Twas An Hour Before Puck Drop
Twas an hour before puck drop and all through the rink, soon there’d be bedlam and fans on the brink. The skates were all hung by the lockers with care, in hopes that their owners soon would be there.
The sticks were all nestled in clusters and piles, while visions of slap shots caused them to smile. My son in his jersey and I in my sweats, had settled our brains in our seats near the nets.
When out on the ice there arose such a clatter I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter. My nose to the glass before I could blink, I pulled out my camera before I could think.
The spotlights and lasers caused people to gasp, a spectacle new fans could hardly grasp.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, a squadron of puck men in helmets and gear.
Led by a skater so speedy and brave, I knew in a moment it was captain J. Toews. More rapid than Blackhawks his teammates they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now Sharpie! Now Kaner! Now Richards and Keith! On, Bickell! On, Hjammer, On Hossa and Versteeg. From deep in your end to the other team’s net, now skate away! Skate away, like the great Golden Jet.
As ice shavings spray from fast stopping blades, when they meet with the frosting in glistening cascades. So down to the blue line the skaters they flew, with a handful of sticks and black rubber discs too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the boards, the pounding of projectiles from the puck launching hoards. As I flinched from the glass and started to duck, from the very near corner Brent Seabrook had snuck.
He was covered head to foot with bruises and nicks, a blood-crusted sweater from blocked shots and sticks. The bundle of pucks he slid to his snipers made him look like a man feeding vipers.
His eyes how they narrowed and his jaw clenched so tight, there was an old score to settle, most likely tonight. His battle-scarred mouth was clenched in a smirk, and his unshaven face meant he was ready to work.
Their mouth guards were firmly in place near their lips, protection from elbows, deflections and fists. Those serious faces showed no emotion or dread, as they went about business where few others would tread.
They spoke not a word but went straight to their work, launching slappers and wrist shots at goalies, alert. And after the warm up they went to their bench, for direction from “Q” both wise man and mench. The starters lined up in the usual manner, and waited for Cornelison’s Star Spangled Banner.
The opening face off was won by our guys, and they pounced on the puck with blood in their eyes. But I heard them exclaim as they flew down the ice: “Merry Christmas to all, another Cup would be nice.”
(Feature photo courtesy of Nicole Yeary)