Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Divine rod

THE FLOOD OF MEMORIES from my table-hockey (or rod-hockey, as some folks call it) post yesterday was too much for one sitting, so as promised, another glide down the slots of plastic pucks past continues.

The Coleco "New York Rangers" hockey game we played incessantly wasn't actually my first table-hockey game. I did have another, smaller version when I was small, which featured the default Canadiens-Leafs matchup, the metal players actually brandishing yellow plastic sticks (as pictured in my blogpost from yesterday). The other feature was a battery-powered actual red light that ignited when a goal was scored. Very cool.

I mentioned that I owned every team at the time; I just read somewhere that the Oakland Seals and Los Angeles Kings players are highly sought-after. Like my old baseball cards, I wish I still had the metal table-hockey players that gave me so much joy as a child. Oh well ...

The preferred offensive strategy -- and one of my favorite moves -- was the centering pass from the wing to the center. If you controlled the puck with your right wing, say, the opposing player's defenseman had to commit to either blocking the path for a centering pass or defending a sharp-angle shot from the wing -- not both. So either way, there would be a scoring opportunity. I found the best way to attack would be to get the puck past the defenseman in the general direction of the slot, while giving the center rod a good shove. Ideally, the flying center would smash the puck toward the net, an almost impossible play for the goalie to defend.

And how about the times the puck would sit tantalizingly on the lip of the goal line? The only way to get it out would be to gingerly try to move the puck toward the post, using the metal post that supported the goalie, and then attempt to clear the puck away by applying just enough pressure to slide it out of danger without accidentally pushing it backward and into the net. All of that while the opposing center would harass the goalie by twisting back and forth at high speed, smashing metal on metal, causing a great deal of noise.

Which is probably why my mom relegated us to the basement.


Random thoughts: The last word on destiny pertaining to the Canadian men's hockey team (and the women's, for that matter) -- I never made the connection for some reason, but a couple of days ago I realized the first four notes of the Olympic Theme and "O, Canada" are exactly the same ... So LeBron James has already put in the paperwork to change his uniform number next season from 23 to 6, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer he wanted to do so as a tribute to Michael Jordan. The more cynical among us might think it a way for the Cavs -- or whomever LeBron plays for next season -- to sell more jerseys, much the way the Lakers happened to sell more Kobe Bryant jerseys when he switched from No. 8 to 24. By the way, LeBron, the Knicks have No. 6 available.

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