Thursday, December 22, 2005

Retro night in Canada?

Wednesday night. Canucks vs Oilers at the Garage. $50 for my seat. Sherpa guide extra.

As promised, it was an entertaining affair: end-to-end action and goals by the baker's dozen. Think of the freewheeling flow of a heated Smythe Division contest of the mid 80's. Just like that, but with fewer mustaches.

And an apparently diminished tolerance for drunken rowdies. In a 10-minute span in the 3rd period, I watched a batallion of yellow-jacketed security goons drag off no fewer than five over-malted sots from a single row of the Molson Fan Zone. I don't know what these poor bastards did (I assume they were loud and possibly spitty), but in the good old days, nothing short of murder would get you tossed from any self-respecting building in the league. And even then, provided that the guy you killed was wearing the visiting team's jersey (and that you didn't spill anyone's beer in the process) you could at least stay to the end of the period.

And speaking of tossing folks from the building, I nominate those sleeveless, shovel-toting GM Place pixies that scoop skate snow from around the goal nets with ridiculous frequency. (Including during the play, I think. A confused me: "Hey, that Richard Park sure has wheels. But why is he wearing spandex?") Thank heaven for you, shovel girls on skates! Only God and Harold Snepts know how were goals ever scored before you were birthed from the belly of the Great Zamboni - what with the vertiable snow banks, sometimes milimetres high, that used to clog the goal-crease. And how did Canucks fans of yesteryear even see King Richard Brodeur, tall of heart but short of stature, behind that wicked wall of white? You have saved us, o goal-crease snow pixies, you and your sweet shovels of mercy!

At least the hockey chants haven't changed. Can't beat the We Good Them Bad simplicity of perrenial faves like "Go Canucks Go!" and "Oilers suck!". Considerably less popular: "The Oilers are worthy opponents but with dedication and solidarity we will prevail this fact notwithstanding!" More sophisticated and generous in spirit, yes, but suffering from a lack of clapability. Just like me. Which is probably why I was the only one chanting it.

Somehow, I manged to make it through the game without getting my ass kicked. (Add one to the 'different from the 1980s' column.)

In the result, the hometown (if your hometown is Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) Canucks lost 7-6. Hmmm... Oilers sticking it to the Canucks? This is old-time hockey.


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