Puck

April 12, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

 

Just sat down to watch some puck…had some enchiladas…yummy!

Preds are down 1-0…went in off a skate.

Man, I LOVE hockey. Just love it! (Preds are getting boned
on penalties)

The funny hockey accents. The energy of the crowd. The crazy
rules and action. I miss it.

If Ed Hale could pull this Arena thing off, I swear I’d love
to be involved in buying a hockey team and bringing it here. I miss hockey!

Maybe some of you know (or maybe you don’t), but hockey was my
beat when I worked at The Evening Sun and The News American. I
covered, conservatively speaking, at LEAST 250 hockey games during that time.
I, like Drew, was a MAJOR, MAJOR Caps dork.

I was there for every big game they ever played during that
era from 1985-1992. Every John Druce, Rod Langway, Mike Gartner move…I was in
the locker room, press box, in the car back and forth two or three times a week
to the Capital Centre with Phil Jackman in his Nissan Sentra.

Maybe some of you don’t know it, but Phil Jackman was like a
father to me. We did hockey games for YEARS. Man, he was a HORRIBLE driver!
Aggressive, cussing in his Worcester, MAAAASSS accent. Those were some REALLY,
REALLY good times! I was with him on the Easter eve allnighter with the New York Islanders when Pat Lafontaine netted the winner at 3 in the morning. I REALLY WAS THERE!! I remember the concessionaires were giving free popcorn away at the end of the fifth period!

I also covered the Baltimore Skipjacks every step of the way
– from Gene Ubriaco’s black and gold Penguins affiliates to the night that
red, white and blue Caps affiliate was created. I went to EVERY Skipjacks game
EVERY year for a good decade. I was there the day Olaf Kolzig went to practice for the first time. I had a lot of fun with Terry Murray and Doug MacLean.

My best story: Barry Melrose was the coach of the Adirondack Red Wings…playoff game in Baltimore…Skipjacks lose a bad fight and the game, handily…MacLean and Melrose exchange nasty words in a very animated display…After the game, I asked Melrose what happened…he said, “Dougie tried to hit me with his purse!”

Melrose was great. Those Skippies nights were great, too!

(For you old-schoolers from Sect. 212 — Skippers on the
Warpath — GO GO!)

I went on roadtrips to Hershey for 15 years. I planned
travel trips around hockey. I saw games everywhere from Glens Falls to Rochester. I’ve seen hockey in probably 60 arenas around the
U.S. I love me some puck!

But the game is a mess. I can write about that another time,
because quite frankly, the Orioles depress me enough. I want to feel good about
hockey for one night!

I actually came into doing a radio show because I was the
beat writer and I met Kenny Albert (talk about a guy who knew a LOT about
hockey! WOW!).

I miss the Skipjacks and the old days with the Caps in
Landover. Jackman teaching me how to be a curmudgeon, telling old Earl Weaver
stories, giving me a bunch of his wacky perspectives on the world and regaling
me with Olympics stories from all over the world. Jackman is a cool dude (don’t
let him fool you!)

I met my wife at an AHL hockey game in Manchester. I met
some of my greatest friends through hockey. I’ve had a blast being a Predators
fan the last decade because my old Skipjacks pal Barry Trotz is the coach. He’s
a really cool guy as well. Just some nice people, nice memories.

And right now, Hockey Meg is sitting on my couch. More
friends, more hockey, more fun!

There would be NOTHING better than getting a hockey
team back here. NOTHING!

UPDATE: Preds and Sharks have gone to overtime…Orioles gave up a grand slam…it’s raining like hell…and if ANYBODY can find Gary Thorne leaving OPACY, get his ass over to my condo so he can call the “fourth” period of this game from my couch. THAT would be a DREAM contest. Gary “F-ing” Thorne in my condo, on my couch, calling overtime of a Stanley Cup game. Hey Gary…if you’re listening, that’s a STANDING offer. I’ll buy beer and pizza, pretzels…whatever!! You won’t find ANY OTHER HOCKEY FANS WITHIN 30 MILES OF HERE…
I’m your man, Gary!!!

I’m thinking of starting a “We love Gary Thorne society”…

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