Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Day 10 - F*ck Puck Luck

*These entries were written in three parts over the course of one day.*

Day 10. Syracuse, New York. A Starbucks like every other in the universe.

This is freaking me out. 3$ to stash my bag. 1$ for the bus downtown. Free to change my bus ticket. Oh, and the train & bus stations in Syracuse are one and the same! When has traveling ever been this easy? I'll tell you: NEVER. I have never had a trip go this smoothly. It's like the world is just bending over backwards for me, like it wants me to be here!

Masonic Fallout Shelter. Welcome to Syracuse.

Seriously. TOO EASY. Part of me is waiting for something to go wrong and part of me suspects (and hopes) that nothing will. Maybe my seven years of bad luck are over. REALLY OVER.

* * * * * * *

Freaking me out to the point of actual concern. I walk aimlessly, instinctively, in the direction I think the arena is, zigzagging southeast through a few downtown streets until I get to a street corner and think I must be close or completely lost. Then, I look up and I see the sign over the main entrance of what could be a windowless school or a public works building: "Next Crunch Game..."

Sometimes life leads you places. Yes, I bought the plane, train and bus tickets. Yes, I bought a ticket to the game. I did those things, but I almost missed my first flight out of Vancouver, and I didn't sort out the bag situation (ie. where do I leave it so I don't have to drag a wheelie suitcase to a hockey arena?) and I left most of the planning to the very last minute... it all just seems so lucky. I don't know how to deal with that kind of luck.

Luck, as F. never ceased to remind me, is when opportunity meets preparation. Or the reverse. Something like that. I always kind of thought it was bullocks anyways. Luck is the opportunity itself, because some people -no matter how prepared- never get the opportunity. If luck is anything other than that chance opportunity, it's likely to be the courage to go out and take the opportunity, to make the opportunity. Or maybe that's not luck, maybe it's just guts. Probably doesn't even matter.

Luck wasn't something I believed in until I began believing in bad luck, when I was dealt a few too many bad hands in too short a time and had nothing to blame it on. It was just the luck of the draw. Bad luck.

I hate that it's probably made me a better person, that I know what I'd be like if I'd never had such bad luck: I'd still be a self-absorbed flake taking everything for granted. It makes me unhappy that I probably wouldn't be as grounded (dare-I-say deep?)

At least now I can appreciate having good luck. If this is luck. If luck exists.

* * * * * * *

Met Nikita Filatov. The kid looks like shit. Almost skeletal. Too skinny. There seemed to be a lot of resentment amongst fans, a lot of doubt that he's actually sick. Yeah, because heroin chic is SO popular amongst hockey players... *massive eye-roll* Random silly thing: he's a chuckler - most adorable laugh on the planet.

Met Stefan Legein. Sweet guy. More introverted than I'd expected. Surprised me a little when he asked me what number I wanted. I hadn't thought about the fact that he's had a different number on almost every team he's played for. I told him to pick his favourite. He chose seven: his number when he played for Canada at the 2008 WJHC. My lucky number. Also my birthday.

Got a smile and a "Thanks" that gave me shivers when I complimented him on playing a good game. [The Syracuse Crunch (who kind of suck) beat the WBS Pens (who don't really suck) 4-2.] His sincerity was too cute. Makes me want to root for him even more than I already do.

Originally, I'd thought of all these things I wanted to say to him. About how pleased I was that he'd come out of premature retirement. About how he's got to stop playing safe. Then, watching the game, I realized there was no way I could say any of those things.

Legein is the middle, leaning on his elbows; I swear he spent 3/4 of the game like this.

He's playing it safe. Which I find a bit strange. He was a shit disturber in juniors and at the WJC.

Legein used to pull stunts like this -------------------->

He's still a little speed demon. And he still plays like he's bigger than he is; although not quite as big as he used to be. He used to play like he was about 6'4" - which takes guts for a guy who's got maybe two inches on me (I'm just under 5'8"). Now, he plays like he's about 6'1" -subtle difference, but a difference.

He's not getting a lot of ice time. Which means that when he is on the ice; he isn't taking chances. At least part of it is because, in Syracuse, he isn't expected to be a bruiser. The other part is probably simply the fact that he's getting so little ice time that he's not wasting a moment pulling stunts since it's more important to start scoring. Which he has yet to do AT ALL in Syracuse. Which has me worried.

He gets chances. They just aren't amounting to anything. Bad luck, I suppose. People aren't where he needs them to be and the puck clears the blue line when it ought to have been kept in or the puck gets turned over because someone else isn't on the same wavelength. I hope something clicks when Filatov gets back - that would make me really happy to see the two of them on the ice again together, to see them develop some chemistry.

Legein's there. He's paying attention. He's just missing that old fire. I hope he finds it, because watching him actually made me a little sad. I liked watching him kick some serious ass, even when it resulted in him dislocating his shoulder in the gold medal game. I want him to be happy the way he was happy in that tournament. For some inexplicable reason, I care about him the way I care about my characters. Only I can't write his happy ending. I wish I could write it for him, but I can't.

That's the hard part of life; writing your own happy ending.

* * * * * * *
Photos from the game!
(click on any and ALL the photos from this trip to enlarge them)

the benches

Syracuse loves Cowbell.

... really loves cowbell...

The really hilarious thing? Look at the score. 2-0 Pens. At 6:27 in the 2nd. The Crunch came back to win 4-2.

Okay, the guys against the boards?
That's Legein and Bisonette. They weren't too compliant...

Baby Penguins!

Crunch WIN!!!


SYRACUSE Jersey Fouls:
All jerseys spotted aside from Penguins jerseys (either Pittsburgh or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), Jackets jerseys and Crunch jerseys.
- Edmonton Oilers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Chicago Blackhawks - Arguably a non-foul since Chicago is central division rival against Columbus in the NHL... but still tenuous...
- New York Rangers
- Kamloops Blazers - WTF mate, WTF? While it's really cool to see a totally obscure team's jersey halfway across the continent, it's still a foul. It would make sense in someone on the roster had played for Kamloops, but no one did (I checked - both teams!)
- Buffalo Sabres
- Boston Bruins - No excuse.
- Charleston Chiefs!!! - Okay, this gets an exemption because three guys were in wigs and Hanson jerseys. Too good.

One-liner of the night -- "The blah-blah medical center: official MRI facility for the Syracuse Crunch."


ali said...

I didn't realize you had seen the Crunch play the Baby Pens... fun stuff...

It's very exciting that you got to meet those two guys... and hopefully sometime in the near future Legein will get some of his "fire" back...

Reading about your AHL hockey game makes me all the more excited for the one I'm going to on Saturday! :) Hershey vs. WBS -- should be a good one.

Best news -- Luca Caputi is back from his punishment stint in Wheeling... :)

mer said...

I heard about Caputi and it made me really annoyed ONLY because he and Gogo and Satan should all have been playing in WBS when I saw them, but for three seperate reasons weren't.

Bisonette was pretty Biz-nasty though! He was the best (literally) - it was obvious he didn't belong down in WBS anymore. And Taffe was a bit meh actually. Not sure why, but he was.

Jessclub7 said...

Those types of sponsorship opportunities just don't seem to exist in English sports. Shame.

Clare said...

It's so awesome that you met Stefan Legein and Nikita Filatov. I think it is really cute that he thought to ask what number you wanted.

How was the AHL game? I have only been to one game but it was very lame, although both teams were very bad (standings wise and in actuality too.)

Susan said...

Re; your good luck--consider it good karma from making so many of us happy with your blogs :)

I've always thought Filatov just looked too pretty, almost girl-like, at least in the face.
I'm glad you got to meet the guys, sounds like a fabu trip! (I'm so jealous).

lauren said...

What an awesome story! I'm jealous that you got to meet some of the players- if our AHL team wasn't so far away, I'd definitely go stalk players there, haha. I hope Legein gets some of his energy back- I hadn't heard of him until he quit, but now that he's back I'm pulling for him.