Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Larry Brooks of the New York Post has declared that the New York Rangers' season is over. 

Forty-six games in as of today, with a record of 25-16-5, in second place in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers are dead. 

I'd hate to see what Brooks would write if their record was 16-24-5.

Longtime patients of Vitamin Fred know that, unlike baseball and football, hockey doesn't ring my bell. Nothing against the game; I accept that it's fast-paced and demonstrates great athleticism. For a long time I thought my lack of interest was caused by the fact that, in the handful of times I have been dragged out onto the ice, I spent half the time on my frozen butt and the other half staggering around like a twitterpated alcoholic mastodon with plantar's warts. On skates. 

But no, the real thing that ruined any potential love I might have had for hockey was this:

Yes, Phil & Tony Esposito's Action Hockey game (photo courtesy of the irreplaceable BoardGameGeek).

Action Hockey could make anyone dislike hockey. Phil and Tony must shake their heads and shiver when they remember signing the deal to make this game. They undoubtedly cashed the checks in shame.

Why? Have a look at this ad for the game:

As you can see, the little men are magnetically controlled; to keep the players from bumping into each other, one controls them from the top of the board (through a clear cover) while the other controls them from under the rink.

In other words, one player can never see his own hands while playing. It was a huge disadvantage.

I've seen slot car sets in which one car was always ran slower, regardless of who was driving; in our edition of the Game of Life, if you weren't a doctor or lawyer you were pretty much hosed before the first turn. But I've never seen another game that gave one player such a big fat obstacle before it even started. We all know life isn't fair, but this is ridiculous.

So I can quite clearly blame the Esposito brothers for this. Their Hall of Fame careers may have inspired others to take up the game of hockey, but their hockey board game inspired me to avoid it.

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