Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is our season getting poke checked?

When I first started watching hockey on television and I heard an announcer say "poke check," I would've sworn he said "pope check." Now, of course that doesn't make any sense. Why would the Pope be at a hockey game? Why would anyone be checking him? OR . . . maybe we, as the audience, were supposed to pray suddenly and (assuming one was Catholic) therefore check around for the Pope? I don't know. . . but it sounded like Pope check to me.

Of course now I know better. I know that the announcer really said "poke check," as in poke, as in to poke. As in to poke away. I still giggle when they say it and find myself shouting it out at live games randomly. . . "Poke check!!" defines poke check this way: A check in ice hockey in which a defender uses the blade of the stick to push the puck off the stick of an opponent. And at they provide step by step instructions on How to Do a Poke Check.

  1. Skate near your opponent who has the puck. A poke check is done by a player who is trying to steal the puck from another one; so you'll need to be within a stick's reach from the puck.

  2. Wait for the player with the puck to make a small mistake. All you need is for the player to push the puck out a little too far in front of him or to fail to guard the puck for one second.

  3. Use the blade of your hockey stick to poke the puck away from your opponent. A poke check should be a simple jabbing motion at the puck, not a swipe.

  4. Skate hard after the puck as soon as you've poked it away from your opponent. Remember speed is key here because your opponent will be trying to get the puck back just as quickly as you are trying to get it safely away.

Reading these instructions . . . I ask you Jackets faithful: Is our season getting poke checked from us? Everyone is staying close to us, trying to steal it all away from us. They are waiting for us to make tiny mistakes and then capitalizing on them (and no...this is not exactly rocket science strategy here, but it works). "Fail to guard the puck for one second . . ." that line just has the Anaheim game of last Saturday written all over it. We let them score first and they moved on to step #3 - they used a "simple jabbing motion." Calgary did this last night as well. They saw we were not giving 150% and they jabbed and chipped and kept at it. And that is really all it takes. Earlier this season, I would have said a persistent kicking motion would be the end of my sanity but now I think it may be the jabbing of a poke check!

My biggest fear right now is that more and more games and teams are going to follow through with step #4. They are going to knock the puck away, skate like mad away with it, and we are going to be left in the dust. I am still holding hope. I have NOT given up. I STILL believe!! But is it possible the Jackets are already in step #4 and are now chasing after the puck to get it back? If so, then we as fans need to continue to cheer, continue to rock the Arena, and continue to . . . (awww come on, you knew this was coming right?) check for the Pope!!! Because we need all the help we can get!!

Carry the Flag!!

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