What it was lacking for in realism it at least made up for in entertainment
Other than pro wrestling, nothing is left in the world of live sporting events.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, which may explain why my editor Peter Lozinski gave me a rather interesting assignment.
“You know that Twitch stream the Moose Jaw Warriors did where they played against the Prince Albert Raiders,” our fearless leader said to me on Monday afternoon. “How about you do a column recapping it?”
Well to be fair, it was better than my 12-part series lamenting the fact that curling events will eventually become eight-end games after the next Olympic cycle, but that’s another story for another day.
Like several hockey teams at the moment, the Warriors set up an online stream of their recent home contest on Saturday night for the game that was scheduled to be the finale of their season series with the Raiders.
Upon booting up the replay, I noticed that skill level was set at semi-pro, which seemed ill-advised since all the periods were set for 20 minutes.
My assumptions were soon realized when Cade Hayes undressed Nolan Allan a minute into the game, with Eric Pearce making a bonzo-gonzo no-look pass to Michael Horon seconds later.
Then we had the lines, which should have been my first clue that things had gone totally awry.
For starters, Zack Hayes and Kaiden Guhle did not make their first on-ice appearance until the seven minute mark of the opening frame, though Hayes made up for lost time by absolutely demolishing Warriors rookie forward Eric Allarie.
Meanwhile, Aliaksei Protas and Spencer Moe were on the third line, while the fourth line consisted of Brayden Watts, Ozzy Wiesblatt and Daniil Stepanov.
That meant that Ilya Usau was a healthy scratch, which also probably means that virtual Marc Habscheid had gone mad with power.
So the first period was kind of normal, even though it was a 5-2 score for the Warriors, as both teams had pretty good chances and the pace of play was fairly decent.
However, the shots were 43-17 in favour of the Warriors, so that seemed a bit off.
Things dramatically improved in the second period though.
No, not in the realism of the game or the fortunes of the Raiders, but we had a celebrity cameo in the broadcast booth as Snoop Dogg joined James Cybulski and Ray Ferraro.
Now, I haven’t really played a NHL game in a couple of years. Most of the sports games I play are hardcore management simulators, like Baseball Mogul or Football Manager.
Safe to say that Snoop Dogg wasn’t what I was expecting, which made me long for the glory days of NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis.
I might ask Editor Peter if I can report on that next week at this rate.
Anyways, back to the game, where Max Paddock had been pulled for Carter Serhyenko after the Warriors jumped out to a 7-3 lead.
Things were looking good for the hosts at this point, as Jagger Firkus was making a claim that he should have gotten exceptional status over Shane Wright and Matthew Savoie with a three-goal and two-assist performance through 40 minutes to give the Warriors a 15-9 cushion.
At the other end of the ice, Boston Bilous was standing on his head yet again, which is actually what Raiders fans saw in real life at the Art Hauser Centre a few weeks ago.
So that’s something that can be viewed as fairly realistic, except for the fact that he made 42 saves during the middle stanza.
At this point, I needed a break, especially after I just witnessed virtual Jeremy Masella trip over his own net during a power play.
As such, check back in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this affair.
I’ll be off to watch old curling broadcasts from the 1990s on YouTube in the meantime.