Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I love THIS game

Little-known fact about me: I enjoy watching ice hockey. Something about the combination of ice, blades, and guys crashing into one another and slamming against Plexiglas gives me an adrenaline rush that I don't find in any other sport. My fascination with hockey began sometime in my late grade school or early high school years, back when ESPN still aired NHL games. The team I rooted for was the New York Rangers (they're still my sentimental fave), and I was over the moon when they won the Stanley Cup in 1994. I was such a fangirl I could rattle off practically the whole roster: Messier, Graves, Leetch, Kovalev, Zubov, Matteau, Beukeboom, Nemchinov, Richter...

Goaltender Mike Richter was my favorite of the bunch. I was inexplicably drawn to goalies, perhaps because I was in awe of how they dealt with the huge responsibility and enormous pressure of being the team's last line of defense. After Richter and the Rangers, I liked Martin Brodeur and the 1995 New Jersey Devils (Elias, Neidermayer, Gomez, Sykora, Stevens, Lemieux...). And Brodeur is the reason I thought of blogging about hockey now, because I just found out that he has surpassed goaltending great Patrick Roy in number of victories by an NHL goalie, with a career record of 552 wins. Awesome.

I miss watching hockey (damn ESPN for not airing NHL games in Asia anymore!), and I miss all the old, funny-sounding Russian and Canadian names that used to be drilled into my head by commentators speaking at machine-gunfire clip. I miss nerve-wracking sudden death periods and hat tricks and the ubiquitous, unique power play (I totally agree with sportswriter Rick Olivares on the the beauty of the power play). I miss the sound of metal on ice, bone on bone, bone on glass, and the satisfying WHACK of metal on vulcanized rubber. I miss the blink-and-you'll-miss-it goals, the flashing red light and/or siren that accompanies a goal, and the scrambling, lightning-quick-reflex saves by heavily padded men in grilled helmets.

Hockey rocks.


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