This story required Poker Jason's permission. I normally don't write in detail about social events, but this one makes for a good story. Here goes...
Poker Jason calls me around 11:00 AM yesterday, asking if I have plans for the evening. He's just been offered 2 tickets to see the Anaheim Ducks play the San Jose Sharks. Now, I'm not much of a hockey fan. That's an understatement - I couldn't name five active hockey players in the entire league. The last time I went to a game was last century. Jason tells me that the tickets are really good. How good? Directly over center ice, 12 or so rows back. So, it's really a no brainer to go to my once-a-decade hockey game.
As we're driving to the game, our conversation revolves around sports. We're both sports fans - admittedly he's more so than I am. But we're both homers when it comes to our favorite teams. We talk about football and our fantasy teams. We talk about baseball and the acquisitions and trades we hope our teams make in the coming weeks. The drive was our own personal, unpolished version of "PTI". He makes the argument that the Mets could trade Jose Reyes to the Twins for Johan Santana and convinces me how it makes sense financially and competitively to do that AND sign A-Rod. I explain why, despite his papier-mache arm and creaking body, Johnny Damon to the White Sox is a value-add to their current roster.
We briefly shifted our talk to hockey, wondering how many players on the Ducks we could name collectively. I said "Pronger", not able to guess a first name nor know his ethnicity, face, position. (Turns out he's a beast at 6'6" and a defenseman born in Canada). Jason offered up Giguere as the goalie. He even pronounced it correctly. Without looking though, I bet he couldn't come up with a first name even after the game. Jason was also disappointed that they didn't play "Gettin' Jiggy With It" whenever he had a save.
Our macho, guy sports-talk continued until the hockey game started. At which point our masculinity and knowledge came to a screeching halt. Jason so eloquently put it - "I feel like a woman at a sporting event." He meant it in the way that women many times go to sporting events, and either want or pretend to want to learn the rules. But deep down they can't necessarily appreciate the strategy and the subtle nuances of the game. Thus began "Girls Night Out".
We began asking each other real basic questions about the game. Like, "Do they have overtime in hockey or shootouts?". "One guy has a "C" on his jersey. He must be the Captain. What's the "A" on the other jerseys for?" Our guesses ranged from "asshole" to "A-line" to "Enforcer" (Enforcer was my guess because I'm an idiot. Except that Jason's favorite player, Chris Kunitz, had an "A" and was pretty bad ass. It made a little sense at the time.) (I just looked it up - The "A" stands for Alternative Captain. There are 2 per team.)
Our confusion became evident when the crowd would yell and boo and get upset. We'd start guessing why everyone was so upset. Was it a missed call? An offsides? A cheap shot? Jason asked, "What does a hockey coach do during the game?" I responded, "He must change the lines". To which he asked, "Are there specific A, B and C lines? Or are they mix and match?" I had no answer. I had no idea. These things are basic hockey knowledge.
So I asked him the most basic of hockey trivia - "What were the original 8 hockey teams?" See how many you can name. I'll put them at the end. Ok, it's sort of a trick question. Because I just found out that my question was flawed. There were 6 original teams. We came up with about 9 possible answers. We figured New York, Boston, Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal and Buffalo were all viable options. I very badly wanted to ask the beer drinking ladies in the Niedermeyer jerseys in front of us if they knew. But my remaining unshriveled part of my balls couldn't handle them laughing at my ignorance.
Jason requested that I tell this story under one condition. He made a 3 team parlay bet on hockey that night. (In order to win a parlay, you need to win all of the bets.) He bet the under on one game and the over in the Blackhawks/Blues game. Somewhere during the 2nd period, he realized that he was 2 for 2 on those bets, with the Blackhawks scoring late, winning 4-2 and covering the 5.5 point over/under. Which left one remaining bet for the parlay to hit. He needed the Ducks to win this game.
Ideally, the Ducks would win for the fans and for his bet. Even more ideally, they'd win in overtime/shootout so we could figure out which one happened in case of a tie. That's exactly what happened. We learned that, in case of a tie, there's a 5 minute, sudden death overtime. After that, if it's still tied, there's a shootout. I think it's best of 3. It all happened very fast, but the Ducks won the shootout, leaving the home fans content.
To cap off "Girls Night Out", Jason and I exit the arena near where we thought we entered. I gauge that we parked a little more to the left than we exited. So we continue looking and walking left, realizing that our surroundings seems unfamiliar. We continue walking, completely confused with no sense of up or down, north or south. At some point, we figure to eventually recognize "our" parking lot. Maybe 8 minutes later, and 358 of the 360 degrees walked around the arena we finally recognize "Parking Lot 5". Before we drive off, we decide to make a group trip to the bathroom, compare breasts and call it a night. (Just realize that I could've gone with the "inability to drive in a parking lot joke" and let me believe that that's what you women do in there. If you let me slide, I'll let you women slide on the bathroom trips and we'll call it even, ok?)
The original 6 hockey teams: Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, and New York.