Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hockey Countdown with Homebrew Citrus IPA

Patrick Roy Abandons Ship


Stop Me If You've Heard This Before

Lafitte Citrus IPA
8 pounds American 2 Row
4 pounds Maris Otter
1 pound Crystal 75
5 ounces Citra Hops
1 ounce Warrior Hops
San Diego Super Yeast

Jean Lafitte was a successful pirate and smuggler operating out of New Orleans. The Governor Claiborne, at one point, covered the port in posters offering 500 dollars for the capture or death of Lafitte.

Lafitte, in return, covered the port in posters offering 1000 dollars for the capture of Governor Claiborne.

Let's start with the beer today. 
No place like foam
Yikes, that's a lot of foam. 

So here's the deal on this one. It tastes amazing. The warrior hops come through right away with a ferocious bitterness, followed by a smoothing pineappley and tropical peach flavor. As you can hopefully see the color is a beautiful gold, and the foam, though angry, is light and airy and lacey. 

But man, what happened with that foam? I tried super charging it at 40 psi for 24 hours, then dropped it down to 10 psi for serving. And this is what happened. Believe it or not, this is way better than it was. At first pour it was 90% foam and a tiny sliver of delicious beer. 

I lowered the pressure, popped the cap and let it dissipate, angled the beer line and coiled it so it flows only up and there are still bubbles in my lines. Everything I've read says the co2 is escaping from the beer, and I've tried every solution. Soap and water have revealed no leaks.

So I'm at a loss. But you know what, there's a delicious beer in all that delicious foam. The base is there, I just need to tweak it. I'm good at that. Changing things on the fly. Adapting and using what I'm good at and just steering it in a different direction. 

Moving on. (This will be pretty gif-heavy, so if you are on dial-up, I apologize. Also, how is the year 1996? That Independence Day movie looks pretty neat.)

What in the world happened, Patty? 

Reminiscent of when St. Patrick got lit up in Montreal and vowed to never play for Montreal again, Roy once again took a hike when the going got tough. Here's the thing; the man is a legend, arguably the greatest goalie of all time. His ego and fiery temper and cockiness and unreal talent made him a champion four times over. And when he first arrived back in Colorado to helm the team, those qualities took him to the Jack Adams trophy. 

He was fiery. He was passionate. He was aggressive. The players, on multiple occasions, said they loved playing for him. He came in with a decade of minor league coaching, so it wasn't like they just called him up on the couch. He came in with a plan. 

And then Minnesota figured out how to stop the speedy underdog juggernaut that was the Avalanche. Colorado won the Western Conference that year with an obscenely aggressive forecheck and was backed by an outrageous performance by Varlamov in net. But the Wild figured out that the slightest bit of pressure on our defensemen would collapse the entire thing. The rest of the league took notice, and the rest was ugly history. Colorado's defensive weaknesses were exposed, and the team was never the same. 

I mean, just look at this:

Here we have Holden beating Vancouver to the puck behind the net and yet still losing the puck. Barrie covers literally nobody in front of the net, and the rest of the team collapses in the slot allowing Hansen to slide right in behind Barrie to receive the pass from behind the net surrounded by five Colorado players and score. 
This was essentially a 5 on 2 short handed goal. 
Let's try another:
Comeau forechecks two Minny players on their breakout, which is fine in itself except he completely removes himself from the play. For some bizarre reason, there is nobody covering the Wild player on our own blue line, allowing a huge and completely ridiculous stretch pass across the entire ice. For some reason, all four of the remaining Avs converge on that one player, suddenly I guess realizing the puck is in their zone, allowing number 10 to slip by completely untouched for a babysoft goal. 

Looks about right.

One more? One more.
Washington starts with two entering the zone followed by a pretty decent drop pass and shot. Nothing terrible there. The rebound goes into the corner and back to the top where there are exactly zero Colorado sweaters. Everybody wearing burgundy and blue inexplicably chase the puck and crash their own net, leaving two Washington players all by their lonesome on our point. 

I felt the same way.
I could keep going all day. But I won't because I'm making myself furious.

Enter Jared Bednar. Former coach of the AHL Cleveland Monsters and brand new coach for the Colorado Avalanche. 

"Who is Bednar?" you inquire, handing me a beer.

"I'm glad you asked", I reply. I probably refuse the beer at first out of politeness, but we both know I'll take it after one round of "Oh, you don't need to buy me a beer for my amateur hockey analysis."

Bednar took a fairly decent but ultimately nothing special and huge underdog Monsters team and led them to a 15-2 postseason to win the Calder Cup. He is strict, aggressive, and analytical. He preaches structured breakouts followed by an aggressive and creative attack with speed. 

Hmm, so literally exactly what our core of players is capable of. After two years of watching Roy's Avalanche I still don't know his coaching plan. In one press conference and exactly one youtube video, I know exactly what Bednar plans to do. I mean, here:

Break it down. Cleveland starts their breakout by streaking behind the net and drawing the defender towards the puck. A Monster teammate circles around, giving the puck carrier an extra out, but he doesn't need it because he immediately sends the puck up ice to the center. But instead of just dumping it in the zone, thereby giving up possession (coughHoldencoughGuenin), the original defender speeds through and takes another short pass to gain the zone. 12 enters the zone, giving another open option followed by 16. 8 is speeding through, though, forcing the defense back on their heels. 16 and 12 are still open, giving two options if needed, but 8 jams it in.

Here they give up possession, which I would normally dislike, but instead of peeling off and retreating to the blue line he attacks and breaks through to retrieve the puck. And since he draws the entire other team to him, 16 and 12 are still open to receive the puck. 

The other team had no time to set up, no time to react. They were on their heels the entire time. And it wasn't accomplished by chipping it up the boards or dumping it in. 
I couldn't find a gif of Bednar, so please accept Jean Claude Van Damme in the classic film, Sudden Death.
"But aren't you just cherrypicking those breakouts?" you ask as I finish my beer. 
"Of course I am," I reply. "I'm just a guy who loves hockey. Next round's on me, Julia Stiles."

I have a feeling that this will be a rough first year under a new coach. Adapting to a completely new system (or just suddenly going from no system to....a system) is not easy, especially at this point in the offseason. But man, we have some good players with speed and talent. Imagine them with the right structure. 

So let's take a lesson from beer. My IPA came out...interesting. The base, or core if you will, was there. I am confident in my skills to adapt and change, so I will try the recipe again but just tweak it a bit. I'm not so set in my ways that I'll just do the exact same thing. I like what I see and taste, but it's not perfect. So I'm going to adapt. And change for the better. And not just slam my glass to the ground and take my keg and go home. 


Also I don't know why the font changes halfway through and I can't seem to fix it. So, there it is.

Update: I have fixed the font problem.