Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: LIVE AT THE HOSERDOME: I LOVE THE SMELL OF LACTIC ACID IN THE MORNING...


by Neate Sager, Out Of Left Field

It's good that their city is Windy, since two members of the Chicago Wolves are going to smell big-time on Thursday.

Normally, the stench associated with hockey in Chitown has to do with the NHL Blackhawks, but two members of the minor-league Wolves, Nathan Oystrick and Jordan LaVallee, are going to try and keep their gear on for 27 straight hours after the team's game on Wednesday.

It's all for charity, and it's a nod to one of the game's great inside jokes that's only really humourous in an it's-all-fun-and-games-till-someone-gets-a-staph-infection, gallows-humour kind of way. It's an unwritten rule that's it's perfectly acceptable, no, encouraged, for your hockey gear to stink a bit. OK, a lot.

Over a season, if you're one of those beer-leaguer types, your gloves, shoulder, elbow and shin pads absorb sweat. After a game or practice, you zip it all away in a duffel bag, and usually don't take it out again until the next time you play. It doesn't take a biology major to figure out what happens and why nothing, but nothing smells like a Hockey Dressing Room. (Yes, dressing room, not locker room.)

Now, it isn't all light-hearted. There's a lot of bacteria and fungus burrowed deep in those pads, and from time to time, you always hear about a NHL player sidelined by a mysterious infection. However, if it's all for charity, that's OK. Lavallee and Oystrick will play a game, then keep their equipment on the next day while they make a couple appearances. They're going for an unofficial record, since last year a junior player kept his stuff on for 26 hours after his team won the U.S. Hockey League title.

Now the short strokes:

  1. NHL non-stories of the past week: The Calgary Flames returned to Tampa Bay for the first time since the 2004 final last week. It was 3 1/2 years ago! Sorry, that's too long to wait for a rematch of a series that was mostly memorable only for hoping that the Flames, who were a dirty bunch of woodchoppers who rode a hot goalie, wouldn't win and validate all the douchebags "who just want to see a Canadian team win."

    Second verse, same as the first with Gretzky. It was a Phoenix-New York Rangers game, and I think we all know what a great rivalry that's been through the years.

  2. Reason 937 why shootouts suck: In an AHL game the other night, it was the Rockford IceHogs vs. the San Antonio (yes, San Antonio) Rampage, first place on the line. The Rampage, who came into the game in second, won, but Rockford stayed a point ahead since the game went to overtime.

  3. Whhaaaaa? In case the Massholes haven't noticed (and judging by the attendance, they haven't), that's the Boston Bruins with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, 39 points from 32 games. Coach Claude Julien, who's considered a respected hockey man now that he's been fired by two other NHL clubs, is finally a candidate to win something other than a Bill Dauterive lookalike contest.

    The story of how the Bruins turned it around is about as exciting as Bill Belichick Monday press conference. They play good defence. Journeyman Alex Auld is on a career roll in goal. That's about it.

  4. No, WHA: This very well could be for real -- a Russian tycoon wants to start a rival league to the NHL that would operate in Europe, the first serious challenger the NHL has faced since the World Hockey Association of the 1970s. Go for it, I say -- and see if you can move the Florida Panthers lock, stock and barrel to Omsk without anyone in Miami noticing.
Last but not least, some holiday wishes:

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