After the huge sigh of relief that was last night’s one goal win in Florida, the Senators rolled into Dallas last night for their game Friday against the Stars. Last night’s game was a very important win for the club, ending the seven game losing streak, but it was by no means a great win or even close to the kind of hockey this team is capable of, according to Gord Wilson. I will be mentioning Gord’s name often in this blog because as I read his often and he mentions me quite a bit.
Still they needed a victory and they got it and now the tough part is continuing to slug their way out of the doldrums. Still too many defensive break downs for John Paddock’s liking.
Sometimes you just have to go back to what works. That includes off ice habits. It usually happens at least once per season with every hockey team whose players are above the age of 17. On a team bus, plane, at a team function or whenever, it happens and last night on the way to Dallas it did for the Senators. In his brief case Allan Panzeri from the Ottawa Citizen had a DVD of Slapshot. The movie was put on all the screens in the plane. The more veteran members of the club like Bryan Murray and John Paddock can relate to the movie and vividly remember the year of its release. For many of the players they were not born when the movie came out, but it’s a cult classic for every hockey player. For the current generation it’s kind of like Napoleon Dynamite on ice.
After arriving in Dallas we had another semi regular occurrence. A bunch of extremely tall people in the hotel. With so many NHL rinks also being home to NBA teams we are often in the same hotel as a visiting NBA club. Right now it’s the Denver Nuggets. It’s humorous to listen to players from both sports talking about the other while in line at Starbucks. The NHL guys talk about how tall the NBA guys are and the basketball players talk about the hockey guy’s face's. They are surprised by the fact that they all seem to have their teeth and fewer scars than expected. The round ballers haven’t yet figured out that hockey players have false teeth.
Another semi regular occurrence on the road is the special attention paid by security staff when the Sun’s Bruce Garrioch is around. Right now it’s in the 60’s here in Dallas and a jacket is required. Bruce brought just one on this trip and it’s a khaki trench coach. Problem is, when he’s not heading to a game in his suit he (like the rest of us) is usually wearing jeans and a T-shirt. The combination of trench coach and the jeans with runners screams “flasher”.
Dallas is a wonderful city but you quickly realize it is not at all like our little burg in the Nation’s Capital. The team is practicing this afternoon at the Dr. Pepper Star Centre which is one of about six such facilities in Dallas. They are very similar to the Bell Sensplex but with some not so subtle differences. On the doors coming into the facility here there are signs that warn of felony charges if any licensed or unlicensed firearms are brought into the building. The penalty is up to $10,000 in fines and or ten years in jail. I suppose in a state where the number of registered firearms is equal to half the population of Texas, the sign is required. The other thing that catches your eye is the “traditional” holiday season decorations on the front lawn of the Star Centre. The have those big wire models with Christmas lights on them. In Ottawa, we have reindeer, Santa, elves and that kind of thing. Here the lighted sculptures are of holiday long horn bulls and Santa riding in a holiday tractor. No I am not kidding.
See you at the rink.