Saturday, September 20, 2008

On the Shelf, Part I: Soda Jerk

A lower-mid body injury I incurred two Thursdays ago—with about five minutes left in the game—will keep me on the shelf for I don’t know how long. Could be four weeks or four months. I’m trying to keep upbeat during this downtime, though. Although I won’t be writing anything like “…and this morning, I blocked a shot, finally scored a goal, and ate a donut..,” I hope you’ll enjoy AMHL action from different angles. Plus, I plan to deliver more reviews of hockey books I’ve read and that are literally (because they’re books) on the shelf.

Thursday, September 18
Rink Two

I arrive a little late, so I don’t make it to the Capitals' bench. I watch the first period from behind Avalanche netminder Mitch Weiss. We surrender the first goal but then lead 4–1 at the intermission.

I shuffle to the bench, where I figure I’ll be the gatekeeper. And because a few guys are missing this morning, I’ll do a little one-on-one coaching and player-profiling.

With a 4–2 lead, Mike “MMMBop” Hansen, Rob “Mobile” Mirak, Erik “Nunca el” Domingo, as well as two other teammates for whom I haven’t yet assigned nicknames—Scott Keith and John Field— are on the ice. That leaves only Doug Wight on the bench.

“Can I get you anything?” I ask Wight.

“A frappe.”

A few minutes later, Field takes his turn on the bench.

“Hey,” he says. “Can you tape this?”

I look up from my notes to see him holding his hockey stick, blade up.

“Kidding,” he says.

Add soda jerk and stick boy to my list of duties.

When Mirak sits, I ask him if he needs anything.

“No. I’m good.”

And he is. He and Hansen each are credited with four points in our 6–4 victory.

Tune in next week, when I’ll have hockey tape, if not a frappe maker.
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