Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why I Love Hockey - Part 15

I'm going to leave you with one last post before I dive into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm not going near the internet until I'm done because if someone spoils the end for me I'm taking them out with a vicisous - but totally legal! - shoulder to the head. I'm hoping to have it knocked out by Monday so work doesn't start getting in the way but we'll see. (Heather's official predictions: Ron dies. Neville is really important in the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. Snape dies saving Harry's life and he's pretty darn unhappy doing it.)

A really troubling thing has happened, guys. I'm beginning to warm to the idea of Michael Peca in Buffalo. I read the article that was in the paper today about Peca wanting to come back and he talked about being a third line center and doing the little things that Drury did like kill penalties and win face-offs and he emphasized that he didn't feel like he needed a letter and the article mentioned that because of his age and his season ending injury his contract can be structured with a low base salary and easily reachable bonuses that wouldn't count against the cap and there's speculation that he put the Rangers off because he felt like Buffalo was a better team with a better chance of success and that made me so happy and I started thinking about how I did really love him when he was in Buffalo and how he was one of the first hockey players I really knew and I think I'm totally losing my mind. I'm not completely gone. I still don't think this is something that MUST happen. I don't think Darcy Regier needs to do it to prove something - who knows what? - to Sabres fans. I still have some concerns about who exactly we lose in order for him to get any considerable amount of playing time. If Peca goes down and we've lost a forward, are we going to be okay with what we still have? But I don't find myself HATING the idea. Can we lose Peters? I'd be okay with that.

Why I Love Hockey #15 - The Hat Trick
If a baseball player hits a grand slam or a quarterback and wide reciever connect for a hail mary, fans stand up and cheer. Bor-ing! Hockey fans don't mess around. We throw things, baby!

I love everything about the hat trick. I love the little buzz that goes through the building when a guy scores goal number two, especially if he does it early in the game. I love when a team that has a fairly comfortable lead with time running down starts forcing passes - some really, really stupid - in a desperate attempt to see a player get that elusive third goal. I love the crowd going crazy when the third goal is finally tallied. I love fans in the 300s throwing hats down to the 200s, fans in the 200s throwing them to the 100s, and fans in the 100s throwing them over the glass. I love fans stuck behind the netting tossing hats to the fans in the corners and the fans there tossing them to the ice. I love the game coming to a complete halt so the crew can come out to clear the ice with their brooms. I love players skating casually around the ice, collecting little piles of hats with their sticks. I love the player who scored the hat trick grinning from ear to ear. It doesn't matter if it's a young kid doing it for the first time or a veteran who had never quite pulled it off before. I love his teammates patting him on the helmet or shoving him playfully. Most of all, I love that the hat trick celebration is specific to hockey and unlike anything in any other professional sport. When else are fans actually allowed - maybe even encouraged - to get involved in the field of play? We're so excited and happy for the player that we freely throw something we paid perfectly good money for onto the ice. It's a moment of a genuine connection between us and our team, a physical manifestation of our appreciation. It was one of the first things I really noted and loved about hockey.

8 comments:

LeeAndrew said...

Fans in other sports do throw things onto the field/court. But then they are threatened with being thrown out, arrested or canceling the game so they stop.

Becky said...

It's probably too early to think straight (this morning anyway), but..

Why do we need to cut someone to put Peca in? On the roster we're -2, +0 players (+1 if you count Stafford moving up)... -2 centers.

Salary? He can be signed cheap with incentives that don't count against the cap.

"C"? No - maybe an "A"...maybe.

Face it, a seasoned veteran on the offense should provide much needed pressure-reducing on the rest of them (quotes linking Vanek to being the leader because of salary scare me, for this year anyway).

I think his playing ability and knowledge as a defensive forward is a major plus.

My opinion, for the little it's worth - sign him.

Kate said...

But, Heather, what about his chiclet teeth?!

Meg said...

Why do we need to cut someone to put Peca in? On the roster we're -2, +0 players (+1 if you count Stafford moving up)... -2 centers.

Becky, I'm pretty sure that Mike Ryan was signed to a one way deal this year, and I think Paille would be subject to waivers if he went down. Plus Connolly is healthy which means that for forwards Buffalo has:

Vanek
Afinogenov
Roy
Kotalik
Connolly
Hecht
Pominville
Gaustad
Stafford
Mair
Paille
Peters
Ryan

Now, obviously Peca is a better (though more expensive) player than some of these guys. But factor in the fact that you do want the young guys playing as opposed to sitting and it really does become necessary for space to be cleared if Peca is brought in.

Heather B. said...

Becky, pretty much what Meg said :-) The only guy on her list that can go down to Rochester without having to clear waivers is Stafford. And clearly, Stafford is NOT going to Rochester.

That said, I don't really disagree with anything you've said and there are certainly a couple of forwards I wouldn't hate losing if Peca could be persuaded to come back on the cheap.

I'm totally with you on Vanek being a leader. I don't think it's necessary for the highest paid player to take on the role and I don't see it in him. I'm not sure I even see the potential for that in him. There are guys who seem much more suited to that than him.

My primary problem is how unrealistic some fans' expectations seem to be. Peca isn't going to come in and turn everything around all by himself. He's not going to be the guy we had in '99. He's certainly not a long-term solution to anything. And I hate the "Darcy needs to do this to prove something to us" argument that a lot of people are taking. That's ridiculous. I know that's not what you're saying, Becky - again, I agree with all of your points. But that other stuff is coloring the situation for me a little, I think.

Gambler said...

Oh Heather, you're making it impossible for me to look like I'm not stealing your ideas. Hat tricks are so completely awesome, but I have to say my favorite part is the squid. I mean, who is crazy enough to bring a squid with them to a hockey game just in case the opposition gets a hat trick? And yet it happens.

All this talk about Peca is scaring me. Especially the part about Lindy wanting him to be captain. That can't be true, right? Right?

I'm so jealous of you and your Harry Potter enjoyment. I have to wait until my sister is done before I get my crack at it. I'm so abused.

Evan said...

I love how Red Wings fans throw Squid onto the ice. Priceless!

Shmee said...

If Peca can stay healthy, he will definitely add something to the line up.