Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Killing Time with Rich Kincaide

I'm at the library waiting for my daughter's tennis practice to end so I thought I'd spend a moment catching you up on my interesting life...

It takes me 20-25 minutes to put on all of my hockey gear. You get undressed, put on the long underwear that goes under the uniform, then the cup (a very, very important piece of equipment), the hockey pants, the skates, then the pads, then the chest protector, then the jersey and then the helmet. Then you grab your blocker, your trapper (or catch glove) and your stick and you are ready to go.

I could have saved myself the time and the effort today. I'm not saying I was horseshit in all departments on the ice this afternoon, but I'm pretty sure I could have gone out there stark raving naked except for my skates and come away from the skate with nary a bruise. This is not good when one is a goaltender and his main purpose -- his only purpose, is to get in the way of the puck.

But, I did not and do not care. I had a bad day. It happens. Besides, it was just a 3-3 skate -- practice mostly, and besides, I'm still reveling in last Friday's 3-1 victory; the greatest win of my career. Or the most meaningful, at least. I didn't think I'd win again I thought my career was over after a medical thing had kept me off the ice since last spring. As I wrote about previously, my doctor has been supervising my on-ice activities since November and I have to tell you, if you'd seen me on the ice those first couple of sessions, you'd have thought I'd never won again either. But I played really well last week and I beat the other guy and it made all the hard work worth it. I know it's just a bunch of middle-aged guys (office workers, cops and firefighters in the main) out there and the world will little note nor long remember, but I will never forget. Other than the night I turned 50 and went out and won a game against a group of guys who were almost all half my age, that win meant more to me than any other. So I skate on...

I promise to stop boring you with my hockey stories now. Except when something interesting happens.

If you missed last week's Frontline on PBS, go and see it. It will blow you away. It was about the Wall Street crash and if you want to know what happened and why we are in the mess we are in today, see it!

Gotta run. The library is closing. I'm checking out The Kennedy Tapes about the Cuban Missle Crises. I love history. Hope you are all well and we'll check in again soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Around the League with Rich Kincaide

  • We’ll start in our daughter’s high school Civics class where last week the teacher played for the edification of her captive audience a video of one Bill O’Reilly, prompting my young one to exclaim, “Oh, look.  It’s the Big Giant Head!”  (I love her so.  My daughter, not the teacher).  The teacher demanded, “What did you say?”  “It’s Bill Orally,” she explained.  “That’s what Keith Olberman calls him.  “Well,” said the teacher, “I wouldn’t watch him.  He’s biased.”  It is, I know, to laugh.  For those of you concerned about the future of the Nation and about the quality of contemporary education at the secondary level, there is this:  In the same class during a recent “open-book exam” (how is it an exam if you can just look it up, anyway?) some kid asked my kid for help.  The question was, how many Justices sit on the U.S. Supreme Court?  Not wanting to just flat out give up the answer, my daughter suggested he eliminate the obviously wrong choices in the multiple-choice set of answers.  He said, and I quote, “I know it’s not 32, because that’s an even number.”  Ta and da.

  • I suspect many of you think I did not write about last week’s hockey game just because I happened to give up 10 measly goals.  This is not the case.  I will bore you with the gory details whether I give up a dozen or none, so have no fear.  The thing of it is, I didn’t think I played that bad.  Now, I’ve been around professional hockey at the highest levels for virtually my entire professional life, so I know for a fact that there is an industry-specific term which covers this exact mindset -- the feeling that things are going okay when the scoreboard clearly indicates that they are not -- and it is denial.  In my defense, I must point that didn’t have any in front of me.  Defense, that is.  At least of a discernable nature,  Most of the goals resulted from plays in which the offense managed to isolate two players down low in front of the goal without a defenseman between them and the goalie (in this case, me).  This is known as a two-on-oh situation, if you want me to employ more industry-specific jargon. My skill set does not result in my making many saves when the cross-crease pass means I have to cover the six-foot goalpost-to-goalpost distance quickly enough to stop a one-timer from a yard in front of the goal line or a deflection or any of that stuff.  I only gave up one goal that I thought was a bad one and that was because my skates were newly-sharpened and one of them caught as I was trying to butterfly (splaying one leg or both as far out along the ice as they can reach) causing my leg to remain somewhat upright as the puck slid beneath it and into the net causing me to do what I almost always do when I give up a goal I thought I should have had, unload half-a-dozen f-bombs in quick succession.  And there is this:  after the 10th goal, the goalies switched ends meaning I was now playing for the team which had scored all those goals against me and after the change I won 4-1.  So I knew it wasn’t totally my fault.

  • I’m back out there again tomorrow.  I will spend part of my morning and all of the drive to the rink visualizing myself playing well: good stance, low and square to the shooter; aggressive, coming out to play my angles; stick on the ice, stick on the ice, stick on the ice, goddammit get your stick on the ice (it’s a bit a fundamental thing, if you haven’t noticed); and play confident!  All of this visualization stands in stark contrast to the prep I put in on the other day in play which is Tuesday.  On Tuesday’s I just try not to think about it.  On Tuesday’s we have fewer skaters and I’m the only goalie and we play half-ice.  That means the puck never goes down to the other end and, as a result, I never get a rest.  It’s a real test of my endurance and all I know as I’m getting dressed to play is that it is going to hurt.  A lot.  But I survived so far and after all is said and done it’s good for more.  Nothing, in fact, has done more for my mental acuity (such as it is) and my emotional well-being (such as it is) as playing hockey again.  I won’t go on a treadmill for five minutes to save my life, but I will give the last full measure of my devotion to try and keep a puck out of net in a game in which the final score means nothing.  And for the record, I played the best I’ve played since coming back out there last Tuesday.  I made a lot of saves and, for stretches at least, felt pretty close to my old self.

  • I just thought of this.  Here’s a story for young reporters which they can make of what they will.  After a loss one night I asked Red Wings goalie Greg Millen what he thought of his performance.  The next day after practice he threw his helmet at me.  I mean, he flung it.  Hard.  I had to duck.  He screamed, “Don’t ever ask me what I thought of my performance!”  I was flabbergasted inasmuch as I thought it to be a perfectly legitimate question.  So, I still don’t quite know what to make of it, just that it’s something to keep in mind.

  • I gotta write a quick note about finding out somebody de-friended me on MySpace and I’ll get to that in good time but right now it’s time to get to bed.  Big game tomorrow, right?  Gotta get my rest…

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On the Radio with Rich Kincaide

There will be a rare opportunity to hear Rich Kincaide on the radio tomorrow (Feb. 13).

I will be on WPON AM 1460 at 10:00am Eastern.

For those of you not in metro Detroit, you can stream it here:


I will be a guest on Ron Cameron's show. Ron will spend the hour trying to get me to say bad things about people in this business have have worked with and for in the past and I will spend the hour steering the conversation back to things people acutally care about, like, for example, me.

It should be huge fun for all involved!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On the Ice With Rich Kincaide

I've been reading. A lot. I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've polished off something like twenty books in the last couple of months and that's why I haven't been posting. It gets to be this time of night and I head upstairs and open whatever it is I'm reading at the time.
I've learned many things and will discuss some of them with you in more detail in the future. But, as an example of what I've learned, did you know Journal of the Plague Year is the name of an (apparently) famous book and not just the title of the David von Ebers outstanding blog? It's true. I learned that from a book called Wartime that I found out about from reading somebody else's blog post.
Right now I'm reading The Guns of August and I'm reading that because according to Theodore Sorenson -- the speech writer and aide to President Kennedy whose 1965 book Kennedy I'm still slogging through -- JFK told the top memebers of his staff to read it.
Kennedy must have been some kind of smart. This is quite a hard read but it's excellent. It's about World War I. The best part so far (and we are only at the start of the War, about 170 pages into a 550-page book) involves how Turkey would have been a nuetral country in the war had they simply not allowed a German warship to enter their waters once the war began, or had the British not failed in their efforts to sink the ship prior to its arrival in those Turkish waters. On the day the Royal Navy could have sunk the German ship, Britian's ultimatum to Germany -- get out of Belgium or we will go to war with you -- didn't expire until midnight and it was only 10p when the Brits could have attacked. By midnight the Germans had disappeared in the fog. The acceptance by the Turks of that German warship was viewed by the Allies as an Act of War, bringing the first World War to the Middle East. Absent Turkey's acceptance of the German ship, there's no Gallipoli (no Mel Gibson?), no British campaign in Palestine, and the whole history of the Middle East is changed.
As I said, interesting.
But as for the title of this post, we are pleased to report that we are back on the ice. (We would be more pleased if we weren't as sore as we find ourselves right now after having skated earlier today, but still...).
I'd been out of action since last spring. Around Thanksgiving my doctory said to me (and I quote), "You're too fucking fat."
I told him that meant I'd have to start playing hockey again and he told me I'd have a heart attack if I did. So, he invited me to join him on the ice on Tuesday mornings. At least that way he'd be able to perform CPR or call 911 or something. We'd be out there, just the two of us, and he'd do his best to kill me. He'd have a couple dozen pucks and would line them up and begin blazing away. We'd do it a couple of times and I'd have to go off for a rest. Then I'd come back on and he'd do it again. And then I'd rest again. And then we'd do it again. We'd get done and I'd be too tired to pull my jersey off for twenty minutes. And I'd think, "For a guy who thinks I'm going ot have a heart attack he sure is kicking my ass!"
After a month of this, I called some guys I used to play with and told them I was ready to attempt a comeback and they invited me out. I warned them that I might have to come off the ice a time or two to catch my breath but they said that was okay and so I showed up and hit the ice again. It was easy. I couldn't believe it. I was working much, much harder in my sessions with the doctor than I was in a 90-minute skate with these guys.
Today was my third time out in "competition", if that's what you can call a drop-in skate. I don't don't know what it is about me, but while I can't bring myself to ride a treadmill for 5 minutes, put me in a game where the final score doesn't mean a damn thing and I will give the last full measure of my devotion to keep the puck out of the net. I was better today than I was last week, and last week I was better than I'd been the week before.
I'm coming back. I still have a little way to go, though. I had a 3-1 lead last Friday and spent the last twenty minutes looking like the hockey version of a cat hacking up a hairball in a 5-4 loss. I thought I had the short side covered. I didn't. I thought the shooter was in so close he couldn't go high on me when I went down. He wasn't. I thought the 5-hole was closed. Nope.
But today, a reminder of why I play. I made a pretty good save going to my right but the rebound went to my left to the top of the crease, just out of my reach. The shooter had it on his forehand and he must have had 75% of a wide-open net wide at which to shoot. I knew he was going to score. He knew he was going to score. The whole rink knew he was going to score. But still, you never, ever, give up on a play. I twisted and lunged to my left and stuck my glove out as far as I could stick and, wouldn't you know, there was the sweet sensation of the puck hitting the webbing. A glove save and a beauty. The best save I've made in a year. Enough to bring me back.
So, we'll see you soon out there between the boards in front of the net and right here on the 'net.

Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I'll address the reason I've not been posting in a future post. For now, here's an item I posted on my "Facebook" page a few days ago. Many of you have seen it, but perhaps some have not. I am fine and I will be back with you soon. Very soon. And know that all of you have been in my thoughts...

#1. I love everything about everybody. All the time.

#2. I bullshit a lot.

#3. I find the hardest thing about being a Christian is the ability to remember at least 3 jokes that don't involve sex for use during church-related socil occasions.

#4. I love my wife, especially the way she looks when she is about to fall asleep.

#5. The best thing about having a small child is that they will believe anything you tell them. When she was little, I once told my daughter that airplanes had feet, much like ducks, which they used to land and it took her over four years to learn the truth. Boy was she steamed, too. "Why would you do that?", she asked.

#6. I love my daughter more than anything and no matter how mad she gets I can make her laugh. I rue the day when I can't pull that off anymore because I'll tell you, it's a useful tool to have in the bag.

#7. Every time I use one of the glasses she gave us as a wedding present almost 15 years ago (and that's every day, just about) I think of the lovely Lori Capper. What a great gal!

#8. I can't believe I'm only one-third of the way through with this list. God. What do you people want to know?

#9. I have known several of my friends for over 35 years and they are my best friends.

#10. I have serveral friends who I have never met but, due to the internets, they are among my best friends, too. You know who you are.

#11. I like Barack Obama better as president that I did as a candidate, and I liked him a lot as a candidate.

#12. I like being a native of Detroit and I don't care what anybody who is not from here thinks of Detroit.

#13. I have a famous sister. If you saw the movie "The Color Purple" you have heard her play her French Horn.

#14. I got my name on the front page of USA Today once for asking a bitchy (yet fair, I think) question of Greg Norman at the PGA Championship in Toledo. Sports Illustrated called me "a brass-tongued commentator" over the same incident and while I'm not sure what they meant by that, I thank them.

#15. I am proud to be the president of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. It means a lot to me to have my peers show me that degree of respect. I think though that I would still rather be a sportscaster in Detroit. It's sort of like losing your medical license and being named president of the American Medical Association.

#16. I try never to show it, but rare are the times I don't think I'm the smartest guy in the room. Especially at press conferences. I swear if I hear another reporter ask, "What do you think the turning point was?", I'm going to beat them to death with my microphone.

#17. I have been fired 8 times in my career. Only once for attempting to beat another reporter to death with my microphone, however. But 8 times? I'd hate to think what the number might be if I were a jerk or something.

#18. My sister and I got stuck at Tiger Stadium the day the riots started in Detroit back in 1967 and were somewhat lucky to escape with our young lives. It's still the scariest thing I've ever experienced.

#19. I saw Nolan Ryan pitch a no-hitter in person. Got in for free, too. I was in high school and I drove down by myself and while I was outside looking to purchase a single (Who's got one?) some guy gave me a Box Seat. I asked how much he wanted for it and he said, "Just take it." Cool.

#20. I once played goal in front of 6,000 people. It was a charity game and over half the 1980 US Olympic hockey team was there. I made a beauty (read: "lucky") glove save on a Mike Eruzione (the guy who scored the goal that beat the Russiians) blast from the circle to my right and the crowd roared. It took a moment or two before it dawned on me: "Uh, by the way, Rich, they are cheering because of that save you just made!" You should have seen the look on Eruzione's face. He was pissed. What? I'm supposed to let you score? Note: If you are trying to beat me, don't try going glove side high. I'm weak in so many areas, but that isn't one of them.

#21. The best book ever written by someone other than myself is "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton.

#22. The best book every written by me is "The Gods of Olympia Stadium". Check it out at amazon.com and contact me for information about how you can get a personalized copy to call your own.

#23. The best movie ever is "Slapshot" and "Animal House" (tie).

#24. If you want to make me laugh, fire up some Monty Python, Firesign Theatre or Sam Kinneson.

#25. I do not have any idea how to "tag" people on Facebook.