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Pens defeat Flyers: An NHL lockout fantasy

Rory Mitrik Staff Writer

As an avid professional hockey fan, my first outcry was over the summer when I first heard that the National Hockey League owners and the National Hockey League’s Players Association were about to pass up an opportunity to make sure that there would be hockey in the 2012-2013 season. Fast-forward three months and here I sit, watching SportsCenter, imagining a day in the future when Sidney Crosby scores a hat trick against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. So let me continue to share my 2012-2013 NHL fantasy for you to ponder, salivate, and lose sleep over. Marc-André Fleury recorded his fifth shutout of the season against the Flyers in last night’s match, in which Pens defenseman Derek Engelland fought Scotty Hartnell and broke his cheekbone (not to mention his and all of Philly’s pride). Philadelphia’s Max Talbot fell down on a breakaway opportunity and, as he stood up, said towards an on-looking camera, “Why did I leave Pittsburgh?” The former “superstar” wasn’t the only laughable man on skates last night. Philadelphia’s captain Claude Giroux, in an attempt to take Kris Letang out of the game, went through the glass and slammed face-first into a Zamboni. Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, berated Giroux as he tried to beg for a penalty. Snap back to reality for a second. SportsCenter just interrupted my daydream to remind me that the Los Angeles Lakers keep losing and that “athletes” in England participated in a wife-carrying competition. I don’t know what is worse, watching Kobe cry or seeing a 30-something year-old man carry his surprisingly content-with-the-situation wife around obstacles. Enough of that. Back to my hockey fantasy. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are tied atop the league in goals and points. Fans hold signs that say “Malkin-Crosby 2012” and “Geno 4 MVP.” After scoring the last goal of the 8-0 match on a turnover breakaway, Pens Forward James Neal celebrates with his rendition of PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” and the entire Consol Energy Center crowd screams “Hey sexy lady!” at Flyers Forward Daniel Briere as he skates to the away bench. Quite amusing. Maybe this will be more than a fantasy soon; the season is within sight, because the two sides continue to “talk.” What do they have to talk about anyway? They have been in talks for months and saw this coming since the last lockout cancelled the 2004 season. And, ladies and gentlemen, I was not a happy 6th grader that year. With memories of early-90s mullets floating through my head, I recently decided to watch vintage Penguins games on flagship station Root Sports. Jaromir Jagr was as mullety as ever, and, as I reached and grasped the hair on the back of my own head, I said aloud, “If only.” Honestly, though, I only want to watch hockey. ESPN showed a few Kontinental Hockey League games, based out of Russia, which brought back memories of the 1980 Olympics, the Miracle on Ice, and my aversion for Russian hockey, pardoning Evgeni Malkin of course. (His Ruski-English is just adorable after eight years in America, isn’t it?) College hockey is on sometimes, but they wear full cage masks, can’t fight and the speed of that game is just not the same. But I need to get a fix somewhere. I’m like a dog without a bone. I’m like Pittsburgh Dad without a jagoff to complain about. I’m like Bill Clinton without an intern. Ailing hockey fan and SVC senior Ian Miller said, while doing homework instead of watching the hockey highlights that would be on SportsCenter if not for the lockout, “I miss hockey, because it is the most exciting game to watch on television. The game moves so fast you never know when the puck is going to end up in the back of the net.” But wait, that reminds me—doesn’t SVC have a club hockey team? Maybe I’ll start following the SVC club hockey team. Or maybe I’ll just watch my back-to-back championships Pens VHS tape, followed by a night playing any NHL video game. Or maybe I’ll just close my eyes and imagine the potential highlights of the 2012-2013 season. I can taste the nachos and RC Cola now…

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