From Week 2 by Schnookie:
From the Diary of Jason Arnott
Wednesday, October 20
Today the boys and I were at home to play the Predators. I was feeling a lot better after my gardening accident, and was getting over the thing with the blimp in Phoenix (the training staff thought I’d be out for a bunch of time, but I’ve been through worse. Like that whole bleeding nearly to death thing when I was chopping wood with my hunting knife. Remember that, Diary? Good times…), so I was really excited to finally get to play some hockey! I mean, how can I become the dominant 50-point centre I used to be if I’m not playing regularly? I need to turn my health problems around ninety degrees if I want to help my team. So anyway, I was totally fired up to play the Predators, because I think they might be in our division, but I’m not entirely sure because, seriously, who can keep the divisions straight? But then the strangest thing happened, and I swear, Diary, I don’t think things like this happen to anybody else but me! I was putting on my skates before morning practice, and had my laces all wrapped around my fingers so I could tie my skates on tight, and wouldn’t you know it but the laces got pulled too tight, and the tips of two of my fingers came off. It didn’t hurt, and really, they weren’t bleeding too much, so I just wadded some toilet paper on the stumps (if you can even call fingers missing their tips “stumps”) and went out for practice. I’ve heard someone say once that hindsight is 20/20, and they were probably right, although sometimes I think it might be more like 20/15, but that’s not the point. What I mean to say, Diary, is that maybe I should have considered using band-aids on the wounds, or at least mentioned something to the trainers so they could have taped the toilet paper into place. But I didn’t, and at some point during practice, the toilet paper came off the fresh wounds. As you know, the insides of my gloves are pretty skanky, and sure enough, I got an infection in both fingers. A bad one. It moved pretty quickly, and by game time I was in the hospital with my arm swollen up like, well, a blimp. The doctors say they found the problem in time and were able to fix it up or something all medical like that, and I shouldn’t miss too much action – maybe like, a couple of weeks, but it totally sucked that I couldn’t play. We won the game, 4-2, thanks to the greatest goaltender of all time, Marty Turco, who skated at forward tonight because he’s sooooo good at stick-handling, and who didn’t score any goals, but he could have if he was Mike Modano. That’s how good Turco is.
Friday, October 22
It was a total miracle, but yesterday my arm was, like, completely healthy! A ninety-degree turnaround! So today I was in the lineup to play the Sabres here in Dallas. You want to know something really funny, Diary? There’s a guy who plays for Buffalo, his name is something-or-other Satan (he’s got one of those freaky European names I can’t ever remember) and I had the funniest thought today: what if he played for the Devils? Wouldn’t that be hysterical? Get it? Get it? I actually slipped a couple of disks laughing at that thought, but my back wasn’t bad enough to keep me from starting the game. Tonight our coach, someone-or-other Tippett (man, I wouldn’t know that guy if he kicked me. Actually, I think he may have kicked me last season…), told Marty Turco that he had to play in the net because his goalie stick wasn’t legal for forwards, and the league was really mad that he’d used it in the last game, and Marty got all pissy about it, but he did what Coach asked. Or at least, he spent the whole time that person was singing that song they always sing before the games in the net, but once the puck was dropped, he started skating around the defensive zone like crazy. It was wild, man! He was like a third defenseman back there, but like, for real. He was like a third defenseman who doesn’t know how to play good defense. It was kind of as if we had two Zubovs out there, and one wouldn’t ever go back to the bench. In the end, Turco’s decision cost us a bit, and we lost 127-0 (it was pretty easy for Buffalo to score, considering there wasn’t anyone in front of our goal). His decision also cost me a bit, because on the very first play I went deep into our zone to get the puck (I know, I know, you’re wondering since when do I go deep into the defensive zone, and my only explanation is that I got one of those cramps in the thingie in my head – what is it called? Oh yeah! – my brain.), and I guess I didn’t really expect Marty to be skating around quite so much. I might not go often into the zone, but last I checked, goaltenders were supposed to, you know, tend their goals. Anyway, I was concentrating real hard on the puck (and you know how much work concentrating is for me) and didn’t notice that enormous guy dressed in green and black skating up to me, and I guess he didn’t notice me either, because he also went for the puck and we slammed pretty hard into each other. Somehow during the collision, which didn’t hurt any of the rest of my body, I got my ear kind of stuck in the front of his goalie mask. Before I noticed my ear was there, I started skating away, and long story short: I went to the neutral zone with the puck and my ear stayed in the defensive zone with Marty’s facemask. I felt fine, and wouldn’t even have noticed my ear was gone, but Marty seemed to have a problem with it hanging in his facemask, so he complained to the trainers, and they decided I should go to the hospital and get my ear sewn back on. I guess the good part was that my plus-minus wasn’t messed up from having to play in a game we lost by 127 goals, but the bad part is that I’m going to have to work extra hard after missing all these games to get to 50 points this year.
Sunday, October 24
Tonight we played against the Blackhawks in Chicago, and man, do they have a problem with attendance! There was, like, nobody at the game! I suppose it’s a good thing, then, that I couldn’t play, because it’s soooo hard to do well when there’s no one cheering for you. Like when I played for the Devils and I sucked a lot, it was totally the fans’ fault for not cheering me loud enough. Now, when I say I couldn’t play, it’s not because my arm got infected again, or because my of my ear (which is fine now, but it still has a lot of stitches holding it on, not that I would ever put on one of those ear protector things, because I want to get one of those league bonuses for toughing it out like a man). No, tonight I had a little bit of a problem with about four dozen scallops. You see, Bill Guerin and I went out for a bite to eat before the game, and the restaurant we went to had an all-you-can-eat scallop bar. Billy dared me to eat all the scallops they had out at the bar, which seemed like a billion, but which I later learned was closer to 48. Well, as it turns out, scallops are shellfish. Who knew? All I can say, Diary, is thank God for Epi-Pen. I woke up several hours later in a hospital room and they tell me the Stars won 3-2.