Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Weekend of Hockey

This was one of the best hockey weekends for our family, possibly ever. Starting at about noon on Friday, we headed north to Findlay for Brendan's first travel tournament. Findlay hosts a mini-mite tournament every year about this time, and it's a lot of fun for the kids. All five CCYHA teams made the trip up, so lots of familiar faces on the ice and in the hotel. All in all a great to recount the weekend...

4PM Brendan and his Predators play their first game against one of the host teams. The kids played a great game and got the win. Following the game, the whole team had a pizza party, and celebrated Justin's birthday at the pizza place. (Reservation for 50. :) ) After the party, back to the pool to turn the kids loose, because they were WAY more intersted in the pool than the hockey, anyway. But, the Jackets were on at 7. So, more hockey. That was followed by the opening ceremonies in Turin. No hockey, but it's the Olympics.

Saturday, back to the rink for game #2 for the Preds, and they again play a great game and win that one. Happy mini-mites everywhere, and a lot of smiling parents. Then, another team meal, this time at the local BWs, and the US women's game is on TV...more hockey. After lunch, back to the hotel where...yes this will be shocking...but there was even MORE hockey on as the Canadian women were playing AND the Frozen Tundra game between Wisconsin and Ohio State started. But, we didn't get to see much of either of those games because it was time to head back to the rink for more mini-mite hockey, which is the best kind of hockey, afterall.

Saturday evening saw the Predators win their third straight game and earn themselves a trip to the championship. In this game, though, Brendan took a nasty spill. Typical mini-mite chain reaction where one kid falls and takes out another kid...and Brendan was at the end of the chain. He got hit from behind by a sliding teammate and did a full flip in mid-air landing on his back pretty hard. He laid there for a bit, coaches out to check on him, but he just nodded and hopped back up. I think he was way more stunned than hurt, didn't complain about anything hurting other than his cheek where his helmet hit it.

So, lots of cheering in the locker room, more happy mini-mites, and bigger smiles for the parents. We head back to the hotel and what's on TV? That's right MORE HOCKEY! This time around it's time for Hockey Night in Canada as the hotel actually had CBC on the channel line up. A bit of the Leafs and Rangers, and then it was time for the Jackets and the (real) Predators...which didn't exactly go the Jackets way.

On to Sunday and the finals...but before we got there, there was more Olympic hockey to watch, so we did. In the finals, the Predators once again prevailed, and earned a nice big trophy and they each got a medal for their efforts. Big pile of mini-mites at the end of that one, and VERY large smiles for the parents. (And the coaches. :) )

That should be the end of the hockey weekend, right? WRONG! Beer league time! Sadly, it was the lowlight of the weekend as we got shutout the second straight week. But, it was a nice ending to the weekend of hockey...

...which continues for two more days: Pred practice tomorrow and more beer league fun on Tuesday. Then Olympic hockey...well, maybe it'll never end!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Ryan Smyth moves up the list

Since the Jackets have a rare weekend off, I'm taking in the Oilers again after just watching the Jackets take them in an shootout on Thursday. Tonight they have the Canucks in Edmonton, and so far its entertaining. (Way more entertaining than the Wild and Coyotes...somewhere there's paint drying more exciting than that game.)

So, Ryan Smyth has a redirect goal doing what he does best...standing in/on the crease and annoying the goalie. He did it all night to Denis on Thursday, and did enough of it to Anaheim last week that Giguere drew a couple penalty minutes for chasing him down and smaking him with his glove.

As such, I have determined that Ryan Smyth has now surpassed Bertuzzi on my top three most hated players list. No threat of the top two going anywhere...Sean Avery and Kirk Maltby have those two spots locked up until they decide to quit playing. But slot number three is now Smyth's. Was Bert's, but Bert has pretty much lost the edge that got him there, and Smyth is about to don the Red and White of Canada and annoy me even more in the next few weeks.

So, Ryan, welcome to the top!