It’s impossible to hold a discussion of the FIAHL’s greatest coaches without including AM Lumber’s current, Hunter DeLauretis. In the young franchise’s first five seasons, DeLauretis has lead AM Lumber to two Le Coupe de Iron’s, and one Unity Cup. While DeLauretis and the rest of his coaching staff are far from cementing themselves a spot in the FIAHL Hall of Fame, DeLauretis has not faltered in his persistence of such a coveted spot in history. Instances of his brilliance have never been as apparent as what occurred on the night of June 25, 2017.
That night, with only nine minutes left in the game, AM Lumber found themselves behind on the scoreboard. After entering the final period with a 4-2 lead, the team had, naturally, chosen to relinquish its hold on victory. As the final minutes approached, any flicker of hope had seemed to be snuffed out. Nothing was working for the young team. Harney’s interactions with the puck looked like when you take two positive magnets and try to put them together, Pellegrino’s speeches held about as much weight as a feather in outer space, and all Bufis could think about was the “new” kegerator that he had found at the team’s last weekly dumpster-dive. With the leadership crumbling all around him, DeLauretis was seconds away from removing himself from the bench. “It was upsetting, to say the least”, DeLauretis told us after the game, “I push these guys way too hard in practice for them to be giving up like that when the game is on the line. We only allowed [the Chiefs] to score six goals on us that period, and our guys were ready to give up? Not in my Cabin”.
Yet DeLauretis knew leaving matters in the hands of his captains would have resulted in the team’s folding before the final buzzer had sounded. He needed to take action, but what could he do? “Everyone sucked, so, so badly that night. I had to check my calendar to make sure that it wasn’t April Fool’s Day or something, it looked that much like they were playing a prank on me. I looked to anything I could think of for a solution, my notes, the rest of my staff, the hot girls in Section 11, Row 8, Seats 1 through 4, nothing worked. And then I looked at Austin. Quite frankly I had forgotten we signed him for this season. I’m so used to him blowing his contract money on questionable activities in far off countries. It was kind of shocking to see him there, warming the end of the bench. ‘He’s the best player in the league’, I thought, ‘that’s gotta mean something’. So I threw him out there to see what would happen, and whaddya know? He scored like a point per minute for the rest of the game, and we won. We actually won…”.
History is made every day in the FIAHL. Players put their blood, sweat, tears and beers into the game every time they take the ice. Yet it’s the coaches who rarely get the recognition they deserve. DeLauretis’ call to throw the league’s most effective player into the fray in the game’s dying minutes may have been unprecedented, but this momentary stroke of genius may have been just what AM Lumber needed to turn this season, and the franchise, back around. DeLauretis concluded the press conference that night by saying he can’t have been the first coach to put his best player on the ice when the game was on the line, right? There’s no way he’s the first coach to ever do that…
In related news, Albrecht has been sent to work on his conditioning with the Boston Bostonians, in Amherst, MA for an undisclosed period of time.
The End of an Era?
Long drives, cold nights, listening to his cover band in the car on an 8 track tape player he won at an eBay auction. These are just a few of the things Uncle Steve has had to endure over a long, illustrious, 2-goal career with AM Lumber. Throughout his tenure with the club, his tumultuous playing style has polarized fans and teammates alike. Seasoned supporters nearly rioted when he scored twice in one game last season at The Cabin, knowing that history was being created before their eyes. “Uncle Steve” Lumber uniforms flooded the lower concourse every time he took the ice for warmups. The US Supreme Court decision affirming that his "Right to Free Speech" covered his liberal usage of profane language, directed toward a group of orphans at the team's last fundraiser, caused a dip in the volume of orphan support for the Lumberjacks.
Uncle Steve has donned the Lumber uniform 11 times, scoring twice and assisting his teammates on five other goals. For all the scummy things he's done on the ice, he's only been caught once. Uncle Steve has established himself as a veteran force in the Iron League over his 4 seasons with the team, essentially writing the book on leadership. Now, everyone wants to see how he writes his final chapters. It's no secret that Uncle Steve hasn't been around as much this season. We’re not sure if he's been fighting with management, or if one day he’ll head out for a pack of smokes and never come back. But he told us he’d be there tonight for the championships, and we’ll believe it when we see it.
Tonight, the question may be answered: “Will Uncle Steve retire if Lumber wins the Cup?” Rumors are circulating that a new room has been built in the AM Lumber management office, and a leaked photo posted on LiveLeak shows an order form and packing slip for a new stripper pole, delivered to an “Uncle S.”
If you think about it, hoisting the cup would be a great way for such a storied career to come to a close.
Puck drop for Game 2 of the series is tonight at 7:30pm. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a complimentary 8-track tape, consisting of songs covered by Uncle Steve’s band. They have to take it, whether they want it or not.
Lumber Starts Season Undefeated, Time for an Update
We've reached another milestone this season: the 41.6% completion mark, and it's time for a Lumberjack update.
AM Lumber has yet to find a team to lose to. Despite calling up players like Venezia and Lasinski, and giving them more ice time than they deserve, the Lumberjacks have still found ways to chop their opponents down. Here are some quick stats to learn for the next time someone starts talking about your FIAHL Champions on the street, in jail, or at the bar:
-The Lumberjack offense averages 8 goals per game, which puts them on pace to score over 100 goals before the playoffs begin.
-Harney is midway through the final year of his contract, and thus has decided to increase his value. Over 4 games, he's allowed 7 goals into the back of his net. For this, some credit the stellar defensive capabilities of Chris Melchione and Justin Hrusovsky. Recent trends however have shown Harney let up an increasing amount of goals per game. This should actually serve AM Lumber staff well. If Harney plays well enough for the team to win, but poorly enough that the staff can tell him he's worth way less than he really is, the team can sign him to a lower-paying contract. Recently traded d-man Joe Rega even leaked in an interview that he was receiving a $25 bonus each time he allowed someone to score on Harney, at times when he was playing well.
-AM Lumber has water bottles now, and the added hydration has enabled the boys to actually consider spending energy on backchecking.
-DeLauretis has finally added passing to his drills in practice, and only spends 55 minutes an hour working on breakaways with his center, Alex Rudolph. As a result, look to see five or six more passes completed per game by the Lumberjacks.
-Press conferences have been moved from Wednesdays at 4:30am to Wednesdays at noon. The hope is to make sure that players, reporters and staff stop sleeping through media days. Most recently, Captain R. Pellegrino was behind the mic. "Move over Campi, you may have a sick beard, but your captain's coming for that scoring title," Pellegrino told FIAHL News. "Make sure Coach sees that quote too. I'd tell him myself, but guys who lead the league don't actually need to go to practice". Pellegrino later apologized for his behavior, and made a point of telling fans that "yes, all players are required to actually go to practice if they want to play, regardless of how many more points they have scored than Rudolph".
Game 6 of the season is set to take place on Wednesday, October 19th, vs. the Flying Dutchmen. Puck drop is earlier than usual; 10:30pm. The first 300 fans to have their tickets scanned will receive a t-shirt with Coach DeLauretis' face on the front of it.
AM Lumber to Hold Tryouts
This Monday morning, AM Lumber will hold a 6 hour tryout event at The Cabin. The skate is open to any Lumberjack fans who think they have what it takes to put on the black and plaid for the upcoming season. Prospective players are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, as AM Lumber drinks only liquor while at hockey-related events. Below is the itinerary for Monday's tryouts:
6:00am - Arrive at The Cabin. Be sure to bring your registration slip, and a smile.
6:45am - Phase One: Newly signed forward Alex Rudolph will lead the players in an off-ice stretch / warm-up session, followed by a 6.5 mile run through the woods. Players who are able to catch Rudolph at any point during the run will move on to Phase Two of the tryout.
8:00am - Phase Two: The AM Lumber Physical Fitness Test is rigorous. Administered monthly for every player in the organization, it is designed to weed out those who don't have the physical and mental strength to be Lumberjacks. Players will be tested in the following categories:
- Pull-Ups: Each player is required to complete a pull-up - in its full range of motion - for it to be counted. At the top of each rep, a player must funnel a beer. At the bottom, players must straight-arm hang and take three to eleven punches to the abdomen from veteran defenseman Chris Melchione.
- Core Strength: Each player is given a hockey stick with a skate tied to the end of it. He is assigned to a tree and required to slash at it until the tree is cut down. Studies have shown that this test appropriately displays a player's ability to slash opponents in the faceoff circle.
- Squats: Players must then take the tree they have felled, place it on their shoulders, complete a full squat, and return to the starting position to complete a repetition. A minimum of 25 repetitions is required for each player to advance.
9:30am - Phase Three: Players will take the ice and participate in drills run by select members of AM Lumber's offensive and defensive cores. Those who wish to play offense will join Nick D'Aniello in a stick-breaking drill. Alex Rudolph will facilitate a backchecking drill, Mark Schwanda will show players how to kick the puck up to their sticks, and Chris Jones will work on a corner battle / fighting exercise. On the defensive end, Captain Rob Pellegrino will see how efficient players are at turning the puck over to the other team. Justin Hrusovsky will assess how intimidating players look in their equipment, and Joe Rega will try to come up with a drill that he can run before he is inevitably traded before the start of the season.
11:00am - Players will spend the remaining hour of the tryout guessing how many assists Alex Rudolph has had in his career as a Lumberjack, and how many the league has purposely not given him. Those who guess the closest are given the chance to attend training camp that afternoon.
Players who are selected to join the team must remain at The Cabin for a pregame workout, as game one of the season is at 10:30pm.
DISCLAIMER: the $25,000 tryout fee is non-refundable. Players are not eligible to keep the jersey or socks that they are required to bring from home for their tryout.
Best of luck, and GO LUMBERJACKS!
Balsamo Claimed off Waivers
They say that whenever one door closes, another opens. For Joe Balsamo, his recent placement on waivers by the AM Lumber staff has opened a door for him elsewhere. After parts of three consecutive seasons, both parties felt that it was time for Balsamo to appear on a roster that wasn’t AM Lumber's. He only had to call 35 teams across 8 leagues in order to find himself a new home, on the Nashville Predators.
The aim was to clear up cap space, enabling management to continue tempting call-up Alex Rudolph with a contract that he will probably never sign.
Midway through last season, Balsamo formally requested a trade. Through the trade deadline, and all of the offseason, he remained on the AM Lumber protected list. Finally, it seems that AM Lumber has given up hopes of finding a suitable replacement for the accomplished forward, and has released him to the NHL. “We wish him the best, and are excited to see him evolve as a player in the National Hockey League. The slower pace should help him develop his skillset, and become the player we always thought he could be”, said DeLauretis, Head Coach of AM Lumber.
Over three seasons as a Lumberjack, Balsamo notched 13 goals and seven assists, for 20 points in 19 games. He left the organization sitting at 5th on the PIMs chart, with 14. FIAHL News reports he is currently negotiating an 8 year contract with the Predators, while playing for their minor league affiliate, the Virginia Beach Towels of the Southern Far Away Minor League.
AM Lumber Still Not Signing Rudolph
For the third time in his humbling career, forward Alex Rudolph has annoyed Coach DeLauretis enough to be gifted another tryout opportunity. Managing a goal and assist after being recalled from the Florida Swamp Coconuts of the Southern Far Away Minor League (SFAML), he only mildly disappointed his fans, friends and family on Thursday night.
Clearly determined to make his third PTO be conclude with an FIAHL contract, Rudolph has been spotted spending hours before and after every AM Lumber practice waxing his skate laces.
FIAHL News reports that Coach DeLauretis may choose to extend Rudolph’s PTO through to the end of the season, before conveniently realizing that the team’s salary cap space has already been filled.
For P. Pellegrino, Mexico is Only a Snipeshow Away
“Sauce me some puck, and I’ll go bar-Mexico on this tendy”. For the remainder of the first intermission, the bench was quiet. Tied 4-4 after the opening period, AM Lumber knew the next 30 minutes would be as defensive a the first 15 were. The team's nervous and underperforming captain could be seen darting his head frantically around the bench, seemingly looking for anything of value to say, but failing to find what he so desperately wanted. The Lumberjacks’ nerves were further amplified when it became apparent that Coach DeLauretis was too angry to even yell at his team - one which had only earned a single victory so far this season. When all seemed lost, it was then that veteran forward Pat Pellegrino broke the silence. He knew what he had to do if he wanted his boys to take this game: score a big goal. He just needed the opportunity.
The road to success is created, not found, and P. Pellegrino knew he would need to swing the biggest axe in the second period if he wanted his boys to make space for a road of their own. He was certain that the night was his, but it wasn’t his alone. There was glory to be shared by all. Hrusovsky sparked something in the team with a big fight to start the period after an early Flying Dutchmen goal. Ensuring his teammate didn’t bleed for nothing, P. Pellegrino chose to strike.
For him, any pass would have been sufficient. It matters not that Schwanda fed him one that was literally too slow to clock, or that it was both too far in front and too far behind P. Pellegrino at the same time. In fact, the worst pass ever recorded in hockey history proved to be nothing at all when sized up to P. Pellegrino’s wall of determination. All it took was a simple wind up, the patience of a saint, and 5 decades of acquired skills to do what P. Pellegrino said he would do: go bar-Mexico when his team needed it most.
The goal wouldn’t prove to be the game winner, not even close. But without the veteran presence of P. Pellegrino, Thursday night’s game would’ve been lost early. The “P. Pellegrino Guarantee” may have etched its way into the history books, but it it’s something that AM Lumber fans will not soon forget. One can only hope that the rest of the team will continue to learn as they bask in the glory that is P. Pellegrino’s team-carrying abilities.
AM Lumber Has Chance to Win First FIAHL Cup at The Cabin
Puck drop is just hours away, and Lumberjack fans couldn't be more pumped up for their first-ever championship game at The Cabin. After a stunning 8-2 victory at Game 1 in Hitman City, the whole town is buzzing with excitement. Fans greeted the team as they landed at Lumberville International Airport yesterday morning, wearing plaid shirts and sneaking woodcutting axes past security to show their support. Everyone seems ready for Game 2.
FIAHL News has your projected lineup for AM Lumber tonight:
Offense: Venezia is expected to center the first line tonight, after recording 5 points (3G, 2A) in Game 1 on Sunday night. Balsamo, who assisted the game-winning goal in Hitman City, will play left wing. Collucci will be to Venezia's right. He had 4 points (2G, 2 A) on Sunday, and is expected to continue his production at The Cabin. Rudolph will attempt to win faceoffs on AM Lumber's second line tonight, a move Coach DeLauretis has been heavily debating since Rudolph's poor performance in Hitman City. Rudolph spoke in a post-game press conference that night, saying "Honestly, the fans just got to me [Sunday night]. The Hitmen are a hard-hitting team, and I really felt the pressure while trying to play in front of a hostile crowd like that. Returning home for the rest of the series should make things a little easier. I know the fans and the team in Lumberville don't really want me to put on an AM Lumber uniform either, but at least I can lay in my own bed when I cry myself to sleep, thinking about all the assists I should have gotten that night". Siecke, a healthy scratch on Sunday, is expected to don the black, red and white for the first time this postseason. DeLauretis hopes the rookie forward's fresh legs can give AM Lumber the energy it needs to close out the series tonight. Lasinski is listed as "questionable". He left today's pregame skate due to illness, and has spent the remainder of the day drinking beer with team doctors, as they decide whether or not to clear him for action.
Defense: Team captain Pellegrino will likely return to defense this evening after a brief stint on offense in Game 1. FIAHL News reports that he, Melchione, and Schwanda will run a 3-man system to stop the Hitmen offensive push.
In net: Harney, after taking Sunday evening off due to a nagging liver injury, gets the nod for Game 2. He's certainly got something to prove after the successful call-up of netminder Chris Marsillo in Hitman City. Expect him to bring his best game tonight, or don't expect him to even be on the roster tomorrow.
An AM Lumber Update
Boasting a record of 5-1, AM Lumber have found themselves securely in first place in the Iron League standings, 60% of the way through the regular season. Here's what's been going on in Lumberville recently:
Coaching - The team is 3-0 after firing it's invisible coach and hiring long-time fan Hunter DeLauretis. His intense practices and borerline abusive coaching style has the players thrusting harder than ever on the ice, eager to score every time they see a chance open up. FIAHL News reports however that Hunter has yet to see a single cent of the $36.82/game (plus $2/win) that was included in his coaching contract, and that he may have to begin benching players like Harney to send a message to the team.
Roster Moves - Captain Rob Pellegrino is being sent on a conditioning stint in Italy for the next 10 days, as a result of him not scoring a single point last game. He'll be skating with the AM Lumber affiliated Roamin' Romans, who play out of Florence, Italy. When questioned on being sent overseas, Pellegrino showed professionalism, focusing on getting back into shape so he could return to playing home games for AM Lumber at The Cabin.
Fun Fact: Pellegrino will likely dress when the Romans play against the Venetian Venezia's, a team owned by AM Lumber forward Matt Venezia.
Roster Moves - Alex Rudolph is a snake. Because of his trickery, AM Lumber almost accidentally released the young forward from his Professional Try Out (PTO), the wrong way. After scoring 2 points (1g, 1a) in a 5-1 victory over the Chachis, Rudy made a joke in the locker room that, for a brief second, made it seem like he actually belonged on the team. It took a moment for veterans Rob Pellegrino and Mike Harney to realize what he was trying to pull off, and they promptly shut it down. "Yeah, we almost made a huge mistake there, letting Rudy off the PTO, and onto our roster" said forward Kyle Lasinski. "The kid's only got 13 points in 5 games so far this year. We can't afford to start throwing money at guys that do absolutely nothing, in any concievable way, to help the team."
Roster Moves - Reports are coming in that Balsamo will probably not be signing a new contract with AM Lumber next season. Balsamo told reporters in a post-game interview: "I've been in talks with the team, and we're all working to not let it affect our play on the ice. No one is letting what could be a stressful decision affect our chemistry out there, except for Rudy. But he's not on the team anyway. Ultimately, I have a dream that I've wanted to pursue for a long time, and I think it's turning into a 'now or never' type situation. I'm concerned with the lack of Middle Eastern country music stars that have been final contestants on The Voice, and that needs to change. So after this season, I'm probably going to move to Nashville, make a guitar out of a cigar box, and start playing on the streets until I get signed to that inevitable $60M contract all musicians get. I've had a wonderful time playing at The Cabin, and the people of Lumberville have been so good to me - they always give me a ride home after they flip my car whenever they riot, win or lose. For now, let's focus on winning the Presidents Trophy, and out first ever FIAHL Cup. Lets go AM Lumber."
Injuries - Forward Nick D'Aniello is listed as day-to-day with torn ligaments in his elbow, after trying to put a hole in the opposing net with his body. D-man Mark Schwanda is also day-to-day after breaking his finger in an accident that he will only say "happened at home, it's a private matter".
Stay tuned for more updates as the season progresses. Next AM Lumber home game is Thursday, March 17, vs the Jolly Rodgers. First 25,000 fans in attendance will recieve a bag of Jolly Ranchers to throw at the Jolly Rodgers during the game. Puck drop is at 10:30pm.
AM Lumber Brings DeLauretis Into Coaching Staff
The members of AM Lumber have pooled their money, and hired long time fan Hunter DeLauretis as head coach / GM / music guy / photographer / statistician / scout / ticket vendor / apparel designer / assistant coach / equipment manager / head of security / intern / team bus driver / team pilot / goaltending coach for the remainder of the Winter 2016 Season. FIAHL News reports that, through the team pool, he will be receiving $36.82 per game, with an additional $2 bonus for each AM Lumber win the rest of the way.
"I've been coming to AM Lumber games since I was a kid, and until this winter, I seriously thought they lost every game on purpose each season", said DeLauretis. "It wasn't 'til they won a game by accident that I realized they just sucked. So I snuck through security, hopped on the bench, and next thing you know, the team's 3-1, and in first place on a technicality. You couldn't ask for a better Cinderella story than that".
"Hunter is a great motivator," captain Rob Pellegrino had to say about his newly appointed coach, "last game I had a real bad turnover, and I was pissed off coming to the bench. I saw Hunter laughing at me, and I realized my whole life is just a joke to other people. It really took the stress off my shoulders and got me ready to go play again". Team not-captain Alex Rudolph has expressed excitement, but also acknowledged that there may be a learning curve associated with playing for a new coach. "This is the first time I'm playing for [a coach] that is utterly, significantly, astoundingly better at ice hockey than I am, and certainly more knowledgeable about the sport. There may be some head-butting, but I'll have to keep my cool and learn everything I can from him along the way".
DeLauretis may just be the catalyst AM Lumber has been looking for in the team's quest for its first ever FIAHL Cup. Only time will tell if the surging AM Lumber will last into the playoffs.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Bill McTeigue
Two games into AM Lumber's stellar eighteen goal season, fans of the young hockey team could not be happier. Game attendance is at an all time high, averaging an unruly 3 to 4 fans per game. Unfortunately for the organization, the increased exposure has drawn attention to matters that team management has surely tried to cover up. At the forefront of these matters, one question has riddled fans the most: "Where is Bill McTeigue?"
Harney Loses 70lbs, Something Else
Its been quite the year so far for team co-captain Mike Harney. In the short time since the ball dropped on midnight, Harney's balls have dropped, and he's lost 70lbs. But that isn't all so far this offeason. He lost his car keys the other morning, and had to walk to his spin class. He would have taken the bus, but he lost the ticket to that as well. Knowing full well the risks associated with hanging out with the wrong crowd, Harney temoporarily lost a best friend, when Hornak was kicked off the team for pending drug charges. He lost his first 45lbs when he decided that he didn't need to wear all of the clothes he owns at the same time, just to prove that he isn't as poor as Rob Pellegrino. Another 20lbs were shed when Harney lost his big toe in a stickhandling accident in his garage, and the final 5lbs were from hard work and a strict diet. All of these accomplishments however melt away when compared to the fact that Harney lost his virginity on New Years Eve. What's even more impressive is that neither Hrusovsky nor Pellegrino - the teammates accompanying him that night - had any idea it was going on.
"Apparently it happened when we were all at Havana's," Pellegrino told FIAHL News. "We were all dancing, and I do remember a ten second period of time where I couldn't find Harney. But when I did, I had no clue that he had lost it in that time frame. His mom is gonna be pretty upset when she finds out I let him do that while she was away, but I'll probably just blame it on Hrusovsky. Apparently he's thinking of leaving the team for a few months next season anyway...".
Harney could not be reached for questioning at the time this article was written. FIAHL News called him on a restricted line at 2:35am. It is assumed that he was still in the garage, searching for his big toe.
Hornak Tests Positive for Testosterone, HGH, and Estrogen Use
In a bizzare turn of events, AM Lumber veteran forward Brian Hornak has been found guilty by the FIAHL of abusing performance enhancing drugs this past season. Testing revealed that he was taking Testosterone, HGH, and high levels of Estrogen while dressing in 11 regular season games for AM Lumber. Traces of raccoon tranquilizer, polio vaccine, and cranberry pills were also found in samples taken from his blood and urine. League commissioner Bill Auld has yet to release an official statement, but FIAHL News has reported that Hornak will likely face a 2 year suspension, effective immediately. He will not be allowed to pay the team any money during that time, or practice at any official team skates. This is the first time anyone on AM Lumber has tested positively for illegal drug use since the team's inception, 3 seasons ago.
"Honestly, it's so surreal to think that he tested positively," said forward Nick Monticchio. "He's a really smart dude, so if anyone deserved to get a positive result from all that testing, it was definitely him. I hope that I can find success like this for myself one day. Now, more than ever, I see AM Lumber as the best place for me to receive a positive result during testing in the future".
Hornak has recently purchased a home in Coconut Creek, Florida in order to be closer to his teammate and training partner, Alex Rudolph, during the offseason. Most likely, it is there that Hornak will serve his 2 year suspension, laying out under the sun, running on the beach, and drinking tequila, in order to detox from the copious amounts of Testosterone, HGH, and Estrogen currently coursing through his long, veiny, veins.
A Day in the Life: Matt Venezia
When playing with AM Lumber, Matt Venezia is well known for his grit, stamina, flexibility and powerful thrusts into defensive holes, seemingly scoring at will. However there are times, off the ice, where Venezia is soft as ever. FIAHL News recently followed Matt home after a workout one night in order to follow him the next day. Unbeknownst to him, they highlighted the more memorable behind-the-scenes aspects of Venezia's life. Here is his daily regimen during the offseason.
5:30am: Matt likes to wake up at this time, because no one is awake yet, and watch adult videos on his iPhone. It's easier for him to manage his subscriptions and forums in the offseason, so that becomes his full-time gig when AM Lumber isn't too busy losing.
5:31am: Matt partakes in his post-"Matt Time" nap.
10:00am: Matt is up early today, ready to take on the world. His mom has already laid out a hearty breakfast of Lucky Charms and French Toast Sticks for him. He'll need the energy for the vigorous workouts he puts himself through to get in shape for next season.
11:35am: Time for his big leg workout of the day. His xbox controller died during his thumb workout the night before, and the extra batteries are downstairs. He'll have to do one set each of going down the stairs, and then back up again, totaling 32 steps.
1:45pm: The day is half over, and we can see that Matt is visibly pleased with his progress so far. Legs done, he only has upper body left to worry about before he works on skills. Since he already worked out his forearms early this morning, the only thing left is curls. Matt likes to take two beers, one in each hand, and curl them to his lips until he's too drunk or tired to press on.
2:30pm: To work on his stickhandling, Matt sweeps the kitchen floor for his mom.
4:00pm: It's almost time for bed, but Matt has a few things left to complete. He finishes his evening wokouts with a round of shots from his father's liquor cabinet; the goal to begin next season with some hair on his chest is ever-present in his mind.
5:00pm: It's finally time for young Matthew to hit the sack, and then head to his bed. His younger brother tucks him in, and then reads him his favorite bedtime story: "Rumpleforeskin".
This concludes the FIAHL original special: "A Day in the Life: Matt Venezia".
AM Lumber is Raging Recently
AM Lumber has been been on a surge recently, plowing through just about everything in the way this month. We're not sure if it's the extra sleep, or those fancy new pills the guys have been popping, but to say the boys haven't been raging would be a lie.
In the last 4 games, AM Lumber has gone 3-0-1, after opening the season 0-4. Wins over the Buzzards (6-0), Chachis (9-4), and Hitmen (8-6), and a SO loss to the Chachis (2-1) have given them 7 out of a possible 8 points in the standings recently.
In just a few hours, they face off against the ever-existent Buzzards, who have yet to miss a game against AM Lumber this season. The teams have each beaten the other once, but AM Lumber's win came without recent signing Alex Rudolph. He's projected to be in the lineup tonight, so we'll see what happens this time.
Tonight is mailman appreciation night. To honor the service of your local mailman, we ask that you bring a copy of your house key to the game, along with a schedule of when your mom is home. Puck drop is at 10:15pm.
AM Lumber / Chachi Comparison
The long anticipated match-up between your AM Lumber and the Chachis has finally arrived, and tomorrow night, the two teams will go head to (other) head. Here are a few factors that just might help you determine who will probably not lose the game:
Scoring: The Chachis beat their AM Lumber counterparts 4 times last game to take the win, but enough about them. Balsamo - the AM Lumber team point leader - scored the lone goal for his team, continuing his faction's dominance over parts of Northeastern Syria and Western Iraq, as well as the scoring title so far this season. At this time, Balsamo has 6 points in 4 games, and is on track to end the season with an earth-shattering 18 points. His biggest threat to securing the scoring title will come from recent addition Alex Rudolph, who has assisted every goal that has ever happened, ever, in the history of the sport of ice hockey. That kind of consistency should really pressure Balsamo to keep his production going.
Defense: The AM Lumber defense is hot right now. Hrusovsky is sick, Parano is an animal, and no one can even touch Bacigalupo, partially because he logs all of his ice time in the penalty box. Look for another shut-down game from the AM Lumber defense following their last win over the Buzzards, 6-0. The Chachis have guys that line up defensively during faceoffs as well.
Coaching: Who are the Chachis? Do they even have a coach? AM Lumber has a coach, and his name is PAT Pellegrino. A former FIAHL veteran himself, PAT brings the tenacity needed to keep this team throbbing in the early hours of each game.
Puck drop is at 10:30pm tomorrow night. Every fan in attendance will receive a free axe.
Pellegrino to Donate Fraudulent Equipment
Heartbroken by the loss of his favorite cat,"Tiger", the AM Lumber defenseman has felt a need to spread love throughout his community, or at the very least, his team. "To embody his tenacious spirit, and undying devotion to not dying, even though he should have croaked years ago, I want to honor Tiger by giving away sticks that I have stolen from various proshops and companies. Initially, my target recipients were going to be those who live in impoverished areas, but I have since realized that my teammates need them even more. [Nick] D'Aniello's broken 4 of them this season; one over the crossbar, two on the bench, and one in the locker room. How can I expect to be a good team leader, if I'm giving away my sticks to poor kids, when my teammate keeps unintentionally breaking all of his off the ice?"
Pellegrino confirmed that for every goal he scores that puts him ahead of Balsamo, he will donate 1 full stick and 2 broken ones to the Nick D'Aniello Stress Relief Fund. If you would like to donate, get a job at CCM or Bauer and process Pellegrino's fake receipts.
AM Lumber Won't Go Down After Previous Beatings
AM Lumber has finally risen, and man, it feels good. Though you may not believe it, the amount of time for AM Lumber to get their first win only spanned five games. Despite near immediate success this early in the season, there are a few other highlights, and players, that have made themselves large to help the team.
1. D-man Nick Bacigalupo remembered how to get to the rink on Monday night. Given his history of missing the exit on 202 and accidentally driving to Eerie, PA while on his way to play, the boys were riddled with joyous confusion when they saw their neglective teammate walk into the room 6 minutes before they took the ice.
2. New uni's are on the way. Sort of. FIAHL News sources confirmed Tuesday evening that they saw jerseys being shipped from Minnesota, en route to being stitched in PA. There's a good chance that AM Lumber jerseys may be giving the men's league a wake-up surprise at some point before the first half of the season is over.
3. Rookie call-up Tyler Leivonen recorded his first shut out in the team's 6-0 defeat of the Buzzards Monday night. While some have argued that this an improvement over his 10 GAA the game prior, others have noted that his biggest positive change this week has been his impressive ability to slash opponents in the crease. AM Lumber goalie coaches have confirmed that they are spending at least 20 minutes each off-ice training practice chopping wood with Levonen, working on strengthening his slashing muscles and all around effectiveness.
4. D-man Rob Pellegrino scored on his boss 3 times, and is that much closer to making sure AM Lumber forward Joey Balsamo is unable to earn the team scoring title this season.
AM Lumber are set to play a huge rivalry game against the Chachis on Wednesday night. Puck drops at 10:30pm. Fans should remember to wear their favorite color of plaid. Due to the league's recent crackdown on gang-related attendance at games, however, there is a reminder that they may not wear yellow plaid into the building.
More Like AM Losers...
In front of a sellout crowd, AM Lumber found themslves fall below .500 for the first time in their history. As Blood Sweat and Beers, they thought they could win it all, as the NARBs, they thought their girthy prowess would be enough to outstretch their opponents, and the newly formed AM Lumber team thought it could last until the evening. Unfortunately for these hardened warriors, not even the toughest AM Lumber found Buzzards appealing enough to keep on stroking. The idea of "look good feel good play good" was something Lumber took onto the ice with them at the start, and as the game went on, the boys felt something alright, but it wasn't good.
The first period ended with the score tied 1-1. Balsamo impressed Lumberjack fans with his play last night, scoring his first goal in 46 seasons, just three minutes into the game. Worried that he would look like a try-hard, Balsamo promptly spent the rest of the opening period turning the puck over to the Buzzards. Twice, he attempted to pass to the opposing goalie, but Balsamo, who is physically and mentally unable to comprehend tape-to-tape passing, instead slid the puck past the target and into the back of the Buzzards' net.
As usual, the boys went up, and spent the rest of the game finding ways to lose. The final score was 7-5, and AM Lumber sucks. Also, Harney got ejected, suspended, and un-suspended in the same night.
NARBs Add Diversity With Call-Up of Srivastav
After spending 3 years playing overseas for NARB affiliate the New Dehli Dickwhackers, veteran forward Apurva "Squishy" Srivastav will grace Flemington Ice Arena with his presence for the first time this season. The NARBs have issued a number of call-ups in the last few weeks, in an admirable yet pathetic attempt to try and become a halfway decent hockey team before their inevitable first-round playoff exit later this week.
"Even though the NARBs suck, and I'm skipping a great shot of winning a championship for New Dehli, and the pay is probably worse here, and the NARBs haven't had more than 3 fans per game since they became an organization, it will still be pretty sweet to see my old friends again. I mean the only lifting they probably do these days is whatever is the cheapest beer they can get into their mouths, and I'm pretty sure I've shot more pucks since the start of this interview than Rudolph has in his entire life, but we should gel pretty well on the first line together, especially if he keeps winning all those faceoffs. How's Balsamo doing by the way? I haven't checked his offensive stats, mostly cause he doesn't have any... Has he learned to skate backwards yet?"
Squishy is projected by Iron Leage News to be playing wing on the NARBs' first line tomorrow night against the Hawks. Puck drops at 7:30pm.
Prospect Burke Receives Call-Up
Longtime Bomber goaltender Josh Burke received a call last night that he will never forget. "I was sitting in my basement, and it was real late at night", he started, "I had just turned on the HBO channel, and was getting ready to watch those shows that only come on that time of night. With one hand on the remote and the other on my - ah nevermind im getting off topic. I'm just so excited. It has long been a goal of mine to play for the NARBS, to receive this call is huge for both me and my family".
P. Pellegrino Placed on IR
Team heartthrob and all around juggernaut Pat Pellegrino has been placed on the long term Injured reserve list, according to NARB captain Steve "Pottymouth" Parano. On May 15th, P. Pellegrino extended his NARB farther than usual as he made an exciting turnover play during the first ever NARB – Chachi matchup. The noise emanating from the Chachi superfan section was deafening as they cheered, feeling the weight of P. Pellegrino's NARB lift off their shoulders. Only Parano's voice could be heard over the sound, as he told each and every fan to meet him in the parking lot after the game. Since his injury, P. Pellegrino has returned to the lineup once, a month ago. He left that game early after feeling his NARB swell up due to the constant abuse he has put it through this season.
By placing P. Pellegrino on the IR list, the NARBs are able to free up some room financially. They are still contractually obligated to pay P. Pellegrino's 4 year subscription to NRA magazine, as well as provide him and his family with cat food, but none of this will count toward the salary cap, as long as he remains on IR. However, the incentive bonuses included in his contract, namely the 47 pounds of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese given if he scores more than 2 goals this season, do not have to be paid, unless P. Pellegrino is able to return to the lineup before the playoffs arrive.
Harney Too Tired to Continue Losing Streak, Allows 3-2 NARB Win
If there is one lesson NARB netminder Mike Harney took away from last game, it's that all things must come to an end. Despite working a full shift at the golf course, and even doing more chores at home for his mom, Harney was unable to carry his losing streak to a franchise record 4 games. In a post-game interview with FIAHL News, Harney shared his feelings: "You know, I really wanted to solidify my name in the record books for our team, and for myself. I wanted to be able to show my kids the column for "Most Consecutive Losses", with my name in bold right next to it. It's tough when you work for something like that and don't get at far as you would like, but the boys are happy about the win and the 2 points, so I guess I have to be a team player in this situation".
The scoring opened up when NARB forward Nick D'Aniello sauced a beautiful knee-high pass across the Hawks' slot to Kevin Albrecht, who wasted no time in kicking the puck into the back of the net out of Toronto's camera view. In the second period, Harney put forth his best effort towards keeping his streak alive, when he allowed Hawks forward Dan Venezia to score two goals in 8 seconds. NARB d-man Rob Pellegrino even chipped in, allowing the puck to hit him in the shins and deflect past Harney, as to ensure that he would not accidentally make a save.
Down 2-1 in early in the third period, the NARBS were given a powerplay opportunity when goalie-puncher Paul Cavanaugh was called for a tripping penalty. Matt Pellegrino scored a minute later, off of what Alex Rudolph insists was an intentional pass meant for M. Pellegrino's stick. Worried that his reputation of being the most penalized player in the nation was at stake, NARB d-man Nick PenaltyBoxicalupo roughed-up the first old man he could find on the ice, and was promptly returned to his home behind the glass.
The game went on to a shootout, where Nick Monticchio and Austin Albrecht saw their individual shootout records go to 2-0. Justin Hrusovsky took his first first shootout of the season, but his hands were moving too fast for his brain to work, and he missed the net on what we think was a backhand attempt. With the win, the NARBs improved to 2-3, and are now pointing to tonight's game at 10:15, vs the Buzzards. Anyone who purchases upper-level seating will have thier tickets upgraded to the lower-level, provided they bring a donation of $69 to the Kyle Lasinski OB/GYN fund.
Balsamo Helps Lift NARBs to 6-5 Loss
Fresh off of a 3 game suspension for making terroristic threats, Joseph Balsamo made his NARB debut. The NARBs ended up losing 6-5. Fuck. Next game is Thursday against the Hawks. First 3 fans in attendance will receive a free Rob Pellegrino sombrero.
NARBs Forget How to Play Hockey; Lose 4-3
Despite having all day to think about game 3 vs. the Buzzards, and even after a lengthy chalk-talk following the morning skate, the NARBs accidentally forgot how to play hockey last night.
R. Pellegrino opened up the scoring five minutes in to the first period when he forgot where defensemen were supposed to go and wandered into the Buzzards' slot. A. Albrecht, lost in the zone and concerned about how sober he was, threw the puck towards R. Pellegrino, who, out of nothing short of absolute fear, slapped the puck away, and into the back of the Buzzards' net. Unaware of how to hold onto such a lead, the NARBs began to ease off. After allowing a Buzzards goal three minutes later, the NARBs weren't sure what they were supposed to do when the Buzzards got the puck and scored again. "I thought I heard someone yelling something about a guy in a 'slot' somewhere" but I truthfully have no idea what any of that means", said puzzled centerman Nick Monticchio. "It's funny, because there was a guy open on their team right before he got the puck and scored. I thought to myself, 'someone should go stand next to that guy, maybe try and stop him or something', but I wasn't sure how to do that. I just figured someone else would take care of it. The guy had a pretty nice shot though. I might ask to take lessons with him before our next game".
When A. Albrecht realized how sober he was while sitting on the bench, he knew he had to do something to fix it. "I didn't really remember how to play hockey, but when we scored the first goal by accident, some of the guys seemed to be happy about it. I figured I would go ahead and try it again. Using my feet at the same time as my hands to play felt weird, and I'm pretty sure I did something called a crossover at one point, but it worked and I scored twice. At first I thought back to the chalk-talk we had before the game, but I couldn't remember a damn thing, except that there was a six-pack of Coors in the locker room, and I had to get back to it. When we tied it up 3-3, I thought we had won, so I went home to get drunk and celebrate my dedication to the team".
The NARBs allowed one more goal in the second period, when R. Pellegrino confused a player's shin guards for the back of the net, and shot at them. This led to a Buzzards' breakaway, and allowed them to score what would be the game-winning goal. Game 4 of the season is this Sunday night at 8:45pm, vs. Whack-A-Mole, at Flemington Ice Arena. Fan attendance was spectacular last night; the admissions office almost had to use two hands to count the number of people watching the game. In an effort to keep these already explosive numbers growing, the NARBs have announced that Sunday night will be Brian Hornak bobblehead night.
NARBs Go Soft In Face of the Chachis
Another tough battle, but this time the NARBs couldn't stay hard enough to secure the win against the Chachis. Not that, you know, they were trying that hard anyway. Being the new team in the league, the NARBs chose to make a statement that they understand their role as the new kid on the block, and don't want to upset anyone in such a delicate first year. Trailing early however, the NARBs found themselves in need of a response goal. At 4:56 of the first period, R. Pellegrino chose to shoot one past Chachis' goalie Lutz and hit the post, leaving a rebound upon which M. Pellegrino opted to score, effectively tying the game. In the final minute of the first period, the Chachis were able to tally two more, "which was fine by us", said NARB forward Steve Parano, "I mean we want every team to feel like they have a chance to really play with the NARBs". A. Albrecht wanted a goal before the end of the first, so he went and got one unassisted with 18 seconds left, cutting the deficit to one.
The NARBs made effective use of the long line changes associated with the second period, allowing only dozens of odd-man-rushes throughout the 15 minutes. NARB netminder Mike Harney was pleased with his team's efforts to let him see the extra shots. "I was really excited to be out there in the NARB uniform tonight. It's been a while since I've suited up, so practicing all those breakaways and 2-on-1's really helped me almost find my groove. For every goal I let in that period, I averaged a solid two minutes and thirty seconds of not getting sniped, and I feel it's stats like that which will keep me in the starting position moving forward".
To start the third, the NARBs decided they wanted to give it more than they took it. At the sight of their fallen comrade, Pat Pellegrino, they thrusted forward. P. Pellegrino was injured when he went to catch a breakout pass, and was tripped up by the Ghost of Aspen Ice Arena. This act will be analyzed in front of an FIAHL review board, as soon as the ghost can be lured and captured for questioning. As P. Pellegrino lay sobbing uncontrollably on the ice, the NARBs devised a plan - take slapshots. And slapshoot they did. Monticchio scored twice in a minute, and M. Pellegrino scored another after crafting such an ingenious plan. A. Albrecht, R. Pellegrino, and Rudolph also netted goals in the third period, but it wasn't enough to tie the Chachis. In awe of Harney's unbelievable stickhandling moves in the D-Zone, the NARBs softened a bit, and agreed to let the Chachis hang on desperately to their one goal, 9-8 lead.
Game 3 of the season is next Wednesday, May 27th, at 10:30pm. Season ticket holders will be entered to win a free night's stay at the all-exclusive Bolero Resort and Hotel in Wildwood, NJ.
NARBs Win First Franchise Game 4-3 in SO
It took extra time and three rounds of a shoutout to determine who would earn the win in the NARBs' first ever FIAHL game. With shootout goals from Monticchio, R. Pellegrino, and A. Albrecht, and a solid pad save from Leivonen, AM Lumber earned their hard-fought second point.
In the game's first shift, the NARBs found themselves down a goal. A solid shot and a rebound opportunity by Whack-A-Mole's Derby put them up 1-0. Another good play by W-A-M's Jensen 10 minutes later put the NARBs down by a pair.
The NARBs knew they needed to change their play for the second period. That's when forward Brian Hornak stepped up, and delivered a speech that simply can't be replicated here, for it would be an injustice. Riled up, the NARBs really came to start the second period. Austin Albrecht scored a little over three minutes in to cut the W-A-M lead in half. Just before the 5 minute mark, Nick D'Aniello accidentally scored when he mistakenly fired a shot that beat W-A-M goalie Pedersen glove side high. To alleviate the shock filling the room after such a play, D'Aniello made sure to fall down, and take about 10 seconds to get up before he made his way back to his still warm seat on the bench.
The NARBs played a long, hard third period. The first goal scored was one for the highlight reel. Going back to play the puck after a dump in, R. Pellegrino made a D-to-D pass to Bacigalupo, who promptly set up Whack-A-Mole's Weigold with a turnover in the high slot. "I came around the net, picked my head up, saw tape, and knew that's where I had to pass the puck", Bacigalupo stated in a post game interview. "I mean I know I'm not supposed to pass to the other team, but he was wide open, and there was no way he wasn't gonna score from there. It was like we read each other's minds, and I'm just happy to pick up the assist. It was unbelievable." Despite allowing a W-A-M goal early on, the NARBs were able to claw their way back when A. Albrecht netted yet another goal to tie the game. No further scoring happened during regulation play or in overtime, though forward Pat Pellegrino was able to record two halfway decent shots on goal in the third period, and we were all pretty proud of him for that.
Leivonen was stellar in overtime, and rock solid in the shootout. Stopping 33% of the shots coming his way, the NARBs only had to score all three times to guarantee their first ever organization win.
Game #2 of the season is tonight at 8:45pm, vs the Chachis at Flemington Ice Arena. Tickets are still available.