Lobsterboy suits up for his first game in more than two months. After shaking off some early rust, he was his usual slashing, diving self, leading his team to a 25-22 victory.


Week 28
Out of his shell

Lobsterboy ends hiatus, wins game

by Jay Suburb

Lobsterboy is back. Most of the roadsters thought he was a goner. Some still aren't so sure.

The creaseminding crustacean won his first game in more than two months, 25-22, in his first start since he put his playing career on hold to spend time with his young family.

Despite some early cobwebs that put his team down by as many as four goals, it was as if he'd never been away. Opposing forwards who'd become used to streaking through the goalcrease unmolested suddenly had to take a wide berth to avoid a hack to the back of their legs. Clearing shots to the end boards disappeared under the wandering goalie's pads and glove.

"I saw Lobsterboy take the knees out of a few of our players going to the net," says Elvis. "We're definitely not used to that kind of goaltending."

"He's like another defenseman back there for us, the way he comes out to handle the ball," says Paul One.

That's just the way he wanted it, says Lobsterboy. "I need to get out there and slash a few shins."

And while he concedes it may yet take him a few weeks to regain the top form that won him two consecutive Conn Stick awards as the most valuable player in the Stanley Stick championship tournament, he says the time was right for him to return to the game.

"I couldn't take it anymore," says the shelled stopper of the controversy surrounding his hiatus, and the constant questions about his future in the game that dogged him for the duration. "I feel like a new rookie. I've gotta prove myself all over again, forget all the stuff you've heard."

But, says Wink, the league's been burned too many times by comebacks that never are. Lumberjack's been talking of a return to the courts for more than a season, but is reportedly more slothful than ever. Hollywood made a return to the courts earlier this season, reaffirmed his commitment to the game, and then never played again.

"If he's gonna be a regular guy, I think it's great," says the notorious gameshow host gone bad, who's seen a lot of players come and go during his long career on the concrete. "It's one thing if this is a one shot guest appearance, but if he's coming out weekly, then it's a whole different kettle of fish."

Put on the stove, says Lobsterboy. "I'm going to be here for awhile. I've got to go out there and show the young rookies the legend of Lobsterboy."

Lobsterboy got off to a shaky start that put his team at an early disadvantage. But, he said, that's exactly what he expected and he knew he'd have to work his way through it before regaining his timing and shotstopping instincts.
"I've gotta show the guys I can still play before I ask them to play harder," said the clawed shotstopper.
That's exactly what happened.
After making a few key stops, including robbing Slick on a clear-cut breakaway, Lobsterboy's teammates responded. They stormed back from their early deficit to open up the lead to as many as seven goals, sputtering slightly late in the game, and then hanging on for the win.
"(Lobsterboy) was making some bigtime saves; he's the reason we were able to get the lead," said Paul One, who had another strong two-way game, teaming up on a line with Bulldog
"We had to make sure we picked up our man in our own end and just be there for him," said Bulldog of his side's work to support their goalie as he worked off the rust.

Lobsterboy also benefited from a strong game by Nibs, who rediscovered the rapier shot that netted him 10 goals three weeks ago, but has eluded him since.
The rookie sharpshooter credited a lucky sweatshirt he'd worn that historic game but, said Paul One, playing with a talented linemate might also have had something to do with it.
"Nibs and Lak Attack worked well together, that's when we started to turn things around," said the veteran forward. "Our line combos seemed to really help."
"The whole team played fine," said Wink. "It's hard to argue with our strategy."

At the other end of the court, Pig Farming Goalie started strongly but wilted under the barrage as his defense abandoned him. For the rookie rearguard, it was a familiar story, and as the goals piled up, so did his frustration. After whiffing on one shot, the fourth rebound as his teammates failed to clear the evil orange plastic ball, he smashed his stick into two pieces.
"You saw what happened to his first goal stick and that was a pure result of him not getting any defense," said Paul One. "He's not getting any backchecking and he feels like he's carrying the whole team on his shoulders."

After exchanging verbal hacks all week, a much-anticipated blood feud between Paul One and Elvis never really materialized. Each player had accused the other of slashing stick work in last week's game and vowed payback.
And when they ended up on opposing sides of the court, the roadsters anticipated fireworks. While the combatants played each other hard, and battled in the corners, cooler heads prevailed. But that didn't put the rivalry to rest.
"It seemed like Paul One jumped lines like he was trying to avoid me," said Elvis.

The return of Lobsterboy and the late arrival of Ottoman for Sunday's game meant the rookie was the odd goalie out. The roadsters tried to coax him into taking shifts as a regular player, but he would have none of it. He said the memory of his last, and first, shift out of the crease, when he turned an ankle, was still too painful. Instead, he watched the game from behind the end fence, and bided his time for a chance to play in the afternoon game.
Ottoman will be called upon next week, though, when Pig Farming Goalie is expected to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer.