October 26, 2003

Lak languishes, but gets last laugh

Lak Attack's early-season struggles continued Sunday. In last week's season opener, he was unable to reverse his side's late-game collapse, despite being paired with super sniper, the Kid; but this week his powerhouse linemates were able to overcome the lament of their leader to romp to a 20-9 win.

Playing on a dreamteam lineup that included Kid and Elvis, and backstopped by the solid goaltending of a hungover Gump, Lak Attack wheeled and dealed, but his contribution to his side's dominating victory was limited to one goal.

"I know my game has been behind," says Lak Attack, bristling at suggestions that he may be entering the twilight of his superstardom.

But other roadsters have noticed the shifty speedster's fleet footwork seems to have faltered after he gained some off-season girth.

"The Lak of today has got about half the speed, half the skills and about twice the weight," says Wendel, who's returned to the game after almost a two-season hiatus to pursue educational opportunities.

"He wasn't the dominant force I saw when I first started," says Beetle Boy.

"Father Time is marching on," says Paul One, who should know, as one of the league's oldest players. "He's not hanging onto the ball as much as he used to in his prime."

Lak Attack admits he was softened by a slothful summer.

"It's a conditioning stint that I have to work on. It's gonna be a long haul, and it's gonna be another four months until I get back on form."

Meanwhile, defenders are taking advantage. They've overcome their awe for the fearsome forward, forcing the check with renewed vigor.

"He relies on you trying to commit to him, so he can make a groove and use his speed to get around you," says Beetle Boy. "You just have to try to contain him. You kinda gotta stay back a little, keep a couple of feet between you."

"He forces two defenders to come after him, and he'll either score himself or create opportunities for other people," says Paul One. "In some respects, you've just got to play smarter."

"You've gotta play smarter, not harder," says Wendel, about getting on an even keel with his rival. "A guy's gotta get from point A to point B, and you've gotta think about the smartest way to play the game. The young kids can run up and down the court all day, and you can't keep up with them."

Lak Attack says he hears the whispers and he feels the sticks chopping at his ankles. But he's determined to regain his place as the game's premier forward. "You always have something to prove."

And opposing defenders know their days of domination will dwindle as the season progresses.

"We've heard a couple of people trash-talking him out there, and I'm sure they're going to have to answer for it later in the season," says Paul One.

"We should all struggle so much," says Beetle Boy. "His game is coming around. Every game he's getting better. He's still got the hands and the speed."

"He's still eight times the player I am," says Wendel. "He's still got lots out there, he's still one of the elite players in the league."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:35 PM | Comments (7)

Wink says sorry to Elvis

The notorious game show host gone bad was sad.
After Sunday's doubleheadler, a disappointed Wink said that his teams hadn't done a good enough job of getting the ball to Elvis, one of the sport's preeminent players, in the twinbill. He admitted that he was the most guilty of the parties, too.
Elvis was left to his own devices for much of the game, cycling and cycling at times, and whatever offence he managed to generate came from his own hard work.
"There are few gamebreakers out there, and Elvis is one of them, and we didn't bother to treat him like that," said Wink. "Outside of Elvis, how many guys out there can get 10 goals in a game? Not too damn many. And he barely got the ball playing with us.
"The good news is that we get a chance to play again next week. I hope I'm on his team, because he's getting the ball from me every chance I get."

Posted by at 03:59 PM | Comments (9)

October 21, 2003

Scary roadsters

If reports of Gong Show's comeback prove true, it could set off a newfound battle royale at the road hockey courts. Not for position in front of the crease, nor for a prime seat on the players' bench, but for the game's scariest roadster.

During his brief career more than two seasons ago, Gong Show's scowl could send small children on the neighboring court screaming home in fear. What he lacked in footwork, he more than made up in ferocity.

But with Unabomber unveiling his shaved head shocker on Sunday, he may now be even more frightening than his renowned rapier slapshot.

Just in time for Halloween, roadhockey.net is now giving readers the chance to cast their vote for the scariest roadster. Check the photos and cast your ballot, to the right.

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)

October 19, 2003

Elvis rocks, team rolls

Elvis scored eight goals, including five straight at the end of the game, to lead his side to a dramatic 22-20 overtime win in Sunday Morning Road Hockey's 14th regular season opener.

It was a startling turnaround to a game that had started so gloomily for the power forward and his mates. Down 5-1 and then 10-5 after the first two periods, they may already have been planning for the consolation minigame. But, just as the clouds that had cast a dull pall over the courts through the morning began to lift, so did their play. And their confidence.

"We just started getting the bounces," says Elvis, who's side also had to overcome a couple of early controversial calls on disputed goals. "Everybody tightened up on defense. We did what we had to do."

"We just never gave up," says Billy Idol. "I think when we tied it up at 13, it all kind of snowballed from there."

Playng his usual hard-charging game, Elvis crashed the boards and dominated the corners, creating scoring chances for his linemates, and wearing down his opponents.

"Elvis turned it on," says Billy Idol. "He could pull anyone off the boards and throw it out front. He's just out there and you kind of feed off that."

"He was impressive," says Gump of Elvis' rocking and rolling.

"They wouldn't quit," says Wendel. "They refused to admit defeat and we just ran out of gas a little bit."

And even when their sputtering offense could muster an attack, it ran smack into the dominating denials of Ottoman, who overcame an unimpressive preseason to play one of the strongest games of his goaltending career.

"Ottoman started playing unbelievable," says Elvis. "We all know how deflating it can be to have a couple of soft goals go in, it really takes the wind out of everybody's sails, but he played really well there at the end."

"He made a few big saves there, and that just gave us a bit of hope," says Billy Idol. "When he's playing really well you just kinda pick up your own game."

While the other team folds their tent. For Sunday's losers, their late-game collapse was a bitter welcome to the new season. They blew it, says Wendel. "You think, hey, you've got these guys by the short and curlies, it'll be a sweet and easy one, we've just got to stick together to keep making it happen, and then it doesn't. It was a heartbreaker."

Posted by jaysuburb at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Gong Show returning

Wink, the notorious game show host gone bad, says that his baby brother, Gong Show, will be making a return to the courts in the near future.
"He had some other things going on," said Wink, one of the game's two remaining founding fathers. "I can't really say why my little brother has been away. I can just say that he's excited about coming back."
Gong played a couple of years ago and was known for his booming shot and his clean-cut looks. When asked why Gong is making a comeback, Wink said that it was because he's heard that the Living Legend has been mocking him.
"I don't know where he'd hear that from," Wink said with a wink.

Posted by at 05:32 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2003

Wink may miss opener

Notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, is questionable for Sunday's regular season opener, but that doesn't mean he's retired.

The venerable veteran, whose absence from previous season openers often set off speculation amongst his fellow roadsters and in the road hockey media about his future in the game, says commitments to his exploitative employer may keep him out of the lineup. And, with new responsibilities and a new title, Sunday's game may only the be the first of occasional scratches through the season.

Meanwhile, the Living Legend is expected to return to the courts for his 14th consecutive season opener after he missed last Sunday's final exhibition tuneup to travel to a faraway city. Sunday Morning Road Hockey's oldest active player is also the league's reigning ironman, not having missed a regular season game in four seasons.

Posted by jaysuburb at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

Win for One

Paul One says he's ready for the new road hockey season, now that his injured wrist has passed its first test.

The veteran forward, who smashed his wrist in a dryland training accident shortly after last Spring's Stanley Stick Championship final, admits to some trepidation stepping onto the court for the first time at Sunday's training camp opener.

"I was scared to fall," says One, the league's second-oldest active player. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen on some wrist shots."

Not much, it turned out, as his side lost both scrimmages. But, says One, the score wasn't as important as the soreness of his jumbled joint.

"It was just a total test. It was totally a pre-season game for me to find out where I was at. It's business as usual."

Meanwhile, it won't be business as usual for the final week of training camp, as two other seasoned veterans take a break to prepare for the long, grueling regular campaign, which begins in two weeks. The Living Legend will miss Sunday's scrimmage to travel to a faraway city, and Lobsterboy embarks on his annual month-long scouting hiatus.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2003

Roadsters say new rule rules

A new rule restricting goalies from smothering the evil orange plastic ball outside their crease will be good for the game, says one of the players who will be most affected by the change.

Lobsterboy, who's forged his career on careening into the corners to cover up loose shots and wayward passes, says the proposed rule will make games more exciting.

"It'll make the game faster," says the shelled shotstopper, who got his first taste of the revised regulation in the second scrimmage of Sunday's opening day of training camp. "It'll force the players to really play their position and passing will become key."

In fact, preventing the goalies from forcing stoppages in play by pouncing on loose balls in the corners and along the end boards may even prolong their careers, says Paul One.

"I think in the long run, it actually will help the goalies avoid injury because they're not going to be able to slide out to the corner, and you know somebody's bearing down on them and can't stop."

"I think it'll be good for the goalies," says Wendel, who returned to the courts Sunday for his first regular start in more than two seasons. "They can focus on covering the net, they can't try to be cowboys by scooting off into the corner all the time."

Players will also have to adjust. Defenders will no longer be able to loaf their way back into the zone as the goalie freezes play and forwards will be able to create opportunities by chasing down loose balls against the end boards.

"It'll definitely demand more fitness from the players," says Paul One. "You've got to run back and potentially fight for the ball, or beat an offensive guy who's sprinting towards the ball."

"I think it definitely gives the offense more opportunity to push the defense," says Wendel. "It forces them to make the play, and if they don't, then the offense can get to the ball and create a chance."

And that's pretty much what happened in Sunday's consolation mini-game, as Wendel and his speedy mates were able to pounce on opportunities created by lazy backchecking to battle back from a 9-7 defecit to eke out a 10-9 win. It was their second win of the day, after a 20-10 rout in the opener.

"We were just too stubborn to quit," says Wendel, who scored the winner in the second game. "We just refused to give up, we just kept clawing and we got a break."

"Our guys sucked it up and they played their game," says Lobsterboy. "We just kept hammering and hammering until we got the winning goal."

And while Paul One admits his team may have miscalculated the adjustments they'd have to make to the new rule, he says any change demands a feeling out process.

"I can't remember the last rule change we brought in, and I think we saw today some of the issues that are going to be around it. It could be a real interesting time."

Posted by jaysuburb at 05:39 PM | Comments (12)

October 03, 2003

Pig Farmer Gone?

On the eve of the opening of Sunday Morning training camp, Pig Farming Goalie's season may be over even before it started.

The veteran shotstopper, who's entering his third campaign after leading his team to a Stanley Stick Championship last Spring, injured his left knee when he was caught between two defenders while playing unsanctioned soccer. It was his first game on the pitch after hurting his right knee in another soccer game two weeks earlier.

"Soccer sucks," said Pig Farming Goalie, in a terse statement.

Initial prognosis of the jumbled joint was not good; a snapped ACL, possibly the PCL as well. A further examination earlier today was inconclusive.

"(The doctors) were optimistic, if a little vague," said the agrarian goaltender. "At best, the ACL is mildly sprained; at worst, completely severed, requiring major surgery."

If PFG's season is scuttled to surgery, it puts extra pressure on the aging Lobsterboy, who earlier confirmed his availability for Sunday's exhibition opener, and the inconsistent Ottoman, who will be trying to regain the confidence of his fellow roadsters after struggling in last season's finale.

It also renews the controversy surrounding players' unsanctioned activities. Paul One and the Living Legend are both coming off injuries suffered while cycling, and the Hired Gun, who missed all of last season, is reportedly hobbled.

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)