Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Talkin’ hockey with…Joe!

Okay, so the Masters is over, and the next golf major isn’t for like, another seven months. The baseball season is too young to get into right now, and who really cares about the NBA, am I right? Obviously, this gives me a chance to talk about yet another sport that I know nothing about. On the heels of my first-ever NASCAR column from a couple of months ago, I’d like to introduce you to my first-ever hockey column! No, seriously!

Of course, since there’s an excellent chance that I actually know less about hockey than I do about cars, we had to bring in a recruit. So please put your hands together for the biggest only hockey fan I know, Joe, my brother-in-law. Joe is a die-hard Rangers fan, and he hates the Devils and Islanders as much as I hate the Red Sox, which is nice. And, like any true fan, Joe oftentimes hates the Rangers as much as I hate the Yankees. But not this year, because the Rangers are headed to the NHL Playoffs, which are just getting underway. Also, let it be known that, as opposed to the usual interviews we conduct around here, which are completely fake and worthless, this one is actually real. And worthless. But that’s probably because Joe is not famous. Yet. Let’s get started…

Me: Joe, your welcome for having you. First question: Hockey. Explain.


Introducing...

Joe: Fastest team sport in the world, and people think it’s boring just because the score isn’t 150-120. Plus, did I mention fighting is only a 5-minute penalty and an integral part of the game?

Me: No, you didn’t, because we just started the interview. But that’s a good segway. Hockey has gotten a lot of publicity this year because of violence, and by “a lot of publicity,” I mean very little. Your Rangers have been on both ends of the spectrum, with one dude taking a stick to the face, and another knocking out a Flyer’s goon cold with one punch. Do you think there’s too much violence in hockey, or are people like me ignorant pansies for even posing such a question?

Joe: Pretty much the latter is true. Like I said, hitting and fighting are parts of the game and a good way to build momentum or protect your star players. I mean, in baseball you throw at a guy’s head and he can’t do anything about it. Solution: bench-clearing brawl. In hockey, you hit our star too much we get one guy to go up to him and have a little conversation. Solution: two guys go head-to-head then get minutes to cool off.

Me: If Ron Artest played hockey, do you think he’d be able to climb that hard plastic shield and make it into the stands to do a little damage?

Joe: Hey, it’s been done before, but he’d be especially dangerous because skates are sharp. Just ask Clint Malarchuk.

Me: Believe me – I will. Can that guy even talk yet? Whatever. Have you, personally, ever poured beer on an opposing player who was sitting in the penalty box, and, if so, when did you get out of the hospital?

Joe: I can’t afford those seats.

Me: I always hear “penalty minutes” listed among players’ stats, as if they’re a good thing or something. What’s up with that shizz?

Joe: They’re not really such a good thing, but they’re not really frowned upon either. Now that you mention it, I’m not really sure, except I know they are good for my fantasy team.

Me: So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here. Honestly – why don’t sumo wrestlers play goalie?

Joe: Ummm, reaction time, Mike. And the equipment is only allowed to be a certain size. Plus, sumo wrestlers are big, but a net is only 6-feet wide, so the logistics don’t work at all.

Me: Stupid logistics. You used to play goalie. I know this because every time we go to your parent’s house for dinner, I get at least one good whiff of your old hockey equipment in the garage, and I want to throw up. How does a goalie sweat so much when he’s just, like, standing there?

Joe: You should try it out, Mike. The equipment weighs 30 pounds, which is enough to make you start sweating even before the game starts. Then tell me when you see Sidney Crosby flying towards you at 15-20 MPH with a slap shot at around 70-80 MPH that you’re not going to sweat a little.

Me: I’m sweating now just thinking about it. Thank God for Certain Dry. Joe, the NHL Playoffs are about to get underway. The hockey regular season is so friggin’ long, yet the postseason is even longer. The playoffs are like, six months long, and almost spill into the next season. How many days off do the Stanley Cup champs get? The following Monday? Is that it?

Joe: Wait, so 162 games is not long and drawn out? The basketball playoffs are the same length. Plus, playoff hockey is far superior to regular season hockey, which is already far superior to any other sport besides the World Cup. I think it’s too short.

Me: I agree. Hockey should be every four years like the World Cup. Let’s talk about the playoffs though. Who’s the team to beat, and why should we listen to you, and not Barry Melrose?

Joe: Don’t knock Barry. He’s the only guy on ESPN who even knows what hockey is. That being said, Buffalo lost a tough semifinal match to eventual champion Carolina last year and came out of the gate fast this season and it carried through the year. In the finals I think they will meet Dallas, who has the experience and is finishing off the season very strong. The Sabres will finally bring a championship to Buffalo just like the Bills never could, beating the Stars in the finals.

Me: The Bills...ha. They're so stupid. The Rangers are playing really well heading into the postseason. Henrik Lundqvist has been virtually unstoppable, and, as I understand it, the Rangers have other players as well. Do you think their showing in the playoffs this year will be better than last year, when they got swept because Jamir Jagr broke his arm trying to check air?

Joe: Their showing will definitely be better because it is not possible to be any worse, unless they somehow manage to duplicate last year’s result against the Islanders.

Me: Your friend Glen is a Devils fan. What would you say to him about his team’s chances in the playoffs if he were sitting right here?

Joe: The Devil’s time is fading. Buffalo! Buffalo!

Me: I should probably take this time to alert all of the readers that are saying, “What is this guy from Jersey doing dismissing the Devils and rooting for the stupid Rangers?” that Joe is originally from Brooklyn. Joe, would you like to take this opportunity to tell the readers to go to hell?

Joe: You have readers?

Me: That was a zinger. Joe, who is your favorite New York Ranger of all time?

Joe: Mike Richter.

Me: If Mike Richter wasn’t such a dude, would you have married him instead of my sister?

Joe: He’s already married.

Me: Joe, not only are you a huge hockey fan, but you also play fantasy hockey. I would imagine that a fantasy hockey league is just a bunch of guys sitting around not watching hockey, because that is about the best darn fantasy I could ever imagine when it comes to hockey.

Joe: Ignorance is bliss, and you seem happy today, Mike.

Me: Well, thanks for stopping by, Joe. You have truly shed some light on the sport of hockey for the millions of three sports fans who read this column, and who were looking for another ice-related sport to get into. We should get together again this week. A new episode of “The Office” is on Thursday – you guys should come over.

Joe: But the playoffs are on this Thursday.

Me: What? What playoffs?

Joe: The hockey playoffs.

Me: You’ve got to be kidding me.


Joe: Halloween, 1991

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Halloween costune Joe! I didn't know my brother was so funny.
Mike, you should interview more real people about...."stuff", I like "stuff"...and you are very funny!

CMB said...

Joe is so handsome! I love the Halloween outfit, but the mullet is my favorite. I have to say I learned some things reading this interview and I confirmed that I do not like Hockey.
I agree with anonymous, you should interview more real people. Steve would be a great interview for high school baseball and Mark for soccer. You could interview John about Vo-Tech :)

Anonymous said...

That Joe guy sounds really cool and knowledgeable about sports...and you're not so bad yourself Mike. Oops, got to go, the playoffs are on and Ottawa just scored.