Spitfires vs Battallion: Game 5 Trash Talk Dept.

Game five of the OHL Championship series goes tonight at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, 7:05 p.m.  I fully expect Spits fans to absolutely blow the roof off the new rink tonight when the Spits take the ice, and the team is going to come out charged up and ready to roll.  I am very much hoping, as I have written elsewhere, that the Spits to book their ticket to Rimouski tonight.  I am still charged up from watching the Spits beat the Battalion 4-1 the other night in Brampton.

The other thing that emerged from my visit to Brampton’s Powerade Centre:  the following list of seven reasons that the Brampton Battalion should NOT win the OHL Championship.

(1) The team colours; guys:  it’s called olive “drab” for a reason.

Sarge scares some kids (from www.spitfire-hockey.com)

(2)  The Brampton players emerge from their dressing room and enter the ice surface at the start of the game through a giant inflatable tank.  First, nothing says “invincible” like a giant air-filled pillow;  and second, the “muzzle” of the tank droops rather obscenely.  When we first saw it, my Dad expressed some degree of concern that they might use the damn thing to fire t-shirts or other swag into the crowd (a la the t-shirt bazookas in use at other facilities).  He was right to be concerned.  These guys really carry the military theme a touch over the top.

(3)  They have a freaky looking mascot called “Sarge”.  And I mean freaky, this thing is some kind of messed up.  If a real live person were dressed in olive drab combat fatigues but had an oversized head that looked like one of those weird apple core dolls, that person would:

  • scare the shit out of me; and
  • look exactly like “Sarge.”

I think this mascot decision of the Battalion’s is very curious;  whereas teams like the Calgary Flames have “Harvey the Hound” (an oversized, furry and friendly mutt),  the Brampton Battalion have chosen to attempt to endear themselves to the children by circulating among them a perpetually scowling drill sergeant with an alarming complexion and a warlike demeanour.  Not the choice I would have predicted.

(4)  For about two or three minutes prior to the beginning of each period, arena staff play a recording of some sort of cannon firing over the facility’s loudspeakers.   What a way to create a festive environment!  What better way to evoke the carefree abandon of New Orleans at Mardi Gras or the joyful ebullience of the old Chicago Stadium: mimic the ambience of a warzone.  I know I never quite feel like partying until the artillery bombardment has begun.

Trending: Team vs Time – Premier Room Escape Chicago

(5)  They refer to the Battalion players as “troops.”  ‘Nuff said.

(6)  In the first intermission, “Sarge” (see above) skated around the ice and infrequently lobbed t-shirts over the glass to terrified children who reflexively returned his salute.  His musical accompaniment, broadcast over the arena public address system, was  the music from “The Great Escape.”  A lone male in an olive drab costume slowly circling the ice, waving his arms to the music from a film about P.O.W.s – to me, it very much looked like the worst idea for the men’s short program ever conceived.

(7)  At the end of each period, when there are but sixty seconds to play, the arena announcer bellows out “One minute to ceasefire!”

Really?   Dude, the military motif?  It’s too much.  Seriously.  Oh, and Dude?  ONE GAME ‘TIL CEASEFIRE!!

Windsor Spitfires at Brampton Battalion: Game 4 Recap

Third Period Action, and Some Guy's Head

Windsor 4, Brampton 1. My Spitfires are one game closer to (and only one win away from) their second OHL Championship. After suffering a setback on Monday in game 3 at the hands of a determined Brampton club, the Spits stormed out of the gate in the first last night and attacked the Brampton goal (occupied by Thomas McCollum) repeatedly and in waves.   The sold-out Powerade Centre in Brampton was bursting at the seams with 4,861 junior hockey fans (including, I am happy to note, a very noticeable and very vocal contingent of Spitfire supporters), but the Battalion players seemed unable to draw sufficient energy from their assembled well-wishers to assist them in mounting an effective counter-attack at the outset of the game.  The Spitfires carried by far the vast majority of the play in the first frame and outshot the home side by a margin of 12-7;  in fact, with only the occasional generally fleeting Brampton foray into Windsor territory, to my mind that shot count is somewhat misleading as it fails to reflect the territorial advantage enjoyed by the Sptifires throughout the period.   I suspect that many of those 7 Brampton shots were accumulated during the power-play they had when Windsor’s Richard Greenop was called for high-sticking well behind the play.  At times during the first, the Windsorites seemed to cycle the puck low in the Brampton zone almost at will.  To the credit of the Brampton defenders, they prevented with some frequency the prolonged Windsor cycling from developing into truly high quality scoring opportunities.   In fact, for much of the period it seemed as though the Battalion would manage to survive the sustained offensive pressure in their zone;  of greater concern for Brampton coach Stan Butler, no doubt, would have been Windsor’s success in the transition game.  I counted at least a half-dozen odd-man rushes generated by Brampton turnovers either at, or just over the Windsor blueline – including one early four-on-two attack that must have had Butler reaching for the Alka Seltzer.

Like “Brewster’s Millions”, But Less Plausible…

This is how I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that print journalism must be anachronistic, irrelevant and doomed:  I have been asked to write a piece on the Leafs for publication in an actual hold-it-in-your-hand, you-could-drop-that-thing-and-bruise-a-toe book.   And get this:  I am told that I will be getting paid to do this thing.  From this latter fact, I conclude that the publishers of this tome are almost certainly lunatic immigrant millionaires with a tenuous-to-non-existent grasp on the English language.  Believing that they are allergic to money,  I suspect they have resolved to rid themselves of the cursed lucre in the most pro-social way possible;  by contributing to the publication of a well-respected and important medical journal filled with scholarly research.  I just pray someone has a camera when these well-meaning but misguided philanthropists are presented with the finished product – I foresee an instant and compelling portrait of blinking uncomprehension and, quite possibly, some feces throwing.

I can’t give out a lot of details at the moment, mostly because I don’t want you to steal this gig from me, but rest assured I will be pimping the book like a madman once it has been brought into existence.   As much as you are now staring at the screen, cursing the rotten luck that leaves you bereft of detail, I can promise you that you will someday remember fondly the happy times before this godforsaken book was mentioned by me in every sentence.

I’ll bet you can’t wait to be that unhappy.  In the meantime, I am busy trying to figure out how the hell I am going to manage to get everything done that I will need to:  for example, not only do I now have to find the time to research and write the piece, if I am going to be a writer I also have to make sure that I spend the correct amount of time bellyaching about how making the deadline is going to be a bitch and so on.  I guess this post is a pretty good start on that.  I must be a quick learner.

All kidding aside, I do have some degree of concern about taking on yet another project:  at present, for those of you keeping track, I am (theoretically) in the middle of:

And those are just the projects I’ve blogged about!  I also have it in my mind to convert some old VHS video to digital (I spent a large part of last Saturday wondering why I haven’t yet converted my copy of Leafs/Kings Game 7 in ’93 to an iPod-friendly format so that I can watch it whenever I feel the urge.   This, as much as it may be a cry for help,  is not a lie.)   There are also three or four crates of old vinyl LPs that are practically begging for my attention, so much of my (formerly?) beloved music desperate to enter the 21st century at last.

Anyway, no doubt some of my time tippy-tapping away at my article will take away somewhat from the time I have available to examine my navel here for your benefit;  you must be devastated, I can tell.  I have to say, though, that over the last week or so, I’ve enjoyed spending a few minutes in front of the blank screen with the cursor blinking and a hundred poopy jokes wanting to be written.  I guess I’m having fun writing, and I’ve pushed back a little bit at the multi-armed time-eating monster that my job has recently become.  I have been forcing myself to make just a little bit of time to sit here and flap my virtual gums at you, and it has made me feel a bit better, so I am going to try (see the list of projects above) to keep it up.

Seriously, stop laughing at me.


Note:  The Spitfires lost to Brampton last night 4-2.  I recorded the game via Freecorder, loaded it on to my iPod then carefully avoided hearing about the score;  I listened to the game after I went to bed at around 11:30.  About two hours later, I was bummed out – and sleepy.   Anyway, Dad and I won’t be seeing the Spits claim the Championship Trophy tomorrow night in Brampton;  I just hope I haven’t jinxed them too badly.  We want another W!