Thursday, October 27, 2005

The New NHL

Ran into Beansy the other day. He is from the old neighborhood. Never knew his real first name. It was a neighborhood of nicknames because there were too many similar names. So we had Vinnie Legs, Tommy Boo Boo, Johnny Butch, Vinnie Head and the likes. We used to go to the old Garden, 8th Ave between 48th and 49th Street, stop in Nedicks, grab a couple of dogs and an orangeade for about two bits each and then go in to see the game. We would sit in the side balcony then for fifty cents. Of course everything after Row A was an obstructed view. You had to stand to see the side boards and even then the view wasn't too hot. We eventually graduated to the end Arena for a buck and a half with a clear view and amuse ourselves between periods by blowing up balloons and keeping them in the air and see how far they would go. It has now evolved into 'Potvin sucks' and Dancing Larry.

Been to the Garden lately, I asked? Naw, he said, no fights. I said sure there are fights. Boxing is back at MSG. Not those fights, he countered, they are all fixed. I'm talking about hockey fights where guys met at center ice, dropped their gloves, and went at it until one guy went down. They gave them five minutes each and they would come back and maybe go at it again. That was hockey, he said. I reminded him this is the new NHL.

Then he wanted to know how could a guy stand in front of the goalie without being pushed, shoved or clobbered and allowed to score a soft goal. Beansy said in basketball if you go up for an easy shot you get butchered. I told him that was a deliberate foul. Beansy said, you bet your life it was deliberate. It should be. Nobody should be allowed to score an easy goal. I reminded him this is the new NHL.

Beansy was going now. "I saw a guy throw a pass the other day from one end of the ice to the other end and there was no whistle." I told him that is because they got rid of the red line. He said, there still is a red line I saw it. I tried to explain that while it was there it really wasn't. I told him it was to speed up the game and increase offense. He wanted to know what would happen to basketball if they got rid of the center line. No backcourt, no ten second, no shot clock. I was losing ground here so I reminded Beansy that this is the new NHL.

That didn't stop Beansy. He wanted to know about this shootout. I told him that if the game ends in a tie after a five minute over time each team picks three players and they all get to go against the goalie and whoever scores the most goals wins the game. Beansy said, "Oh, its like when we were kids and stood toe to toe and each get a shot at punching the other guy in the jaw and see who falls first." Not quite, I reminded Beansy that this is the new NHL.

Beansy had enough. I gotta catch the last race at OTB, he said. Beansy was always catching the last race. Give him five bucks and if it came between a sandwich and a horse the money went on the horse. Beansy was fascinated by beautiful horses and fast women. But he was definitely old school and when you are old school it sometimes takes a while to change. So this new NHL hasn't grabbed him yet as he would say. But give him time. Given the choice between the new NHL or no NHL Beansy will eventually go with the new NHL. It will take time but it will happen. As he was moving away Beansy shouted out to me. "I get it now. New NHL - No Hit League."

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