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The Lady Byng

In The Crease on June 18, 2013 at 8:42 am
The Lady Byng

The Lady Byng

Given that this year’s Stanley Cup championship could very well be the dullest ever, today we celebrate the annual bestowing of the NHL’s least coveted trophy:  The Lady Byng.  The term, trophy, hails from the days of Greek hoplites.  The Greek term means ‘turning point’, and referred to the point at which the opposing phalanx turned and ran.  The winning side then piled in a heap any items their opponent had dropped on their headlong flight back to Athens, and offered whatever the hell ‘burnt chine’ was to the gods.  The Lady Byng trophy was named after Ottawa Senators fan, Evelyn Byng, Viscountess Byng of Vimy, who was the wife of Field Marshal Julian Hedworth George Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, who led the Canadians in glorious retreat from the WWI battle of Gallipoli (for which he was elevated to the “Order of the Bath”).  Later in life the Lord Byng was asked about the battle, to which he responded that he had no idea “what cuthbert dingo thought that one up”, knowing full well it was Winston Churchill.  LadyByngTrophyThe Lady Byng trophy is given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”–or in other words the best player in the league who can still be referred to as ‘hoser’.  Disregarding efforts to have the trophy renamed ‘Datsyuk’ the NHL bestowed the honor to Tampa Bay Lightning player, Martin St. Louis, for the third time.  At 5’ 8” St. Louis is not the most intimidating player in the league, but is well respected.  For example, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter recently called St. Louis “So cute, you just want to cuddle him up.”  St. Louis, however, has his detractors, such as Boston’s Zdeno Chara, who in an interview called St. Louis “a slippery little shit” and vowed to “grind his bones to make my bread.”  When asked, Martin St. Louis agreed that yes, this could very well be the dullest Stanley Cup championship series ever, and that if he were playing  he “damned well would have gotten more than one shot on goal in four power plays last night.”

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Humbly the Net Minder Asks

In The Crease on June 16, 2012 at 9:49 am

My friends, rink mates, denizens of the great Canadian pastime, humbly the net minder asks:  “Is there something wrong with the back of the net?”  Is it a shameful place where no puck may go?  A net shadowed stygian trapezoid that once entered otherwise stout-hearted defensive stalwarts might fear return?  What evil lurks that one might shun it so?

Now some might ask, wasn’t the Great One from his office desk behind the goal able to flip the puck over the crossbar, off the goalie’s helmet and into the net?  While this is so, let me answer the question with another:  do we play with anyone whose last name rhymes with Schenectady?  And didn’t I just see the same move on a highlight reel from Pavel Datsyuk?  And yes, while we skate with no fewer than six Russian players, oddly none of them has a middle name of Valerievich…or plays for the Red Wings.   So might we not conclude that were the puck to be lost to an opposing player behind the net it would not readily find its way to the business side of the crease?

This being so, one cannot help but admire the raw skill of the player slicing between two fore-checkers, weaving his way around the center, leaving in his wake more blue jerseys than an edited scene from the Outlaw Josey Wales.  Who cannot be awed as he passes the puck between his legs, bouncing it twice on his stick then flipping it to his back heel he prepares to leap upwards as if for a scissor, overhead kick.  Seeing him there frozen in time, he is like some great work of art, with all the manly grace and beauty of a balletic chorus interlude from an Italian operetta.  If he were carved in marble by some Renaissance master, the sculptor might name the scene, Cupid on a Half Shell with Dorthy Hamill Angle-Grinding the Fender of Her Camero Outside Joe’s Garage.  Or perhaps we might call it by its less exalted name:
Three Goals to One.

I realize that much lies beyond my understanding, that while humans have walked on the moon and descended to the abyss of the ocean, there remains so much yet to comprehend.  But truly, is there something wrong with the back of the net?

Playoff Beards

In celebrity fashion, The Crease on May 13, 2011 at 7:26 am

I have noticed that as we get deeper into the NHL playoffs the players progressively look like they slept under a bridge:

“Pavel, eh, game on.”

“Da.  Just let me hide my stuff.”

Tyverdovsky and Daneyko near their home at M51 and Volga