Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

Some nights, watching hockey is fun. Other nights, it’s a gut punch and you wonder what you’ve done to make the hockey gods so mad. Tonight, the Caps got out to what seemed to be an insurmountable 2-0 lead, their second consecutive shutout well within grasp. Awesome, right? Then Brooks Laich’s stick freakishly broke on the PK and Winnipeg scored while up three men. 12 seconds later, Dustin Byfuglien rifled a slap shot from the red line that deflected off 10,000 people including Goat, Horn Guy, and Wes Johnson’s mic and bounced in. You gotta be kidding me.

The play that perhaps best summed up the night, though, was a hit that came with under a minute left in the game. You probably missed it. As Jeff Halpern dumped the puck into the Jets’ zone, everybody’s favorite Kazakhstani giant, 6’7” 245-pound Nik Antropov, left his feet and knocked Halpy head-first into the Winnipeg bench. Check it out below the jump.

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Atlanta Thrashers Pregame: Wait, What? Winnipeg Who?

Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub

Puck Buddy Doug Johnson writes for RMNB. Follow @PuckBuddys unless you’re Sean Avery.

The Pre Game: I’m going to let you in on a secret. We people of the prairie have known it for decades, but as a group we tend to be Scandinavian, and so tight-lipped. We only pass it down– whispered– when there’s no other choice; as on those nights the wind shakes the windows and hope seems to extinguish in the pit of a cold, dead emptiness. And here it is: there is no darker, stranger place on this Earth than Winnipeg. It’s Canada’s sooty heart of darkness… and now, thanks to the NHL, we have to spend a night there.

You can spend a lifetime overnight in Winnipeg.

The Puck Drop

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “But it’s Canada! How scary can that be?” Here’s how creepy: David Lynch won’t even go there. That’s how creepy Winnipeg is. Built at the base of a floodplain that sinks in summer and concentrates the winds into an arctic vortex each winter, Winnipeg is a place that sensible cultures would just abandon. Admit their mistake, move on, and leave it to future anthropologists to try and make sense of the debris: curling, BTO, and Guy Maddin.

Sure, some have escaped. Cody Eakin and Eric the Fehr among the more adorables. But let me ask you this: do you know anyone who’s been to Winnipeg? Didn’t they come back…changed?

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