October 21, 2010

Mason Among League Leaders in Drinks-on-Goal

I hang out with some degenerate gamblers. I don't really gamble that much. (I plead the fifth when it comes to the state of my degeneracy.) On Wednesday night I hung out at Nationwide with three of my degenerate gambler friends to watch the Blue Jackets take on the Anaheim Ducks.

To protect their identities, I will refer to my friends as Larry, Curly and Mo. Larry emailed me on Tuesday and offered to take me to the game. Larry's seats are on the glass in section 121. Sometimes degeneracy has its privileges.

Toward the end of the first period, Mo leans over to me and Larry with a proposition. "Curly and I would like to propose some friendly wagers," he whispered loud enough for everyone within two rows to hear. The word friendly is a code word that means things are about to get very unfriendly if you don't start paying attention. 

Plenty of empty seats near the glass in 102. This is not a good thing.
"These will be team wagers," Mo explained. "Me and Curly vs. you and Larry. We'll have three wagers each for the second and third periods. The first wager will be over/under on total shots of both teams for each period. The second wager will be odd/even on total goals scored in each period. The third wager will be over/under on drinks-on-goal."

"What the hell is drinks on goal?" I asked. "Don't forget, I'm driving tonight."

"Drinks on goal," Mo explained, "is the total number of times the goalie in our end goes to the water bottle that sits on top of the net." I looked over at Larry and he gave the nod. Game on. We agreed that drinks-on-goal did not include the water bottle at the bench, only the one located on top of the net. Also, and most importantly, the team making the pick (over or under) had to call attention to each instance of the goalie taking a drink as it happened for it to be counted. No replays on the big screen and no second hand accounts from the dude sitting to your right.

We agreed that Mo and Curly would set the over/under lines on total shots and drinks-on-goal for the second period, meaning Larry and I would have to make the over/under call, and vice-versa for the third period. We also agreed that each side had the option of offering the other team a bonus bet during the game.

But if it means I get to sit here every now and again, it's not completely a bad thing.
Larry and I lost total shots and the odd/even in the second period, but we nailed drinks-on-goal. Curly and Mo set the line at 4 and we took over. As it turns out, 4 is really low. The Ducks Jonas Hiller wasn't particularly thirsty, but he hit the bottle for the fifth time with well over 5 minutes to go in the period.

Prior to the third period, Larry and I huddled and came up with some very shrewd lines. We set the total shots line at 19. Curly and Mo took the over. We set the over/under line on Mason's drinks-on-goal at 7. They took the over. And they took even on total goals.

Larry and I were looking really good on total shots and drinks-on-goal for most of the period. We were helped immensely by Curly and Mo's inattentiveness. Two times Mason hit the bottle while Curly and Mo were busy staring at the Pepsi Power Patrol girls as they scraped the ice. A third time Stinger came down to the glass just a few feet to our right and started banging on his drum. Curly and Mo ate this up. At that same time, much to their obliviousness, Mason was drinking up just a few feet to their left. Larry and I were laughing so hard we were trying not to throw up.
To spice things up a bit, Larry and I threw out a bonus over/under on total attendance. We set the line at 10,000. Curly and Mo took the over. Sadly, we ended up winning that one. To counter that, Curly and Mo offered the following bonus bet: they would wager that either Nash, Vermette or Huselius would score the next CBJ goal (if any) and we would get the field. We accepted.

Hey, look over there guys! It's Stinger!
Things didn't get real interesting until the last two minutes of the game. The shots were parked at 13, total goals were odd and, thanks to Curly and Mo's short attention span, drinks-on-goal was sitting comfortably at 4 (but should have been 7 or 8). We were looking at a sweep. And then mayhem ensued.

The final minute and a half saw several stoppages. Each time Mason went to the bottle like a wino. Drinks-on-goal hit 7, which would be a push if it stopped there. Shots crept up to 17 as the Ducks pulled Hiller and brought on the sixth attacker. Then with the clock ticking down, Nash feathered a shot into an empty net, winning total goals and the bonus bet for Curly and Mo. The cannon fired. The crowd roared. And Mason went to the bottle. With 28 freaking seconds left in the game and a two goal lead. If you count the times he drank up at the bench during timeouts, he probably hit 15. The dude is a drink-a-holic. Duly noted.

Nash's shot was the 18th of the period. Thankfully, there were no more in the final half minute. So after all that, it was a draw. Curly and Mo won four wagers and Larry and I won four wagers. 

If me and my degenerate gambler friends ever see Mason out and about, I might have to buy him a drink. Or I might not.

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