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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon
< Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store) | Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America) >

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 10/04/2007 22:09:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 14/01/2008 12:52:14

It Starts
It starts

Firstly, let me take you back. The year was 1994. I was about to start high school, and was probably thinking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or playing Altered Beast on our Sega Mega Drive. My older brother brought home a few games for the aforementioned Mega Drive with a pooled resource of our Christmas / birthday money. One of them, I do not remember and obviously didn't have a huge impact on my life. The second was Sonic the Hedgehog II, a game that I was very excited about. I had played it a fair bit of Sonic at the local video game store, and it did take up a fair amount of my time during that year. The third game was seen as a little odd to me, as Gavin was more of a basketball fan back then, and I didn't think much of it at the time. That third game was NHL 94.

NHL 94 Title Screen
Notice how small the Electronic Arts branding is

I thought so

Oops, sorry about that

Lemieux to Jagr and he scores to tie it at one

He beat him like a rented mule, Mario Lemieux with the hat-trick.

Gretzky with three pitiful goals gets the third star

With all said and done, I think that that video game has probably had the most effect on my life, more than any other video game. Before NHL 94 I had never heard much about the sport of ice hockey, and only ice skated once when I was around 8 years old. Once I got sick of Sonic and Mr. Prowler I moved on to the NHL game. Initially I played as a few of the teams, and one of my first "favourites" were the Winnipeg Jets (I will buy their jersey one day) mostly due to Teemu Selanne, a gifted scorer. I never really settled on a team until I re-met an old primary school friend who's dad was a huge Penguins fan. The transition was simple for me, as Pittsburgh was also a team I would often play as, with both Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr lighting it up, almost at will.

From then on, my love for the Pittsburgh Penguins only increased. When my parents installed pay TV I was finally able to watch some of the games in full, and allowed my friends and I to watch Mario Lemieux's first comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 3 am one December morning (it also introduced me to Mat Hoffman and the X Games, which kindled my love of rollerblading). Becoming a savvy interweb user helped a lot, as I was able to track my favourite team instantly and gain a lot of Penguin information quicker than I had previously encountered.

So that's why I like the Pittsburgh Penguins. Belinda, my lovely wife, on the other hand - chose her favourite NHL team (the Colorado Avalanche) because she likes the colour blue, and the Avs (with some blue on their jerseys) had recently won a Stanley Cup.

I provide this background information, so that you can understand why I deeply wished that the mighty Pens would crush my new wife's favourite team in their showdown match. This was the schedule for Day 18.

We might have done something during Day 18 that was non-hockey related. Perhaps we had a nice meal or saw some more of the town of Pittsburgh. I'm not 100% sure however, as I just thought about my last chance to see the Penguins win a regular season game. As always - dot point goodness:

  • I noticed during my research into this fateful game that the Colorado Avalanche had played a game the night before this one. I looked a little deeper and saw that the Avs had only played back-to-back three times prior in this season. The other three times resulted in a loss in the second game. Hesitant confidence was gained!
  • With Marc-Andre Fleury in net with his golden pads of goodness, I was feeling a little more confident about this match. That little nipper is just awesome to watch in goals.
  • I noticed that once the game started, the Penguins were playing with energy that I had yet to see. They were running around and banging bodies - it was looking like the momentum was all theirs. Maxime Talbot (one of my favourites) was one of the main proponent of the physical play, and it was fun to watch
  • Even more fun was watching the Penguins score the first goal of the game - the crowd was electric. I let myself get excited and started thinking about a win.
  • It only took 6 minutes for me to crash down into depression as the Avalanche tied the score at 1. To the Penguins credit, they kept the pressure up and went ahead again with only a minute to go in the 1st period.
  • After the Pens traded a goal a piece in the 2nd frame, I was still a little edgy being only 1 goal ahead to start the third period. My main man (after Crosby, Lemieux, Fleury etc) Max Talbot made me jump from my chair midway through the 3rd period with a well deserved insurance goal to put the Penguins up 4-2. It was great seeing Talbot's tough physical play rewarded with a goal in an important game.
  • Colorado scored another goal to make it 4-3, but the Penguins held on and I saw my first ever Pittsburgh victory. It was sweet!

The dance begins!

They Score
Belinda got to see a few Colorado goals ...

We score more
... but I got to see an extra Pittsburgh goal

We win
We winned!

Now, although the Penguin's record against the Av's was 0-9-1 in the last 10 games (we won 0, lost 9 and tied 1), the new record is 1-0-0 in the last 1 game! To Bell's credit, she did take the loss much better than I would have. Though I do admit I was a little worried about the plane ride home!

This is the 19th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America) Back to Top

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