Thursday, December 27, 2007

AMHL Championship Week: On the Juice, Part One


Pour a glass of OJ and then enjoy your beverage with the penultimate story from 2007.

December 20, 2007

Adam “Donut Meister Meister Donut” Berger watches me pour orange juice, an AMHL post-game staple (as are the donuts), from the gallon jug into a flimsy plastic cup. I spill the sticky stuff on the counter, and it drips onto the floor. Thursday’s donut meister, who’s also responsible for clean-up, shakes his head.

Berger has a mess on his hands.

And it’s not just the pool of pulp that I’ve presented him. Innuendo about another juice, the kind that has made AMHLers wonder how an athlete like Adam enhances his performance.

The hockey universe has noted Berger’s breakout season. He not only registered a career-high seventeen points (6G + 11A) while playing for the Tuesday Penguins and Thursday Avalanche, but he trimmed last season’s penalty minutes from twenty-two to ten. Both the Pens and Avs advanced to the AMHL Finals, too.

To address his fans and foes, Berger issued a press release the week before AMHL Championship Week.

“…While there have been many questions and considerable ill-founded rumors given my recent record setting performance, I will continue to deny that I have been involved with performance enhancing drugs. The Federal Express packages that were sent to my house did not contain human growth hormones, but actually my high blood pressure medication. Further, the so called documents that supposedly linked me to the former major league strength coach, Brian McNamee, [were] actually my AARP benefits package…”

The following Tuesday morning, the fifty-something spectacle scored—a perfect pass from Steve Nicole that Berger pushed past Blues’ goalie Ken Tarr—prompting Adam’s detractors to whisper the "j" word. Then, they claimed the defenseman-turned-forward’s positioning on a face-off in the third period as further evidence of cheating.

Lined-up at right wing on a face-off in his own zone, Berger inched over the line separating him from the Blues’ left-winger. The official nodded Berger back into position—twice—before the much-maligned AMHLer complied.

Berger’s Penguins would succumb to the Blues (pictured above), 4–5, but the questions about his enhanced performance (like that mess I created in the AMHL donut room) will persist…until I post Part Two.
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