game at the Terminal Tavren to laud each other’s accomplishments and to salve any remaining misunderstandings. Miss White Go Go Boots’ health was toasted and the desire for her return wholeheartedly professed.

1 bottle of Blue, 3 Keiths, 3 Black and Tan, 4 Stella, 2 legal Scotch , 6 illegal Scotch poured surreptitiously from Sir Gumby’s belated 49th birthday present from the Vice and the absent Madame LaChaise Lounge, 1 Bass, 4 Guinness, a plate of lo-cal nachos, and fond memories of a recently departed siren were consumed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dam That Leak

Strawberries 5 Blades of Steel 4

Game Report
January17, 2008

They say it is good defence that wins cups: good defence which includes backchecking forwards, stalwart defencemen and stellar goaltending. Last night, the Strawberries provided 33.3% of the winning formula, sufficient for victory but also in such quantity as to cause worrisome headsmacking among the large foreheads stationed at Aloha Baby Compound in Oahu.

Jesse The Leak turned into a veritable dam for the occasion. Using cat-like reflexes, uncanny anticipation, the full width of the goalposts and crossbar as well as his thickening skull, The Leak stymied the surging Blades repeatedly, causing them to curse and swear and slam their sticks to the ice with the surliness of spoiled babies temporarily denied access to their mothers’ soothing breasts.

To say that the defence was porous would be an understatement. On 4 occasions, the Blades skated in on The Leak unobstructed, only to be denied the pleasure of a flashing red light. It is a mystery how this could happen to a team which normally prides itself on its defensive discipline. The Ice Marshall has a theory, not easily dismissed. He has noted that since Sir Gumby’s ascension to knighthood, he has taken to reading Adam Smith’s essays on laissez-faire economics. Sir Gumby has purchased copies of the essays and has been surreptitiously distributing them among his defence mates. As any student of history will tell you, there is no discipline in “laissez-faire” anything. And a lot of discipline is exactly what the team didn’t get last night. Shame on you and your ilk, Sir Gumby.

The defensive side of the offence’s game went missing too. Most egregious were the hockey stylings of the Vice (Rob The Torch to his insurance adjuster). He wandered the frozen wasteland as if it were his first Mormon tent revival. To say that he played aimlessly would be charitable indeed. Fortunately, the team’s overall poor play was more than adequately made up by a couple of Strawberries, most notably by Pyjama Man who has recently moved out of his car into real lodgings. As nimbly as a surpised Casanova leaving his married paramour’s boudoir seconds before the arrival of a suspicious and unexpected husband, Pyjama Man scored and ran, frequently, successfully and totally self-satisfied with his performance. It is a standard to which all Strawbs aspire (on the hockey front only, of course).

Once again, Freight Train Laronde, the last “Steamer in service” according to the irreverent MagBoy, set himself up for a huge expense and barely escaped the evening with his wallet intact. With the score 4 to 3 for the Strawbs and 4:44 left in the last period, the Strawberries took a penalty. Less than a minute later, Freight Train was caught illegally tenderizing a Blade found loitering at the side of our net. Able mathematicians among readers of this drivel will have computed a 2 man advantage for the Blades with just over 3 minutes remaining. A score of 4-4 would have cost Freight Train 4 jugs of draft at the local imbibery. Luckily for all concerned, Pyjama Man was able to steal the puck from a hapless opposition defender. He took the puck down the ice and promptly yet unceremoniously deposited it into the yawning netting behind an astonished Blades’ goalie. Strawbs 5, Blades of Steel 3. The old Steamer off the hook. Victory assured.

As was, is and ever shall be customary, the Strawberries gathered at the Terminal Tavren for a hearty debriefing. With the help of poor short term memories and vivid imaginations, the victory was turned into a rout and the Vice’s on ice performance lauded for the tour de force it never was. All attendees spent the rest of the evening warmly enveloped in happy thoughts, secure in the knowledge that more victories loomed in the offing.

4 Guinness, 2 Stella, 3 Budlight, 7 Keith’s, 2 Bass, 3 Blue and a lot of laissez faire were consumed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Catatonia Cakewalk

Strawberries 6 Thrashers 2

Game Report
January 10, 2008

Psychiatrists would label the performance “post-holiday catatonia”. Hockey aficionados would summarize it by its more common description: “shitty hockey with dashes of brilliance”.

In last night’s tussle with the chick-intensive Thrashers, the Strawbs approached the first match of the new year with visions of cakewalk dancing in their heads. And a cakewalk it was, complete with high scoring and a mind-numbing lack of mental and physical intensity. It was apparent from the get-go that there would be a price to be paid for too many Strawberries having spent too much time too close to the bonbon bowl during the Christmas break. Management apologizes profusely to its fan for the all round dearth of effort.

Let’s start with the shitty part: periods one and two. Now, let’s move on to the brilliance. The Vice finally broke out of his 4 season slump to score another of his gravity defying goals. Summoning all the strength that remained in his tortured torso, he sauntered into the slot, picked up an errant pass from his knitting bee partner, Sir Gawdawful Gumby, and with the casual ease of one born to a life of comfort and debauchery, launched the biscuit on a five foot high, 10 foot long arc which somehow, after an eternity in the thin air of ice pad #2, found its way 7 microns across the goal line: a listless goal by a listless man in a listless game.

The Vice was not the only one to minimize the use of energy on the evening. Archilles Perron, himself mired in a season of sub-par performance, broke out of his shell to score three times on the night, 2 of them beauties. On all three occasions, he did not expend more energy than could be found in a room cooled to 1 degree Kelvin. While management congratulates the recovering great on his recent achievement, it is hoped that the spark which made him Rookie of the Year in 1977 returns soon.

In his own inimical way, Freight Train Laronde contributed to high level of languorousness which characterized the match. In a pickup match earlier in the week, he was involved in a train wreck with Dr. Thug, who was just recovering from the 43rd concussion of his checkered career. As Freight Train was chugging down the ice, dreaming of completing the doctoral dissertation which has dogged him for the last 5 years, he crushed the unsuspecting Dr. Thug with the unintended body check of a lifetime. Down went Dr. Thug, just like a Kennedy, with concussion #44. As everyone knows, Dr. Thug brings a lot of “je ne sais quoi” and “Boeuf Bouillabaisse” to rink every night. Last night, the Bouillabaisse went missing.

Speaking of big French words, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, Monsieur Le Docteur Boucher Brophey was absent by his presence. Not one holding call against him, not a trip nor a slash nor a ceremonial beheading to mark his return from a vacation filled with Hostess Twinkies, cheap vodka and insalubrious encounters in the snow bank at the end of his driveway. He played unemotionally, seemingly lost in a cloud of self-doubt, painted with radium and smacked with a flyswatter. Hope he comes back soon.

Whoahorny Richardson, normally a stalwart on defence and often a sneaky offensive threat, was woeful. Three times he was set up alone in the enemy’s slot by the smooth passing Ice Marshall, only to unleash anemic attempts which barely reached the goaltender’s breadbasket. His shots made the Vice’s look like rockets in comparison. It is suspected that, over the holidays, Whoahorny was concocting a new batch of hooch in his basement lair and that, due to over-imbibing, has worked himself into a month long coma. Time to shape up mister.

A new year’s resolution to quit smoking appears to have taken the wind out of Warrin’ Peace’s game. He was much better when he was emulating his glorious hero, Smokie Hill, former Strawberry Extraordinaire, who regularly smoked 2 cigarettes, a cheap Cuban cigar and the contents of a small hookah between shifts, yet managed to contribute stellarly every time he hit the ice sober. It was noticed that the same lethargy was affecting Warrin’s first wife, the gorgeous Samara Desert, who was in attendance on this forgettable occasion. The Desert barely managed a “Go Warrin’ Go” or a “you suck, ref” all evening. There will certainly be carton of unfiltered CancerStick Mild awaiting him and her in the arena lobby prior to the start of the next match.

Shiny Sean Brightly can possibly be forgiven his lack of contribution. Over the holidays, he self-reportedly became a father for the second time: a boy apparently with an appendage the size of Florida on a warm day. He is to be called Carmen or Carswell or Crimson Tide or something of that ilk. Since no cigars or photos were offered for general consumption, the jury is still out on whether he was just lying to cover his poor showing.

After waving hello to a soft goal early in the second period, Jesse The Leak settled down enough to stop the surging Thrashers for the remainder of the game. Fortunately his spectacular saves outnumbered his spectacular flubs and he will be allowed to start the next match against the Blades of Steel, the only team between the Strawbs and another championship ring.

MagBoy, despite being elevated to a place of honour on a line with Messrs. Peace and Marshall, was ineffective, obstructionist and mono-syllabic. Perhaps he was tired from ironing and starching MagGirl’s unmentionables. It doesn’t really matter. He needs to bring his C+ game or better to the rink next time.

What can be said about Gumby that hasn’t already been said? Plenty. But we’ll stick to just one thing for now. One would have guessed that, being knighted Sir Gawdawful Gumby at the Annual I Know What Women Don’t Want Convention at the Aloha Baby Compound in Oahu, our brave new knight would have come out with some gusto. He did not. Apparently, the title was wasted, as was he at the ceremony.

Fortunately enough gumption was mustered by a sufficient number of Strawberries to make it a worthwhile post game encounter at the Terminal Tavern. Lethargy was toasted enthusiastically and the victory sealed with beers from around the world. All sluggards were temporarily forgiven and bonhomie reigned again.

2 Guinness, 4 Guinness/Stella aberrations, 2 Bud Light, 2 Keiths and a carton of CancerStick Unfiltered were consumed.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Strawbs visit the Nasty Cupcakes Ice Complex

Dr. Thug, Gawdawful Gumby and the Ice Marshall take a break between shifts while at the Nasty Cupcake's Ice Complex during a recent re-conditioning stint.