And now, a personal story from the life of Hex.
One week ago yesterday, our family had a little addition. Of course, the original expected date was last Tuesday, but waiting an extra 24 hours for something that would bring such joy into the world – it was grueling, but ultimately worth it. I’m telling you, if you could see the proud smile on my face when we got home for the first time. Sure, you can anticipate sleeping a lot less, and your eating schedule will become far from regular- but ultimately, much is sacrificed when you bring NHL 09 into your home-
What’s that? Oh, a baby? Due the same week EA Sports releases their latest Game of the Year? You’ve got to plan your pregnancies a little better than that, friendo.
After the jump, a crushing revelation for the oldest blueliner on the Detroit Red Wings.
One of the new features of NHL 09 (I think it’s new, I didn’t get NHL 08) is the Be a Pro mode. Simply put, you create yourself and pick your favorite franchise and work your way from AHL scrub to NHL All-Star over the course of your career. So thanks to the magic of video gamery, I’m now a defenseman for your Philadelphia Phantoms (nothing says “classic jersey” like the combination of orange and purple.)
Note: Just because my pen name is Hextall doesn’t mean I have any interest in playing goalie. Ever.
After starting as a third liner, seeing about 12-15 minutes of ice time, I’ve been able to stay in position, not make a Bryan McCabe pass across the middle, and knock the crap out of wings on instinct. And yet, the Phantoms’ forwards can’t score a single fucking goal. So after 4 games, 0 points, and a -6 rating, I got promoted.
(It appears the Phantoms have now been taken over by the Federal Government.)
I’m now a top liner, playing alongside Ryan Parent (who will be in the NHL this year all year), and a stellar -13. This means it’s only a matter of time before I make the Show. In the meantime, I’m enjoying this education lesson about the teams of the AHL. Now, like all EA Sports dynasty-type game modes, the system is simulating damn near everything else. Players are getting hurt. Players are getting called up. Players are getting sent down. Which brings me to my point.
Last night’s game: Philadelphia Phantoms (Flyers) vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (Red Wings)
Game starts off as it usually does. Jonathan Matsumoto wins the face-off back to me, which I slide over to Parent. Then I end up out of position, chasing the winger back to my own net, and leveling him with a check of the crossing variety. Penalty.
In Be a Pro, getting a penalty sucks. Your vantage point for those two minutes is literally from the penalty box. So as I watch the Griffins set up in the offensive zone, I have a clear view of their point man. His sweater? It said:
I pause the game and check the player stats. Surely this must be a grandson of Chris Chelios, right? Yeah, he’s just in the league now and has some stupid name like Taylor or Tyler or Dempsey and trying to hack it on Grandpa’s AHL Affiliate.
It’s no secret that Detroit has some serious depth at defense this year. Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall are a solid 4. Lilja, Ericsson, Lebda, Quincey, Chelios, and maybe Meech will be up for the final pairing. So it’s conceivable that the oldest hockey player in the world could be a healthy scratch from time to time. But here’s the thing. Chelios likely has a 1-way contract, meaning he’s going to have to pass waivers for the Video Game Red Wings to send him packing to Grand Rapids.
29 video game teams passed on Chris Chelios. Not even the Los Angeles Kings bit.
And here I am, sitting in the penalty box watching him man the power play for a minor league team.
Maybe it’s time to hang ’em up, Chris.