Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not so rusty after all!

Doesn't this look like a guy who will one day be called Tank?

Woo! My beloved Ruslan Fedotenko scored the game winning goal AND had an assist AND was the second star of tonight's game between the Islanders and Flyers!!

Let me interject that in case you faithful readers (that's you, Pops) are wondering why the heck we don't have game recaps or haven't really talked that intensely about hockey games, it's because we're poor college students who don't want to pay for cable. So unless we can secure the only lounge in our dorm that has a TV, we're pretty much SOL when it comes to watching games. We were thanking our lucky stars that we caught most of the first period tonight before being chased out due to a program in the lounge!

Also, allow me to explain that while Soph and I are primarily Sharks fans, we do enjoy certain players on other teams... hence the interest in the Flyers-Islanders game. As of winter break, Soph fell head-over-heels for the towel-pulling, constantly talking, Elefun playing Marty Biron, while I have long been smitten with NYI's Ruslan Fedotenko. Ever since his first game with the Flyers, actually. I had bronchitis at the time, and in between coughing up a lung and feeling feverish, I managed to sneak a peek at a rosy-cheeked, beaming, totally exuberant call-up on the bench. It was love at first sight. *sigh* I love boys who look like they're about twelve years old, I guess. Seriously, though, Rusty was adorable. SO CUTE. I didn't foresee that one day he'd have the uber-tough nickname of Tank, believe it or not. Happy-go-lucky, super sweet to fans, always ecstatic after scoring a goal but fiesty when provoked... not to mention his lovely Ukrainian accent and ability to say the cutest, most convuluted things in interviews. Plus, he was the underdog when he first came up, which I can't help but love. The year he came up (2000-01), he was overshadowed by highly touted (blah) rookie Justin Williams, who consequently I can't stand. Rusty was undrafted and had been sent down to the ECHL in 1999 before finishing the year in the AHL. He couldn't even play college hockey due to some restrictions because he had an agent when he first came over to North America... at seventeen! I'm sorry but at seventeen, I was worried about stuff like junior prom, not leaving my family to go to a foreign country and play hockey. (I know that such a move is not unusual in the world of sports, but I'm still awestruck by it.) Expectations were not exactly high for Rusty when the Fed Express first rolled into Philly. But after being a last-minute call-up on 10/24/00 (I have an insane memory for dates), he stuck with the team and wound up being their leading rookie scorer. He was sent to Tampa at the end of the next season, which was devastating to then fifteen year old me (I tore up a Justin Williams card in effigy!), but it all worked out in the end. Rusty came back to smoke the Flyers in the '04 playoffs and then score the Cup-winning goal. Simon Gagne may have been my hockey gateway drug, but Rusty was my first hockey husband and continues to be my primary hubby, even after seven years, one Stanley Cup, two new teams, and a few new nicknames.

Anyway, Rusty hasn't been having the most fabulous time since getting his name etched on the Cup, especially not this year with the Islanders. But tonight, he seemed to pull it all together, at least on the scoresheet. Maybe he was just super pissed that my potential Flyers husband Joffrey Lupul scored a goal, so he had to score the game-winner, just to show Lupul up. Riiiiight. That's clearly what happened, duh. OR perhaps some of that old Rusty's fiestyness is back. I'm going to hope it's the latter.

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