Patty mo Steals the Show
The first Red-White Winter Classic of 2009 was one for the ages.
Patrick Morris got his year started on a positive note with a hat-trick as he led the Red squad to something like a 9-6 victory Sunday night at Jingu. The game marked one of the largest TCHC turnouts in a long time and the result was hanging in the balance going into the third period before Red poured it on to suck the drama out of the affair.
Morris, a reformed goaltender from the hockey hotbed of Hawaii, had the magic touch on Sunday and it wasn’t long before his teammates were pulling for a hatty for Patty. The new dad did not disappoint.
“I dedicate this to my daughter Sophia,” beamed Morris after the game. “My wrist strength has really increased from changing all those diapers, plus with my wife out of commission I’ve been pulling my Walt Podubny a lot lately, so that’s really helped, too.” Spoken like a true Diddler.
While Morris was the man of hour, other Red players to twinkle the twine were the smooth-skating Mike Larose on a breakaway, newcomers Jade Leung and Brent McCain, young Naoki and wily veteran Kevin Meehan. (Sorry if anyone was forgotten... McCaskie, Cam, Anto, Dan??)
Meehan’s goal was the result of some tenacious puck pursuit by the roly-poly Quebecer. After several swats at the vulcanized rubber disk, Meehan stayed with it and was finally able to slide a low wrister past White goalie Nobu as his dogged persistence paid off.
The boys on the Red bench tried to recall the last time Meehan pounced on something with that much intensity and the only thing that came to mind was an ugly incident last summer at the Canadian BBQ, where Meehan and McCaskie both went after the last cheeseburger.
Brian May, playing without his trusty sidekick Chucky V, who is on a conditioning stint in the West Coast League, got White on the board first after a defensive lapse in the Red zone. May and Chuck have formed a Sedin-like bond on the ice and always seem to know instinctively where the other man is. Come to think of it, Brian’s always in the corners digging out the puck and Chuck’s always camped in the slot waiting for the pass, so maybe it isn’t intuition after all.
The game see-sawed back and forth after May’s opening tally with Red eventually battling back to take a 4-3 lead in the second period. Both goaltenders made some fine saves. Red’s Tatsu stopped a couple of Mike Slaton blasts from the slot and he also made a nice glove save to stone Koby on a penalty shot, the most exciting play in hockey.
The penalty shot was awarded when Red D-man Jade caught Koby from behind on a semi-breakaway and got the hook on him. It was a tough call on the newcomer but the veterans wanted to send a message to the new man that back-checking will not be tolerated on this team ... sets a bad example for other guys.
Other White goals were scored by Young Kevin, Koby, Ogi, Frank, and Jonathan Livingston Hiratsuka, whose new strategy seems to be to linger at the center red line and wait for an outlet pass. Joji got a beauty from one of the White D-men last night and skated in alone, coolly slap-chipping the puck over a stunned Tatsu. With the hard-working May and Jimmer pulling out all the stops down the stretch, White was able to get one back late, but it was an all too familiar case of too little, too late.
Patty Morris -- 3 goals and possibly an assist or two ... who else could it be?
Tatsu -- some sparkling glove saves in the Red net
Jimmer -- refusing to give up until the final whistle and inspiring his team with his “old-time hockey” work ethic
Hit of the Night:
Smaal leveling Slato at the blueline while simultaneously carrying the puck and dipsy-doodling through Team White. Actually it was more a case of incidental contact ... he zigged when Smaaly zagged, and well, you saw the result. Both guys were able to quickly bounce back and shake off the incident, in true hockey form. In the immortal words of Tone Loc: “That’s what happens when bodies start slappin.”
As mentioned earlier, a great turnout on Sunday. For once, the team didn’t have to go to the spares list and we had a good, competitive skate, so let’s try and keep up that level of participation. Only one Guy said he’d show up and didn’t but he will remain sans nom (that’s French for “nameless”). Dennis and J.O. were both late scratches due to flu-like symptoms.
Bummer of the Night:
Contrary to earlier media reports, TCHC veteran Mike Rublack did not don the zebra stripes and drop the puck for the boys. Rubes, whose aversion to strapping on the blades is puzzling to many members of the club, has maintained his status as one of the team’s most popular players, even though he hasn’t been seen on the ice since the Clinton Administration was making politics fun again.
Prior to the game, TCHC President Mike Slaton introduced himself to some of the new players -- Nick, Jade, Brent Mc, Steven, Dan -- and had them say a few words. “I was wondering who those guys were,” mused Slaton.
Nov.Red / White Game
With Denny manning the pipes on a bad knee Sunday night last at Jingu, his Red-clad teammates rallied around him to put on a dominating performance, outskating the dirty White boys something like 9-5.
The turnout was good, with 12 Red skaters facing off against 13 for White, but more than half of the guys who showed up were off the spare list. Scott "Don\\\'t Call Me Marcia" Brady also made his season debut, albeit in a losing cause. Several guys who committed to play were no-shows, but with old veterans like Kevin Meehan, Killer Carlson, Chaw-dog and Mike Larose out there, the game had a nostalgic feel to it.
When the teams were split up, on paper White looked like a winner. But as any cheesy sportswriter will tell ya, the game ain\\\'t played on paper. When the puck was dropped, Brian May, Chuckie V, Young Jeff and the rest of the White boys were no match for the blend of youth and experience iced by the Red men. The speedy Naoki put on some of his trademark bursts of speed to tally a few.
BTW, if anyone has seen Steve Chianese\\\'s jockstrap, please return it to him ... he lost it somewhere near the blueline when Naoki slipped the disc between his legs and then beat Tatsumoto like a red-headed stepchild.
Dennis gets first star for dragging his sorry ass out there and backstopping his team to victory on a bad wheel .. not to mention some of the pre-game abuse he took from the crusty veteran Killer Carlson.
Other stars go to Ogi and Smaaly, for doing their part to bring some young blood into the ranks of the TCHC. Word in the dressing room was that Ogi recently became a dad and, at 8:30 pm on Monday evening, lead-footed D-man Smaal did the same.
Congratulations also go to Patrick and Miki Morris on the arrival of their daughter, Sophia. That\\\'s five new TCHC babies in two months with El Presidente and the First Lady are due before the end of the year.
Young waves Good-bye to Tokyo
Meiji Jingu Skate Rink, SENDAGAYA -- In an emotional night at Meiji Jingu, the Tokyo Canadians sent longtime defensive stalwart Jason Young home ... a loser, unfortunately.
Young had a chance to tie the hard-fought Red-White contest when he was awarded a late penalty shot for being an overall good guy. However, Tatsumoto in the White net stonewalled Younger as he skated in on goal with all the intensity of Inge Hammarstrom on Valium. Still, as No. 4 Red exited the ice for the final time, it was hard to find a dry eye in the house, but that may have had more to do with Jiffy's garlic breath.
Team Red, comprised mostly of guys playing in BKK later this month, fell 8-6 to the White team, led by pesky president Mike Slaton. For the White men, Chucky V got his usual array of garbage goals, putting in another Gary Doernhoffer-like performance as Brian May did all the heavy-lifting on the line once again. Jenny Craig poster-boy Kevin Meehan also twinkled the twine, ripping a low slap shot past the Cat from the left faceoff circle late in the game.
While the Cat ended up taking the loss, he did use his lightning-quick glove hand to shut up Slaton--who was at his Esa Tikkanen-like yappy best--on more than one occasion. The Red scoring load was carried by the line of Naoki, Jeff and Cam, a former TCHC star who was reduced to B.J. McDonald "Fire Hydrant" status playing between the two speedy wingers.
There was one ugly incident when the ever-ornery Killer "Ulf" Carlson rammed Chuck into the boards from behind. After milking the incident by lying on the ice for several minutes, Vincent finally got up when he realized we were not, in fact, playing soccer. Chuck is a lover, not a fighter, as he reminded us at Zest after the game.
1st star: Younger, for making it out with a severe hangover and for all he's done for the team over the years.
2nd star: Chuck, not for anything he did on the ice but for the nasty stories he told after the game.
3rd star: Meehan, whose Chi-Chi Rodriquez-like post-scoring antics earned a bounty on his head from Red throwback Killer Carlson.
TCHC name new Executive Board
Legend’s Sports Bar, Roppongi -- The TCHC held their AGM on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 at the team’s favourite watering hole in The Pong.
Outgoing Prez Mike Slaton summed up the 2007-08 year. Slates ran through last year’s tournament record (not good), but, on a more positive note, he talked about the success of our fund-raising parties. Treasurer Chris Antonelli gave the financial rundown, revealing that the team was in good shape at the moment.
In other business, it was decided that with the departure of long-time stalwarts like Stu Kimoto, Jason Young and smooth-skating D-men Chad Horsman and Mike Doris, three roster spots would be opened up. It was also noted that a few guys would be dropped from the team for inactivity and/or because they still had not paid their dues from last year.
Voting on new members will likely take place over the Internet with a list being circulated of potential candidates, so stay tuned for that.
In the most important business of the day, a new (sort of) executive committee was elected. In a desperate grab for power, the Diddler ran for nearly every position available, only to pitch a perfect shutout. The Colonel Kurtz look-alike put in a Joe Clark-like performance at the polls, but that's what you get for leaving severed heads in your front yard.
The 2008-09 TCHC Executive Committee:
President: Mike Slaton
Vice President: Dave Lotocki
Treasurer: Chris Antonelli
Domestic Communications: Rob Smaal
International Communications: Joji Hiratsuka
Website Administrators: Ken Takagi, J.O. Caron
Party Co-ordinator: Satoshi Kobayashi
Many thanks were offered for the job done by the 2007-08 Exec and all look forward to a prosperous 2008-09 campaign, both on and off the ice.
Finally, a moment of silence was observed to mark the passing of legendary player-coach Reggie Dunlop.
Toyko Canadians Skate into 2008-09 Season
Sendagaya, Tokyo -- No, that was not the boys spilling their blood last night. Those red streaks across the frozen tundra at Jingu were actually a result of the rust coming off the old blades as the semi-annual East-West TCHC Red-White Classic reared its ugly head once again.
With Prez Mike Slaton furiously working the phone lines and keyboard, a solid turnout was guaranteed. This game resembled more of an oldtimers contest with wily veterans like Meehan, Dober, McCaskie, Diddler, Killer and smooth-skating defenseman/fan favorite Rob Smaal lending an air of class to the event.
The Eastern crew saw the reuniting of the famed DFC (Dueling Frog Combo) line, featuring pesky stickman JO and his trusty sidekick and new papa RopponGuy. Also back together for the Eastern redmen were old linemates Brian May and Chuck "Suitcase" Vincent, who recently returned to Tokyo after a stint in LA doing ... well, who really knows what the hell that guy does. (Anyone out there really believe that story about the picture frame hangers? CIA operative more like it ...)
After experiencing a tough week --- to put it mildly --- on the trading floor, Chris "The Cat" Antonelli came up with a huge night in goal for the Western whiteys, backstopping the Left-Coasters to a thrilling 10-7 win. The Red menace managed to score a couple of late goals to make it close, but White would not be denied on this night. Anto came up with several stellar saves all evening ... Smaaly nearly pulled a groin just watching him make one scintillating kick save.
Youngster Naoki carried the load offensively for the West, using his speed and puckhandling skills to dance through the Red D for several highlight-reel goals. Meehan, once again, carried the load for the East as the big man from Quebec looked to be hauling about 130 kgs of poutine-fueled gut around all night. The defibrillator and oxygen mask were on constant stand-by. Other goal-scorers were Diddler with a pair, showing flashes of the form that saw him play pro briefly in the 1960s, and the DFC line hooked up for a few. Dober emerged from the depths of suburbia to get back on the scoresheet and May, as usual, had another solid two-way game and rippled the mesh in a losing cause.
All-in-all, it was a great turnout and a fun night, hopefully the first of many this season. Even Kenny made an appearance, so those of you unloud types who stayed home to nurse hangovers --- and you know who you are --- get yer arse off the couch next time and come out for a skate.
In other team bizniss, the annual AGM is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 28, at Legends, puck drops at 3 pm. Voting for a new exec will take place and team merchandise will be dispensed. Bring cash for merchandise, annual dues, outstanding party tickets, etc., if it so applies to you. We will also be deciding on new members to replace outgoing guys like Mike Doris and Chad and guys who did not pay their 2007 dues and/or haven't shown up for any events.