Dispatches From Planet Hockey: The Ilya, Ilya, Ilya! Edition

by Jas Faulkner, contributing editor

The universe is hyoomangus beeg!
(copyright 2002 Nicktoons Productions)

Terrestrial Date Oh Eight Two Two Twelve, Six-Fourtyone -6 GMT  A couple of years ago, an editor decided we were all going to drop what we were doing and cover the All Star Games. What was supposed to be a weekend of catch up that included the second half of a two-parter on the financial structure that enabled the existence of professional sports in Nashville turned into me waiting for audio and images that never came.

I’m still not sure there was an actual game. The TV was on and friends helped by providing the snark and making sure I was up to my elbows in papier colle’ and paint while the interminable footage of Dustin Byfuglien being asked to rap* and giggling brunette succubi who seemed to extract the intellect from everyone they interviewed played in the background.

My contribution to that series was an expose’ on the true origins of the NHL Elite. “The  Truth About Shea Weber” is a light comic piece that commented on the superhuman feats everyone witnessed at the skills competition.  Most people responded to it with some variation of, “Oh, ha ha! That was cute. Now write something funny about how Pekka Rinne is the short goalie.”

I’d actually forgotten about that piece until I got an instant message from Uncle Lonnie.**

“JAS! JAS! JAS!  HI!  IT’S UNCLE LONNIE!  HOW ARE YOU DOING OUT THERE IN HAMILTON?”

Did you hear that all the way over on your side of the internet?   Me, too.

“Hi Uncle Lonnie!” I typed. “Good to see you online. You might want to tap your Caps Lock button. It’s to your left on the keyboard next to the “A”. All caps on the internet means you’re shouting.”

“I AM SHOUTING. YOU CAN SEE ME? REALLY???!?!?!!!?!?!!11?!? COOL! HOW DO I DO THAT?”

“Just an expression, Uncle Lonnie. So what’s on your mind?”

“I FOUND YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT THAT SHEA WEBER BEING AN ALIEN. IS HE STILL IN HAMILTON?”

Hamilton? Hamilton? Oh…

“Yes. Yes, Uncle Lonnie. The Tigers are keeping Shea.”

“I FOUND ANOTHER ALIEN. HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO THE FLYERS? I MEAN REALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS.”

“Danny Briere?”

“NO. I’LL SEND YOU A LINK”

“Yeah, that’s Ilya Bryzgalov. He’s definitely an original.”

“YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME. KEEP WATCHING”

“Uncle Lonnie, we’ve all seen that. He’s just an enthusiastic guy. To tell you the truth, I like the idea of someone going to a planetarium and getting inspired by the size of the universe. He has a curious mind. It’s actually kind of refreshing.

“JAS. DARLIN, YOU’RE DRINKING THE KOOLAID. KEEP WATCHING.”

“Uncle Lonnie…”

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSING A GAME? I’M NOT TALKING THE FAKE MODEST STUFF, I MEAN REALLY OWNING WHAT HAPPENED?”

“Uncle Lonnie, all goalies are a little crazy. That’s why they’re goalies.”

“CRAZY LIKE A FOX. HE’S PLAYING WITH US.”

“SEE WHAT I MEAN? SEEMS LIKE A NICE GUY, THOUGH.”

So there you have it. Ilya Bryzgalov: goaltender, Philadelphia Flyer, cosmic ponderer, extra-terrestrial.

Until next Monday… END TRANSMISSION

*”Uh, dude? I like country music.” -DB

**He has internet now. This cannot end well…