Frustrated is not even the word to describe what I have been feeling on the ice since the season began. Sure, the team was undefeated, but as captain, I never felt like I was doing my job to the best of my ability if I wasn’t actually scoring goals. That was my whole game. I was born to score goals. Hell, Chimera had more goals than me and he’s only scored 17 goals in his career for the Capitals. This was not the way I wanted to start out my season. After not having the best goal scoring season last year, I was ready to get back on the horse and prove that I could still be a scoring machine and be an effective captain. The only way to prove that was to score goals.
I was also tiring of the questions on if my mind wasn’t in the game. The questions started to surface when I had to fly home to
during preseason for a
family funeral. I didn’t want to talk
much about it and of course with everything else, if you were mum on something,
the media beat it like a dead horse. Russia
Needless to say, I was looking forward to getting back on the ice Saturday evening against the Sens. The Senators were already playing like the lowly team that have been for the last year and a half, so the consensus in the locker room was that we would have the game in the bag.
“It’s no fun not having Mrs. Carrie Underwood on this team anymore,” Hendicks chirped. “I like busting his balls about that…” he smiled, garnering some laughter from the rest of the locker room.
“Okay, so we know this team sucks, but keep your fucking noses to the grind, Boudreau yelled as he walked into the locker room before the game. “We’re back in our own building tonight and we need to bring it for our fans!”
The whole team yelled in agreement as we lined up to head out onto the ice for warm-ups. As soon as I hit the ice, I immediately began falling into my zone, whizzing by the many faces in the crowd, causing them to be a blur. Every now and then a face would stick out, but I always tried to keep myself from paying much attention. Some of the other guys on the other hand were the exact opposite.
“Hey! It’s Lana!” Carly yelled enthusiastically and began waving at her as he skated by.
I looked over and saw her sitting a few rows off the ice, just left of our bench. She was in a Caps jersey and there was some blonde guy looking strangely at John and then at Mike when he too skated by and acknowledged Lana. Lana just smiled politely and waved as small as possible. I laughed when I saw the redness creep up her neck and into her face. The guy next to her turned to her and looked to be grilling her about what had just happened. She didn’t look thrilled.
I skated up behind Brooks and purposefully bumped into him. “Lana tell me she is not a hockey fan,” I commented.
Brooks turned to me and I motioned with my head over to where she was sitting. A smile crossed his face and he chuckled. “Yeah, she told us guys the same thing last night. But she had also told me that she was going to be at the game against her will after I mentioned to her about giving her tickets to the game tonight if she wanted to come.”
“You asked her to the game?” I asked, slightly surprised because I knew Brooks was involved with some girl in his hometown. I heard a small voice in my head scolding me for not asking her myself. It would have been a nice gesture after ruining her Friday night.
“Yeah, she said her two roommates are huge fans and she reminds me of one of my best girlfriends at home. It’s kind of nice meeting that occasional girl who seems to have no ulterior motives, ya know?”
Yeah, I totally knew what he was talking about. Well, in some ways. I only had a few close girlfriends but all of them were Russian or had a Russian background. In fact, one of them was Alyonka Larinov who stopped by last night. She was in town doing something for the NHL and decided to crash the party, which of course I was happy about. It was hard for us to hang out in public without everyone questioning if we were together and even when we denied it, there were still the nay-sayers. Again, the attention sometimes got old, but of course I enjoyed playing the media games.
“Who is the girl everyone seems to be waving to?” Semin asked, plopping down next to me in the locker room right before we went back out for the start of the 1st period. He hadn’t been at the get together last night due to not feeling 100%.
“That is Lana. I hired her to make the desserts for the party last night. Brooks and Mike took me into her shop the other week and I fell in love with her pastries. I won’t tell my Grammy, but I’m fairly sure Lana bakes better sweets than her…” I divulged in my native tongue.
Sam looked at me and furrowed his brow. “I thought Lana was the blonde girl you were drooling over the other week at the bakery?”
I laughed and shook my head. “A slight mix-up.”
“Ah. So is Lana Russian? If she’s such a good baker, you better marry her,” he joked.
“Nyet. You should hear the southern accent she has,” I laughed.
“Nothing wrong with some southern loving…”
I shook my head and laughed again. “I don’t think she’s the type. She’s seems more along the lines of a good southern girl.”
“Then you should definitely marry her,” he winked, even though he knew my views on only marrying someone from our homeland. However, he was dating Gracie, who was actually American and seemed to be very happy with her. Little did he or anyone else know, the first thing I thought of when I saw her tonight was the pink polka-dot panties and the daisy tattoo on the small of her back.
I knew it was coming as soon as John Carlson waved at me. I could see Garrett’s eyes getting bigger with each player acknowledging my presences. I could also tell the other people around me were suddenly interested in who I was too. This was quickly turning into a nightmare I certainly didn’t want to be in. I was out of my comfort zone. “Why are all the guys waving to you?” Garrett asked, turning in his seat towards me.
I shrugged my shoulders and tried to do the fluff off act. “They’re just all being polite, I guess.”
“I know that Brooks comes into your coffee shop, but you didn’t tell me the whole team did!” I cringed when I heard his voice begin to pinch into a higher octave at his excitement.
“Well, I met a bunch of them last night…”
“I thought you were working on some big order for last night?”
“I was,” I said shortly, feeling a little on the defense. I wasn’t too thrilled with the accusatory tone in his voice. After all, this was our first date. And soon to be our last. Ugh.
“I’m thinking you’re leaving out some key pieces here, Lana…”
I turned to him and whispered loud enough so only he could here me. “I got a call from some guy named Alex. Little did I know, he is supposedly the captain of the Caps and was having a team get-together at his house? I got there with the desserts a little later than I planned and ended up having to go in and deliver the stuff with everyone being there. So through kind of knowing Brooks and kind of knowing Mike, I ended up meeting a few of the other guys and playing cards with them.”
“Which Alex? There are two on the team,” Garrett said, squirming around his in seat. Oh my god, he’s the male version of the two fan girls living in my house. How did I get myself into this?! When I just looked at him blankly, he pulled out the program book and turned to the page that showed the head shot of each player. “Is it him?” he asked, pointing to some guy I had never seen before with a last name that I could have sworn said Semen.
“Is that a porn name?!” I giggled and shook my head back and forth for my answer.
“It’s Semin. Not See-men,” Garrett laughed and rolled his eyes. “How about him?”
This time he pointed to the Alex I had met last night, the one whose blue eyes seemed to be piercing through me just in the picture. His hair was disheveled, exactly as it had been last night but his facial hair was a little thicker in the picture. “Yes, him.”
“That’s Alexander Ovechkin, Lana. You’re LW on The Dixie Pixies? Ovie is one of the greatest players in the game right now,” he said in a tone that made me believe that he was beginning to think I had no brain. Not a very nice tone for someone to use with a girl who you are on a date with. Just because I was clueless when it came to hockey, did not mean I was dumb.
“Oh,” I said quietly, turning back to face the rink where the guys were skating by, heading back to the bench and back, to what I could only assume, to their locker rooms. Alex, Ovie, as Garrett called him, skated past and looked at me through his darkened shield. A shiver instantly went through my body and I only hoped for sanity sake it was because of the chill of the arena. I didn’t need to be crushing on some Russian sports star when I couldn’t even date a supposed average American school teacher.
The game was practically a stalemate. All three goals, two from us, one from
, were all scored in
the first period. Hell, no one even had
a penalty in the third period. Once
again I was held off the score sheet. It
was getting old. The only thing that
saved the night was that we won and bumped up our win streak to four
games. We saluted the fans and when we
skated back to the bench, I looked over and found Lana smiling broadly and
waving to some of the guys as they passed by.
With no more game to worry about, I too decided to go skating by
her. When I did I punched the glass and
shot her date an intimidating glare before winking at her. She instantly blushed, garnering the response
I was hoping to get. I wasn’t into her
that way, but it didn’t mean I didn’t want every woman to love me. Ottawa
“You have a thing for the southern bell,” Sasha punched me as soon as we began walking down the hall towards the locker room.
“I saw you out there before you went to the bench…”
“Ah, I was just trying to see if I could get her to blush,” I winked at him.
“Well, she did. She’s totally different from anything else you have ever gone after,” he observed.
“Exactly why I will not be going after her,” I insisted.
“Exactly why you will go after her as soon as one of the other guys make a move,” he said smoothly.
“You have no faith in my words, friend?”
“Not this time,” he smiled back.
I didn’t want to stare at him the whole game. The whole point of me going to the game was to get a new perspective on the sport my roommates were forever trying to get me to love. However, that was a lost cause when all I could do was sit there and critique everything about Alex. However, nowhere in my critique of him did I think he was an amazing hockey player. In fact, I was fairly sure I would never be able to tell the difference between a bench warmer and the MVP of the league. Instead my critique had everything to do with how Alex looked out on the ice. Instantly it annoyed me to realize he seemed to make himself look different from everyone else on the team, as if he was trying to draw attention to himself. For instance, he was the only player on the ice with bright yellow laces on his skates. Then there was his jersey that always seemed to be tucked in behind the pads on his back. The strings of his pants were definitely longer than how everyone else was wearing them and his tinted visor also added to my irritation.
For supposedly being one of the top players in the NHL, his skating seemed very awkward compared to a lot of the other guys on the team. He did not look as fluid, yet I did note he was very fast.
I was lost in a whole other planet of concentration by the time the 2nd intermission came around. Garrett had to say my names a couple times before I would look over at him.
“You sure are quiet sitting there. Are you okay? You seem to be zoned out or something.”
I looked over at him and smiled shyly, biting my lip in the process. “I’m sorry, I am just taking it all in I guess.”
He raised his eyebrows and nodded before turning back towards the red-head that was sitting in the seat in front of him. If I hadn’t been so wrapped up in watching Alex, I probably would have been pissed considering Garrett was flirting with the girl since somewhere in the middle of the first period.
At the end of the game Garrett asked me what my plans were for the rest of the night. When I said I didn’t know he informed me that he was planning on staying in the area to hit up some of the bars so that if I could find my own way home it would make more sense. I was actually slightly surprised by his forwardness when it came to “dumping” me but personally, it didn’t bother me in the least when I took another minute to think about it. We obviously had nothing in common and the date was a disaster to say the least.
I told him thank-you and at that we began walking opposite directions in the concourse that looked like a red sea of people. It’s like a god-damn cult!
Suddenly I found myself from being proposed to a couple times the night before by rich hockey players to having to find my way home after being ditched by the hockey fanatic version of Zach Morris. What a roller-coaster weekend this has turned out to be?!