Sports

Red Wings Spell 'Happy Birthday Coach' with V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

By Jonathan Lambert
Published September 27, 2011

It was Monday, September 26, 2011 at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena. Hamilton's skipper, Scott Elliott, turned another year older while the squad's skaters turned a win over Brampton. The puck dropped at 7:30 and birthday gifts soon began rolling in.

At 1:30 into the first period, the Wings' Pintaric took a wide rebound and then lifted the puck into the top of the Capitals' goal. Following Red Wing tradition, loyal fans in the crowd hit fists in celebration.

Quickly, the match caught speed, lines on both sides battled for control, and especially Brampton's goal keeper, Keire, put on a show.

Later, Hamilton's Radjenovic took a fast break along the boards, right next to the opposition's bench. This ignited into a riot of clamouring sticks, plastic helmets, leather gloves and various other flashing hockey parts, not to mention water bottles, a commotion sharing bright encouragement for their team.

Then Radjenovic's speed put his skates past the last defenceman, producing best conditions for him to beat Keire while taking a point for the Red Wings. Again loyal fans hit fists in celebration.

Before the first intermission could arrive, two more goals were hammered in by the Wings, by Jude and Cary. 4:0.

During the first break, hockey fans in the crowd cheerfully shared notice about the next Monday night Red Wing home game against Georgetown, students opened their binders while getting into school work, and the snack bar got busy with orders for large teas and steaming coffees.

The second period began. Just before the two minute mark, Brampton's Mitchell wheeled hard out of the Red Wing's corner and snuck one in above Santana's right shoulder. 4:1.

Then time stopped.

There was a quick silence as the Capitals, initiated the launch of a potential comeback. Some people in the Andreychuk Centre noticed a flash in the lights; others felt a change in the sound or the air.

On both teams, at first it seemed skaters began turning in the wrong directions too often. Then Brampton's Hood put a slapshot on Santana's right post that came off the medal faster than it had Hood's stick.

In general, the puck began an extended rebellion against the laws of gravity, or was making new rules, or at least ignoring standards.

Later - and stranger - still, the "defencemen" held a quiet meeting at centre ice to plan universal de-fencing (AKA the taking down of fences throughout the entire world); and each "forward" joined together with others to make impressive posters advertising voting for a certain person named Ward, clearly their candidate of choice in the upcoming MPP elections.

In general, the game rolled on while "off-sides" became "up-sides", "face-offs" became "face-ins" and "changing on the fly" became, "changing into The Fly".

Near the half-way point of this period, and the half-way point of the game, Pintaric for the Red Wings and Darrigo for the Capitals removed their gloves for the circle that formed around them.

A piano rolled out onto the ice to accompany the grand waltz already underway, which gracefully turned into a swing, and then additional faster swings, followed by some round upper-cuts and a series of rabbit punches before the players fell together under a warm pile-on of whistling referees. At the end, teammates politely tapped their sticks on the ice while spectators offered a warm round of applause. Delightful.

Soon afterwards, in the continued glow of these new, seemingly magical turns, the Wings, with Carey, managed to count another against the Capitals to make it 5:1; and later Santana produced a thrilling stop which, according to one fan, was a "soccer goalie save". These exceptional events followed their course into the third period as Laidlaw and Micallef scored two more points for Brampton, closing the gap to 5:3.

At this point in the evening, number 698446 was awarded the winner of the weekly 50/50 draw. Although being just one number off, I managed to return focus to the competition afoot just in time to see Carey on a breakaway.

He closed in toward Keire, but took some interference from the last defenseman (who had just completed his part in the previously mentioned de-fencing). A penalty shot was awarded, which was transformed into success for Carey and the Wings.

Time had stopped.

And then the spell was over. The lights sharpened, usual sounds returned, and loyal Hamilton fans hit fists in celebration.

Later Radjenovic and Hyman pounded in two more goals for Hamilton, before Santino added another point for Brampton in the last minute of a spectacular match.

So, it's a happy birthday! Bake the cake with eight on it, or four, or twelve, or, in the continuing celebration blow it up with one extra-large, red and white wing-ed mighty mighty firework because at 9:27 PM, on September 26, it was 8 to 4 in favour of the Hamilton Red Wings.

Jonathan Lambert is a returnee to Hamilton, Ontario. In between studies at the University of Toronto and stellar pick-up soccer, he enjoys taking in Monday night Hamilton Red Wing home games.

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By stanley (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:35:51

terrific! Best sportswriting I've read in quite some time.

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By Hanson (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2011 at 14:35:00

Went to see the Red Wings last night after discovering them on this site, this article, and it was a pretty good show. They got outclassed 5-0, but very entertaining. Don't know why the arena isn't jammed packed with people. Could be the $12 entry price is a little steep since you could see a BullDogs game for that kind of money.

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