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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Promising Loss

CCCP 6 Strawbs 2

Game Report

January 27, 2011

The odds were stacked last evening against the Killer Strawberries as they entered their match with the first place CCCP Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks are, to a man, a squad of excellent teenage players, most of whom represent Canadore College at the varsity level. The Strawbs, too, have some fine players, a few of whom are still young enough to squat relatively undisturbed in the family basement for a couple more years. Fortunately for all concerned, they are out on their own having been nudged out of the nest not so long ago. They are living under new roofs where they are masters of their own domains, second in command only to the strong women blind enough to love them while still desperately trying to mold them into specimens they can occasionally take out into public.
Other Strawbs are in their thirties, an age which permits them to stay up routinely past midnight, join their mates for a few post game sarsaparillas and still be able to function the next morning without the aid of copious quantities of A535, Ibuprofen, Alka Seltzer or little blue pills. The remaining Strawbs, older, wiser and more forgiving of the foibles which are now inextricably entrenched in their very DNA, continue to live out the dreams gifted to them eons ago…..dreams first made vivid in street hockey games spanning every season, incarnate in countless pick up battles which followed endless shoveling of school and playground rinks, and still alive in memories of pure hockey joy which miraculously surface, unannounced, like some long-forgotten and fondly remembered friend.

To say that these Killer Strawberries, in their encounter with the Bolsheviks, faced the long end of Vegas odds would indeed be accurate. But strangely, the unexplainable chemistry of youth and near senescence combined once more to produce a worthy performance. After one period of playing with a skeleton crew of 3 defencemen whose total age surpassed 160, the Strawbs found themselves in the thick of a well-contested 2-2 tie. They were full value for the score and, with a little liuck, might have been ahead.

The last period was hard-fought with the sides trading many scoring opportunities. In the end, CCCP prevailed 6-2…..worthy winners but a little shocked that, despite the score, the game was a very close one. The Killer Strawberries may have lost. Yet, they will carry with them into the playoffs the knowledge that, as in their playground dreams, anything can happen.

After the match, those not yet ready to go home reconvened at the Terminal Tavren. Playoff hopes were discussed, well-executed plays recalled, and outdoor rink rat exploits, real and imagined, were recounted with all the fondness they deserved.

3 Stella, 4 Creemore Pale Ale, 4 Lake of Bays, 2 Bud and the promise glimpsed in a well-fought loss were consumed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Turkish Pissoir

Game Report

Killer Strawberries 9 Those Guys 4

January 24, 2011

If the Killer Strawberries have any pretensions to a fourth championship title in 5 years, they will have to dramatically improve their on-ice performance, which of late, has been as inspiring as an unplanned visit to a public Turkish pissoir in the seedier part of Istanbul.

There has certainly been no problem with the team’s off-ice demeaner. They still close down the Terminal Tavren on a regular basis, floss at a professional level and continue to cause women to swoon by using nothing more than a suggestively arched eyebrow. One Strawb has even been nominated for another Nobel Peace prize for his undertakings with orphaned Thai street workers.

Alas, the hockey side of the business has been deteriorating since the loss of the irreplaceable Dr. Thug to the seductive world of academia. Deep in the heart of Scarberia, the beloved goal scoring howler and chick checker is now spending his waking hours initiating unsuspecting foreign students into the dark mysteries of transactional RNA recombination, lipase catalisticism, T-cell zygotes and Scotch imbibation. The Strawbs miss his “Je ne sais quoi”, Je ne sais how” and Je ne sais why”.

The squad has also been adversely affected by the inability of Warrin’ Peace to extricate his fat ass from his fridge-enhanced BarcoLounger now firmly ensconced in the womb of the Garage of Bad Ideas. He has left the team longing for his over-the-top extroversion and pithy philosophical ejaculations.

Still, these are not very good excuses for the Stawbs’ in-game shenanigans since the the schedule resumed just after New Year’s. What was Slickery Mac thinking last night as he taunted a posse of Those Guys alone in his own end by dangling the puck deftly and brazenly among frustrated sticks and wobbly legs, until, exhausted, he lost the biscuit to 3 of them who then took the liberated puck toward the Strawbs’ net and proceeded to pepper the baffled Marquis DeSave with 37 shots. The barrage finally ended when that rarest of breed, the back-checking forward, put a decisive end to the tomfoolery.

Who did the Vice think he was by pinching in at every opportunity? Sure, he was successful in 51.26% of the time, but what of the remaining 76.34% of the time when he played as befuddedly as a neophyte mathematician trying to multiply, unaided by an abacus, three digit Roman numerals converted to base 3.

Moreover, what was with the performance put in by Shiny Shone Less Brightly, a performance which could only be described as “abysmal” since there does not exist a term in the English language capable of moving that pejorative any further down the Scale of Awfulness? ( In the coming months, some time will certainly be spent at Aloha Baby Compound manufacturing a new descriptor for such a level of ineptitude.)

Fortunately, there was one bright spot on defence, if only for the briefest of moments. It was when (it hurts to say) P. Gumbington The Third, disgusted beyond disgust with the play of his team mates, took matters into his own hands with the score at 5-4 in favour of the Strawberries. He glided magisterially into the opposition slot, his voluminous mane flowing like Guy Lafleur’s in a wind of his own making, and proceeded to slam a beautiful feed past a clearly stunned enemy goaler. It was the turning point in a sloppy match, eventually won by the Strawbs 9-4.

Save for Slickery’s too-realistic imitation of a deer caught in the headlights, the Strawbs’ play at forward was banal yet oddly productive. Goals were scored in bunches, but sadly they were scored with all the enthusiasm reserved for shoveling the driveway for the fourth time in 24 hours. And the enthusiasm had a flaccid panache to match.

Oh, and by the way, the goaltending sucked…. sucked like a new Hoover on steroids.

After the match, most of the Killer Strawberries slunk home to lie about the game to their spouses and dogs. The Vice, the Ice and the Gumbatorial Device, did not duck out. Rather they screamed off to the Terminal Tavren to efface any lingering memories of the crappy play of the Others. They were successful.

1 Keith’s Red, II.XIV (base 3) SteamWhistles, 1 glass of water, 2 Hockstaeder Pale Ales and several happily acknowledged come-on winks from an inebriated bridal party were consumed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Gift of Hockey

Game Report

Killer Strawberries Some Free Agents Fewer

January 20, 2011

Last night’s game against the Free Agents marked the 473rd time the Killer Strawberries, a team of incomprehensible nuances, contradictions and chemistry, had taken to the ice as part of the Canadore College Intramural Hockey League: 26 years of glorious losses, improbable victories, smelly dressing rooms and jokes so bad they continue to merit repeating at every possible opportunity. If the Strawbs did not exist, they would have been invented by some 20th century Voltaire.

In one of the most serendipitous bequests emanating from the Great Inscrutable Cosmic Void, the Killer Strawberries were ,from the very beginning, favoured with the Gift of Hockey. The Gift takes many forms, some recurring, some astonishing in their novelty. It is the Gift which pries the Strawbs from the comfort of couches everywhere, at 11in the evening, with the thermometer moaning at 35 below. It’s the highlight of every week.

And how did the Gift manifest itself in game #473? As always, it was in small things. It was in having the dressing room go from virtually empty at 10 minutes to game time to so full by the Zamboni’s last lick of the ice that the Executive had to once more make room for the final straggler on their throne by the door. The lateness of stragglers never goes unremarked or unscathed. “Pyjama Man, you’re late again. Take your time buddy, you’ve still got 30 second to get ready . And by the way, get rid of that erection you shoulda taken care of at home. Maybe the Butcher can help you with it when he finally shows up.”

It manifested itself again, 3 minutes into the match as the aforementioned Bonehead Butcher Brophey finally emerged from the locker room, half dressed, to boyishly press his nose against the glass, temporarily locked out of the play, heartsick that may have missed a shift.

It was in looking down the bench and marveling that a small gulf, a mere 40 years of dubious living, separated the youngest Strawberry from the team’s oldest fossil. It was in being surprised for the 400th time that Gumby, Gawdawful Gumby, bestockinged as usual in his fluorescent pumpkin hosiery, could be so egregiously out of position yet still have the unmitigated gall to point out to his right winger that he was not covering his point man quite to Gawd’s satisfaction.

It was in admiring the sublime beauty of a clearing pass executed by Shiny Shone Brightly as it was meticulously coralled by Shifty Drouin who was streaking as gracefully as Jean Beliveau through the unclogged center ice zone. It was in the whole bench laughing as Achilles, alone with the puck at the side of net, failed to put the biscuit into an opening only slightly less large than Gumby’s ego. But that did not deter Achilles. Soon thereafter, he redeemed himself on an unexpected second chance by threading the puck through the eye of a needle into a startled mesh.

The alchemy continued as MagBoy maniacally chased loose pucks anywhere and everywhere like a besotted retriever puppy gamboling in his first field of pigeons. It was in watching the handsome Ice Marshal as he knifed a well planned Gumby pass into the glass just above the crossbar. It was evident in the grins of his team mates as Slickery Mac, carrying 60 more pounds that he did when first drafted by the Strawbs, calmly called off his attempt to cross the opposition’s blue line, turned gracefully with the puck glued to his stick, quickly reassessed the best route of attack and deftly penetrated an obviously baffled defence.

It was in Mayor Maynot’s screaming down the left wing to catch up with a puck clearly intent on beating him to the icing line, beating the belligerent biscuit to its hoped for destination, and then slipping it, deadeye, into to top shelf. It was in having the unripest of the Strawbs, the Marquis DeSave, contort himself like a Cirque De Soleil understudy in order to successfully thwart, for the sixth time in the game, a 3 on 0 rush by the Free Agents. And finally, it was in the pleasure which accompanies the shaking of one's head as both the Butcher and the Vice (an accomplished arsonist of great repute in Northern Ontario)got called for hooking the same hapless opponent unwise enough to venture within the reach of their respective scalpels: 6 minutes for unauthorized synchronized surgery.

There were certainly more manifestations of the Gift, too many really to be enumerated here. Suffice it to say that the wonder continued well into the night as it followed the team to its post game perch at the Terminal Tavren. Compliments were, as is customary, sheathed in derogatory clothing and a whole lotta forgiveness was bestowed upon the undeserving: another typical Strawberry outing.

6 SteamWhistles, 8 Lake of Bays offerings, 1 draft, 1 Guinness, 4 Rickerds Red, 7 pounds of chicken wings and more than deserved of the limitless Gift were consumed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Turkey Brain

Game Report

Thrashers 5 Killer Strawberries 2

January 13, 2011

Thank Allah that the Christmas Break did not last a scintilla juris longer. The Strawbs, battling what can only be adequately described as an epidemic of Turkey Brain TM, got schooled by a band of hyperkinetic teenagers in a one-sided battle last evening at the (almost) mould-free Pete Palangio Arenas. Final score: Thrashers 5, Killer Strawberries 2.

While the arena may have been mould-free, some of the Strawbs certainly were not. Shiny Shone Brightly had rust growing on his mould. He claimed his skates were too loose, owing to the fact that his new skate tightener was still learning the ropes. The Ice Marshal, considered the most handsome man on the team in a recent poll of B list movie starlets, played like an elderly sloth emerging from a happy-ending massage transacted in a high-class opium den. He blamed his lackluster performance on the shortness of his hockey stick which Gawdawful Gumby has been describing as a hatchet handle with no ambition. Never one to be short on useless advice, Gawd suggested to the weary team icon, saint and boulevardier, that perhaps when he cuts down his next tripod-like device, he might want to first put on his skates, stand on a chair, measure the stick to his chin and add 2 inches. “Keep your mind off my stick” was the Ice Marshal’s terse reply.

Also mouldy and turkey-brained, was the Butcher, fresh from a debilitating sojourn with the sabbaticaled Freight Train 444 at the Aloha Baby Compound West in Oahu. When he left on his excursion, the Butcher was a svelte 185 pounds of pulsating manhood. In the hands of his travelling companions, the most dangerous of whom was Freight Train, he obviously succumbed to every available vice, temptation and donut within a forty mile radius of the Compound and returned to his beloved team a corpulent gallimaufry of unintended consequences. Not pretty…not pretty at all.

Quite a few of the Strawbs must have taken in Elvis Stoyko’s “Thunder On Ice “show over the holidays. Unfortunately, it was not Elvis they decided to emulate, but rather the chorus of nine year girls who skated in public for the first time to the strains of “Feelings”, that excellent up-tempo rock tune made famous by Barry Manilow or Perry Como or maybe it was Frosty The Snowman…who knows. Among the imitating chorus were Archilles Perron, who played The Jilted Butterfly, Slickery Mac, who played the Butterfly’s handmaid, MagBoy, who played The Overdosing Valium Boy, and The Vice, who played himself.

On the plus side, newly called-up Shifty Drouin added some spark to the team and has been instructed to stay by the phone in case the Executive asks him to come out to the next game, perhaps to even play in that game. The real star of the game, it hurts to say, was the Marquis DeSave. The Marquis spent his Christmas hiatus snowbathing on the beaches of Nunavut and counting the number of feral dogs eaten by polar bears. “ It was lot cheaper than Cancun and not nearly as crowded” mumbled he through lips so frostbitten that he has been asked by the makers of Botox to be their 2011 poster boy. Fortunately the whole misadventure did no slow him down between the pipes, and but for his heroics, the score could easily have been 2-1 for the Strawbs.

After the game, most team members scampered off to the Terminal Tavren to top themselves back up with turkey substitutes and libations with a high caloric value. MagBoy announced that the team’s new beer, to be unveiled at a later date, is almost ready for sampling. Cries of “Hale Fellow Well Met, Jolly Good Fellow and You Da Man joyously rang through the entire watering hole, thereby obliterating any feelings of mouldiness that may have followed the team to its post ice-combat haunt.

2 Guinness, a pant load of Lake of Bays India Pale Ale, an ill-advised Grasshopper, 2 Bud, 5 pounds of chicken wings in lemon pepper sauce and the wet dreams of budding brew masters were consumed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Strawberry pictures from Aloha Compound

Successful completion of 10,023 ft. Volcano run, in record 54:57 minutes. (Big Hawaii in background)

 "Aloha Compound training exercises, jog up 10,023 feet to the  top of the dry Haleakala volcano, just to build a thirst."

"Secret never seen before photos inside Aloha Compound"

 "Three Strawberries after a night on the town. The two jerseyed Strawberries are reminiscing  with the naked Strawberry in jail on how successful the re-hydryation exercises the night before went."

"Old Strawberry put out to pasture"

 "Discreet pictures of the Olsen twins teaching core building exercises for Strawberries. They send their love to the Ice Marshall."

"Two Strawberries, higher than normal"

" Aloha Compound wet training area, to develop the core muscles."

"Warm Strawb travelers
Visit Aloha compound
Dehydration cured"