February 14, 2003

Get Me a Doctor

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Before you read this column, you should know one thing. I’m sick. I have an acute case of Big Red hockey fever, and it’s contagious. I know this because it’s spreading around campus.

The symptoms of this illness are highly unusual. I have an irresistible urge to tell anyone not wearing red that he sucks, or, should he be heavily padded, that he’s a sieve. I have a nasty reaction to anything crimson. And worst of all, I can’t stop talking about it.

There is no known cure for my malady, only temporary relief, which comes in the form of a Cornell hockey game. Sometimes this treatment is available here in Ithaca. Often, it is not.

Today I shall travel many hours to seek this respite from Big Red hockey fever. It can be had tonight in a strange land that they call “Rhode Island,” even though it is not an island. Tomorrow night, again, relief shall come in the form of a game against Harvard (shudder). Until the puck drops, though, I cannot stop talking about the fever.

Bear with me, then, as I present the second installment of my ramblings — the Cornell hockey edition.

Not to take anything away from the Brown game, because the Bears can play with the big boys and the Red did lose to Colgate, but I am really pumped about tomorrow night’s game. The Battle of Boston. The Clash in Cambridge. The Fight at Bright. Oh boy, I’m tingling.

I tried to come up with something negative about the team’s play, and honestly, I’m really having trouble. I know that there’s always room for improvement, but the only bad things I can think of are that the Red hasn’t scored a shorthanded goal this year and we keep letting shutouts slip away in the third period. Not exactly the marks of an awful team.

One of my favorite things about a good Cornell win comes at the end of the game, after the team has saluted the fans. When the crowd chants David LeNeveu’s name and he responds with his stick in the air, and then the fans go wild, I get the warm and fuzzies. Think about it. At the Vermont game, the team had just scored eight goals, and the fans are still giving their props to the goalie, which says to me: These fans know and appreciate good hockey.

There’s a scene in Panic Room where the top of a gas tank explodes off and this huge metal canister is flying around the room unpredictably, while everyone in the room tries to avoid it. I bring this scene up because that’s what Greg Hornby brings to mind when he’s on the ice.

Speaking of Hornby, his fight against Jaime Sifers of Vermont was ridiculous. The kid probably would have received a game DQ also, if Hornby had even given him a chance to throw a punch. I mean, Hornby hit the guy so hard his mouthpiece slid the length of the neutral zone! I wonder what NHL commish Gary Bettman ’74, in attendance at the game, thought of that one.

Junior defenseman Ben Wallace has only scored one goal at home in his career, which is fine, because he’s a solid defensive player. But I really would like to see him get another one in front of the Faithful, if only so that the crowd could chant, “Wallace! Wallace!” a la the end of Braveheart.

As a Flyers fan, I was upset when I saw they drafted Crimson goalie Dov Grumet-Morris this past summer. After all, this is a team that once had Jean-Marc Pelletier ’99 and Kent Manderville ’93 on the roster. How could they pick someone from Harvard? Then I saw the Red score five goals on him this season at Lynah, and I just became disappointed in the Flyers. They drafted a sieve.

$100 for a game-used Cornell jersey is actually a pretty good deal when you think about the fact that an NHL replica jersey can run you nearly two bills. Besides, my Flyers jersey doesn’t have the stitched-up cuts and black marks from sticks and pucks on it. And I think that the red mark on the sleeve might be a Harvard player’s blood. Or it could be paint from the boards.

I’ve been informed by my sources in section D that some people are concluding the cheer for opponents’ penalties with “you lose.” This is far from correct, even if the other team is actually losing. The proper cheer goes, “Ahhh … see ya (pause here, or insert epithet, depending on preference)! You goon!” The word is goon. Not lose. Please resume cheering.

There’s a lot of milestones within reach for Cornell. It’s definitely possible that Stephen B