Thursday, March 13, 2008

In Which I Am Extremely Pissed

Let's talk about things I do.

I go to college full time. I take 5 classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all of which have reading I have to do on Tuesday, Thursday and the weekends, along with any assorted papers and presentations.

I also work on the aforementioned Tuesdays and Thursdays, where I always THINK I am going to get reading done, but rarely do. I work in Westborough, which is 30-40 minutes from my house.

I work out twice a week for an hour with a trainer.

I have a knitting group after work on Tuesdays.

I do a bunch of stuff for the Sharks Booster Club, and that's what I'd like to talk about today.

I really love the Sharks. I love the people in the front office, they get it, they know hockey. I love the Boosters, for the most part, and enjoy spending time with them. I love seeing Fiona and Shrek and our section family and all the other people around the arena. I like the DCU people and the interns and the games. I love the actual Sharks themselves - by and large, they are just a good bunch of guys, personable and funny.

When the Icecats left, it...sucked. I grew up there. I made friends there, I met throwaway boyfriends there, I had a handful of Christmases at the Centrum with my former section family in 117...I met Speed there. I knew all about the guys on the team and the teams in the league, all of that. It was like a second home. There was a year after they left where there was no team, and that was just horrendous...the upside, I guess, is that it gave Speed's and my relationship a chance to gestate, but hockey. Speed basically strongarmed a new team into town, and that was good...the Sharks seemed like a good group and in the inaugural season, they proved it. We joined the Booster Club, Speed became President, and at the end of the year I'd somehow managed to be named Booster of the Year.

It was also the first time I'd had the weird sensation of enjoying losing. This is not to say the team sucked and lost all the time. They were kings of the comeback, though, to the point that they'd be down by 2 and we'd all start joking about how they had the other team right where they wanted them. And kind of not be kidding. It was thrilling...they were a dynamic team and even watching them lose was more exciting than half the wins I'd ever seen. They made the playoffs, and that was great.

This year, while it's mathematically possible for them to qualify, they're not going to do it playing like this. And that is not fair.

I don't really know who to blame. These guys, by and large, do not suck. There are some guys who could be phenomenal with some polish. When Lukas Kaspar hits the afterburners, you just straight up cannot catch him. When Mike Iggulden decides to show up for a game, he's fantastic. When the defense is cranking and Thomas Greiss and Dimitri Patzold actually have some crease to play with, they are unbeatable.

So why aren't these things happening?

I don't have a solid answer. I put a lot of it on the coach, but not being in the locker room, I don't know that I can point that finger. I DO know that sometimes, no matter how much of a big kid you are, you need a kick in the ass. I don't see that happening on the ice, and quite honestly, I think that's usually where you need it most. When you're not playing, you have plenty of time to work up a guy's motivation and psych him up. But let's have it said...20 minutes isn't long. Not at that pace. There's definitely not time to dick around and wait for the guy who's dragging ass to come to his senses, adopt a heroic pose and Do It For Love. Sometimes when you're in the shit, you just feed on your own frustration and keep screwing up. I also take serious issue with the moronic line changes and the coach's total inability to take a goddamn timeout. Look, this is basic logic.

Point of hockey = putting small rubber critter past a large man with mattresses strapped to his legs and into a net.

Method of acccomplishing above goal = guys with sticks and knives strapped to their feet do whatever they can to push it in.

Ergo, if there are no goddamn PEOPLE in the FUCKING RED ZONE, how in the HELL do you think you're going to get the puck in the goddamn net??? And yet game after game, night after night, this guy changes up as soon as the puck crosses the blue line. WHERE DID THIS GUY LEARN HOCKEY?

And with the time outs...he just doesn't call them, and often this falls into the same angry space with my motivational issues. Look, sometimes a goalie lets in two in a row, and it doesn't mean he needs to be pulled. Sometimes he just needs a slap-around. Sometimes a team needs the same. In either case, just CALL A DAMN TIMEOUT, give the peptalk and the game plan, and move on. Don't just let it drag on and hope something good will happen - be proactive.

I guess I should note that the reason I'm all hacked off is because they lost 3-1 to San Antonio last night in the most boring fucking game ever in the world without a HINT of fighting for the win.

I'd also like to talk a little bit about Jamie "Motherfucking" Koharski.

My first concious knowledge of Jamie Koharski was last season during a game against the Norfolk Admirals, and that game managed to get so fucking far out of his control that someone wound up being taken off the ice on a backboard. The Admirals were an ugly, fighty team last year, and the Sharks certainly were taking the bait, but there was no reason for a game with paid officials to get that out of hand. Since that game, he's been a consistently shitty referee...missing calls, ignoring calls, being oblivious, being an asshole...while variety may be the spice of life, no one needs a variety of ways to suck at something you get paid for.

Last night, Riley Armstrong, who, let's have it said, is a shit-stirrer to the core, got knocked down in front of the net, and some shitheel on the Rampage just started crosschecking him over and over and over. Where, you may wonder, was Koharski? Fucking nowhere to be seen. He finally tuned in by the 4th or 5th crosscheck - for those who don't know what I'm talking about, the Rampage player had his stick with a hand on each end of it, and was ramming the flat of his stick down repeatedly on Riley's shoulders, neck and back - and slapped the guy with a 5 minute major and a game misconduct.

Look, part of being a ref isn't just calling the right penalty, it's keeping the game safe. It's a violent game, and sometimes people just need a goddamn timeout. In this regard, Koharski has failed over and over and over and over, and that is fucking reprehensible. That man is going to be responsible for someone getting seriously, permanently hurt one of these days, and that is fucking terrible.

He should be out of a goddamn job.

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