Posts Tagged ‘hockey’

I’m too old for this

January 6, 2017

Alright, I’m a hockey fan, been following the Wings since 1987. Since getting married, getting kids, etc., time to watch games has kind of tightened a bit over the years. I fit in games when I can, occasionally watching them later. With the Wings in the Western Conference for so long I was sort of accustomed to late games, as the Wings swung out west playing games in Colorado, Dallas, Arizona, Alberta, California, etc. It was something you lived with.

I’m not accustomed to it any more.

Making it worse is that the Wings have had a lousy year, most games seeming uninspired drubbings. Last night they actually showed up to play and it was entertaining. The game also started at 103o.

I made it through two and a half periods. The Wings were up 4-0 at that point, it seemed pretty in hand, and I was dead to the world at that point. So I went to bed.

And then I was up again at 6 this morning to get The Boy ready for school. Then Little Girl was up. Then my day was off and running.

I was not running to keep up. I felt like hell, felt like hell for most of the day, probably looked like it. Still, I managed to get the meals on the table, kept the kids from seriously harming themselves or eachother and I think I did a decent job of things.

But I can’t do this any more. I just can’t do the physical turn around of a few hours sleep and trying to be functional. All day I felt miserable. I was constantly snacking on junk foods and feeling like crap because it was junk food. Now it’s 11pm, I’m feeling drained, a little sick, been sucking on a zinc cough drop. It feels like I’ve been trying to desperately mend holes and throw patches over worn out patches all day.

Days like today make me realize the real cost of adulthood is just the cold hard reality of getting older, and having to accommodate for that.

why would Radulov sign a short term deal?

May 3, 2016

Alright, in my near weekly attempt to burst balloons regarding the wings, I want to say something about the possibility of signing Alex Radulov. For those who don’t know (or remember – dude’s not exactly been seeing a lot of NHL action lately – Radulov jumped ship from Nashville to make a living in the KHL something like six or seven years ago (maybe eight, it’s been a long time) .He was/is incredibly talented, and his leaving opened a massive hole in Nashville’s offensive production. He was a guy a club would look at as being a pillar of their forwards for ten years, he was that good.And then he just up and left after being suspended for partying with a russian buddy while in the playoffs.

And now he wants to come back to the NHL. And he’s been linked to the Wings for obvious reasons, such as averaging less than two goals per game in the playoffs. However, Radulov’s off-the-ice problems of the past hasn’t made his possible signing a slam dunk with a lot of fans. It seems the most enthusiastic endorsements are usually along the lines of, “well, he’s better than what we have and we aren’t in a position to complain,” while a lot of responses are closer to, “screw him, he’s a cancer.”

The truth is we do need a guy like Radulov. We need a center more, but any guy we should be able to look at and say will score 20+ goals for us with regularity would be a wonderful problem to have  at this point. Also, it’s not like we haven’t employed players who we later discover had their fair share of problems. McCarty definitely had his demons, and even a guy like Fedorov had quite the off-ice life going on. So, I think that part of the Radulov saga is overrated. If the Wings think Radulov will show up and produce, they’ve shown the ability to live with some of the extra stuff. Also, Radulov is nearly 30 now and has a kid, and by many reports has calmed the off-ice issues substantially.

A bigger problem, in my eyes anyway, is this idea that I’ve seen that signing Radulov would be okay if it’s on a short deal and the money isn’t exorbitant. Well, yeah, signing a top6 player on the cheap and not being on the hook for a lot of years is always preferable. But why would Radulov do it? The guy is coming back as a straight UFA, he doesn’t have to sign for the ELC like a guy like Panarin. Radulov is going to be looking for some cash here, folks. Also, the Wings are not exactly the cream of the NHL crop. Five years ago, signing a short deal to fit into a lineup of a real Cup contender would have made a lot of sense. Now? Going purely by chances of winning the Cup, there are a lot of teams on equal footing with the Wings. There is absolutely no reason for Radulov to take a discount to sign with us for that reason.

so, why would he give us a discount? well, the most obvious reason is because someone (Datsyuk) gave us a glowing recommendation, and make certain promises to make sure Radulov is employed beyond whatever deal he signs with us to start. Think Dan Cleary for the past three years where we just kept handing out contracts like candy to make good on some promise Holland made to him –  a promise that probably should have landed us in hot water with the league over cap circumvention, but I have to assume having Cleary on the payroll was seen as punishment enough. Do we want to bring in a guy on a short term but with the knowledge that there is likely a promise for more down the road, regardless of play?

in the end, we’re not going to get any serious help on the cheap. There is no reason for a guy like Radulov to sign a deal here for term or money that they can’t easily beat elsewhere. Whatever we sign Radulov/Okposo/Stamkos/whoever for, it’s not likely to be far off from what other teams are offering, and in some cases it’ll likely have to be clearly more than other teams.

Defenseman by Russell Banks – short story review

July 14, 2011

It starts off as a meditation about the isolation of his father’s life and how hockey prepared him to deal with it, how its speed, grace and violence gave him the tools to steel himself against the weight and blows of a lack of connection to humanity. It then drifts into a recollection of connecting with his father through the act of getting his first pair of ice skates and going to a small man made pond outside of town that was used as the local skating rink and learning to ice skate. It then wraps up with a trip back to the “present” and the narrator realizing that he doesn’t have any pictures of him and his father skating together, few pictures from their winters at all. For whatever reasons, summer dominated their photo albums, despite the fact that winter dominated their lives. The story concludes with the narrator putting skates on and stepping out onto a frozen pond himself, and breaking away from the weight of life.

The physical isolation of his father seems to have been carried on by the narrator, as he walks into his barn to get his ice skates and then across a meadow or field area to get to a small pond to ice skate in his adulthood. Earlier it is mentioned that he played hockey in a similar way, and from the same position – a relatively slow but violent defenseman. There is clearly a thread being woven that a son follows in his father’s footsteps and, intentionally or not, fathers set this thread in motion by providing key moments of impetus that are likely repetitions of moments they had with their own fathers.

I can’t help but think of my kid and trying to get him to play baseball (it hasn’t been fruitful). I can attest to a strong desire to see him excel at something that was important to me, that it does foster a sort of connection that is indescribable.  And when he doesn’t pick up on it, there is a distance that seems difficult to close.  And I do wonder if he will be lacking something to help him make it through at least the next ten years if he can’t throw a baseball properly, or shoot a basketball.  If there is a connection he will be missing.

Which ties back into the story. Learning a sport is a connection to other people, it is something that binds and ties you together. A commonality. To be without this is to be relegated to an isolation that is deeply personal and difficult to break. By taking his kid out onto the ice, by teaching him to skate, the narrator’s father was giving him a touch stone to rely on in all of his other dealings with other men. He wasn’t just passing down something personal, not just forming his son in his own image, but exposing and indoctrinating him to a foundational experience for pretty much every man of that area and culture, and an experience that could only, really, be handed down paternally.