Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Winners Read Books: When the Lights Went Out

So it's the New Year. For me, it only registered when I was filling in the date for the customs form. However if you guys think that there are any extras in travelling on New Year's Eve, the only people getting drunk at that time are the flight attendants. (Air Canada is a piece of utter garbage. Want inconvenient delays? BOTH ways? I would never wish this airline on anybody. Well, except for hockeygirl since I'm mailing her the $50 credit they handed out because they felt bad.)

So imagine your flight has been delayed and you spend one night in a pitiful Vancouver airport hotel. You turn the telly on, it's replaying the last game of when the Canucks and the Oilers and -- okay, no TV it is. You're trying to clear your memory from when Staios got his ass slapped by the prettyboy Pyatt (who by the way, has a brother with more talent). And there's a book on the bed. Interesting.

Well I didn't start reading then. If it happened like that, I would've spent more time reading the book. You see, the delay made me anxious to waste time. I bought two editions of Vogue (one British), a THN issue and even the newspaper. I filed my nails hoping that it would help me read each word carefully. I ended up starting the book before the plane even started boarding.

So what can I say of this book? I am no hockey genius. I feel that if I were rating a trashy chicklit - it would be totally up my alley. I can only give my impressions of this book, and heartily recommend it to anyone else who has an interest in post commie Ruskis... Or something like that. To give you a brief update - yannow, in case - the book revolves around the 1987 World Junior Champtionship where its pesky ruffians will be forever remembered as a sad headshake in Canadian hockey history.

To me, the allure of the book is the small but tantalizing morsels of what alludes to the scandalous comittee made up of what is today Hockey Canada - the only people who let the boys down. Call it a Brangelina/TomKat front page spread of a gossip tabloid - it's a great scandal. Each member of the 1987 team is picked apart and eventually accepted in your own heart. You're given a simple view of what really went through their minds as they donned their jerseys. Because, simply, it's not that hard to imagine that maybe each member had little to care about their country and more about the game. Through this, the events leading up the fateful brawl are annotated with small key comments and memories of certain players. And to certain players such as Fleury, Piestany had affected their lives even if it was forgotten to members of the IIHF.

And as well, this books tries its best to track down the other team. There's Mogilny, Fedorov & Konstantinov. Mogilny would be proud of Malkin's eager defection. Their accounts among a select few of the Soviet team are the main attraction. After all, why did they fight when others would have easily cowered? Again, the echoes of scandal murmur. The book alludes clearly to a coach whose questionable regimen was something which went hand in hand with the Soviet rule. It's unnerving to hear Mogilny say that in the team, they were never "acknowledged as human beings". Additionally it is this relentless coach who may have been the reason why the meekest member of the Soviet team was the first to leap over the bench. I have to say, the Soviet team (well the ones who had a story to tell), gain sympathy in this book. If you feel nothing for Konstantinov's poor fate (or even Chiasson's accident), you're a cruel heartless bastard.

I can already flip through the book back and forth to read each part of the book in detail over again. It places each puzzle piece together like a crime novel. To me, I'm not sure whether it's the style of writing or the unique story of each player from Turgeon to Fleury. It's got a couple of strange action sentences, such as "look at the roster of the Canadian team", maybe to create a dramatic subheading. But to me, it reminds me of one of those old school RPG styled games my brother played long ago. You know, inspect the bookshelf, find the silver knife, stab the midget etc. You have to give the author plenty of credit for lacing this all together in a neat tidy package, readable even by a dumbass like me. If you have a day off and want to sink into a story of simpler times, feel free to read about the best hockey bloodbath in history. At the end, you won't have the clearest answer of why but at least you'll know a lot of whats and whos.

However the highlight of the book shall always be this sentence which continually haunts my mind with Borat-like scenarios.

It looks like a pair of Michelin Men sumo wrestling, like two fat men fighting over a bar of soap on a shower floor.
Thanks. Oh and have a happy Ovechkin new year. Unfortunately, I do not have a Crosby version for all you ladies who love the live in toyboy. I shall tonight sleep with my Samsonov shirt in hopes that it will not only bring luck to my Chunky Monkey but as well to the entire team.


The Acid Queen said...

Each member of the 1978 team



The infamous Piestany Punch-Up took place in 1987, not 1978.

Reality Check said...

AC beat me to it..I knew Pat Burns was still handing out traffic tickets in Gatineau in 1978!

Check out "Searching For Bobby Orr" - I give it the highest marks!

Margee said...

Ovechkin is wearing Teva's in that picture. Bwahahahahahaha! I suppose he was waiting for his hypercolor t-shirt to come out of the wash.

Sherry said...

Nice review Jordi however I did not need to wake up to that Ovechkin picture, thank you very much.

I suppose I have to like Crosby now since I got his hockey stick for my birthday.

hockeygirl said...

I say we let Jordi have this ONE mistake since she just travelled how many hours in a row? 1000?

But thanks for the $50 credit. I will spend it wisely when I need, um, a commercial flight if the hgcopter breaks down.

And sleeping with the Dion shirt has worked for me, so good luck.

Jordi said...

Fuck. Yeah that. I was sleepy o'right! *crawls in corner*

I'm surprised Ovie's not wearing his usual practice crocs!

Oh and Sherry: Ovechkin will get to you! One way!

Heather B. said...

This book sounds kind of interesting. Since I am, according to my husband, naming my firstborn child after Alexander Milgony, perhaps I'll read it.

Heather B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather B. said...

(Please don't tell my husband that I just called his childhood idol "Milgony.")

DCSportsChick said...

The Ovie pic was way better than any ol' Crosby one. Just look at that chest! And those shoulders! Nice.

Finny said...

sherry: you got crosby's stick? damn. LOL. I want one too!!! =D

and hey. I like crosby, Jordi. You shoulda looked harder for a hottie pic of him! hahaha, j/k girly

Jordi said...

Milogny might be a creative choice in names Heather! Well if all else fails, there's always Saku.

dcsportschick: Absolutely. I do feel a bit dirty that I've been looking at it at least once a day since I got it.

Finny: Maybe this will satisfy?

Sherry said...

Finny - Yes. We ran into him in Toronto, I said it was my birthday and he thought I was incredibly awesome so gave me one of his sticks.

Or my friend went to a store and bought the same kind that he used. Either one of these could be true :P