Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rambling about the Capitals, Old time hockey and Slap Shot

Rambling about the Capitals, Old time hockey and Slap Shot
by rick olivares photo by john mcdonnell

Let me ramble...... as I watched the Washington Capitals bounce the erstwhile defending champions Boston Bruins from the playoffs in a 2-1 overtime Game Seven Win, I looked at center Matt Hendricks (who scored the Caps’ first goal) and goal keeper Braden Holtby celebrate.

I remember when Hendricks came over from the Colorado Avalanche stating a desire to be reunited with his former coach Bruce Boudreau who was sacked this season. And then there was Holtby who was the third string goalkeeper behind Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov at that time.

They both played well with Holtby stopping 31 shots by the Bruins.

It was a spellbinding series to say the least. Four game went into overtime and each one was sudden death, decided by one goal. I watched Game Seven in my Alex Ovechkin jersey never mind if the summer heat had turned my room into a sauna.

Hold that thought, word. “Spellbinding”.

After the game, I decided to go on a hockey night where I pulled out the DVD of the HBO 24/7 Penguins/Capitals and that old time hockey classic, Slap Shot. And that took me a ways back when I used to play rollerblade hockey as a kid and when I hung the Sports Illustrated cover of Pat LaFontaine on my bedside wall (next to Paulina Porizkova) and dreamt of playing for the New York Islanders.

When I saw the HBO 24/7 Penguins/Capitals there was a scene where the Pittsburgh team took the bus and the music that was playing was Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From” and I thought that was a great homage to Slap Shot with the fictional Charlestown Chiefs on a roadtrip.

Any movie with the great Paul Newman is something I have to watch (his character of Rooney in Road to Perdition was awesome).

It was difficult to watch American sports on local television and the best bet was to catch the US Armed Forces television at the former Clark Air Base (named for the late US Army Signal Corps Major Harold Clark – I remember that because I used to oft go there – my grandfather was an US Army vet – to watch those F-4 Phantoms & F-5 Tigers take off, baseball and one time, Billy Joel during an USO Show).

Occasionally they would show an Islanders game because they were in the midst of their four-straight Stanley Cup win streak. And then there were the Edmonton Oilers with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey to name a few. What a great time for a hockey fan – Stanley Cups in the media capital of the world in New York then the Great One comes from the Great White North. And when Gretzky moved from Edmonton to Los Angeles – what news it made.

But Slap Shot… what a movie.

The opening sequence where Jim Carr interviews Denis Lemieux is hilarious.

Jim Carr: Hi, Jim Carr again. Denis, I know that some in our audience don't know the finer points of hockey. Could you tell them, for example, what is icing?
Denis Lemieux: Well, um, icing happen when the puck come down, bang you know, before the other guys you know. Nobody there, you know. My arms goes up and then the game stop then start up.
Carr: I see. What is high-sticking?
Lemieux: High-sticking happen when the guy take the stick, you know, and he go like that. [demonstrates on Jim Carr] You know? You don't do that.
Carr: You don't do that?
Lemieux: Oh no, never, never.
Carr: Why not?
Lemieux: Against the rules. You know, you're stupid when you do that. Just some English pig with no brains, you know.
Carr: Uh, what is slashing?
Lemieux: Slashing is um, like that.
[demonstrates on Jim Carr]
Lemieux: You know.
Carr: Mm-hmm. And there's a penalty for that?
Lemieux: Yeah and for the trip also, you know like that
[demonstrates] And for hook like this [demonstrates]. And for spear, you know, like that. [demonstrates] You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.

I watched the film again for probably the 30th time and like National Lampoon’s Animal House, it still brought many a laugh to me that my dog began to bark at me (he thought that I had lost it like the Hanson Brothers).

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