Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Turning It Around At Baker Rink

If you could see one movie, any movie, that you've never seen before, what movie would it be?

TigerBlog has considered this difficult question for a long time. When he first started thinking in these terms, it was "Gone With The Wind," which he finally saw maybe 10 or so years ago for the first time (and thought it was great). After that, it was "The Shining," which he saw about two years ago for the first time (and didn't like at all).

Ever since, the movie at the top of the list was "Toy Story 3."

The third movie in the series was released in 2010, after "Toy Story" in 1995 and "Toy Story 2" in 1998. Perhaps because TB had little kids around the releases of those movies, he saw both, a lot, to the point of basically memorizing them.

Can you imagine the meeting that took place when the idea was first pitched? "So anyway, when the humans leave the room, the toys come to life." Actually, when TigerBlog writes that, it seems more like a horror movie than a comedy.

"Toy Story 2" is a solid B+ movie. The original is not quite an A+, but it's very, very close.

TB's favorite line for from "Toy Story?" It's when Buzz says "Did the hat look good? Tell me the hat looked good."

For some reason - maybe because his kids were a little older - he never saw "Toy Story 3." He'd heard it was tremendous, and he figured he'd see it for himself at some point.

That point came Saturday night, when he stumbled upon "Toy Story 3" when he was flipping through the guide. He gives this one a solid A, a little behind the first one but definitely better than the second. And the end of "Toy Story 3" is very, very well done.

Of course, TigerBlog could have lived without the dumpster. And the garbage truck. And the garbage dump. And the whole incinerator thing was spooky. At least the toys washed themselves off after. 

And Woody? That's one tough, smart cowboy doll. He definitely can think on his feet and makes very quick decisions. And he rolls his eyes very well, considering he has eyes that are sort of glued onto his face.

Oh, and think about it. What if the toys really do come to life when nobody is looking. How do you know they don't?

In reality it's a very tough balancing act to make the "Toy Story" movies work. If they're a little too much, adults wouldn't watch them, and the franchise has been built on being much more than kids' movies. Instead, they do a seriously great job of developing the characters, and the plots are very well thought out, with sharp dialogue and subtle humor - all while still being appealing to children because of the basic premise. They are really, really smart movies. 

Anyway, now that he's seen "Toy Story 3," the next movie up that he's never seen but most wants to is "The Princess Bride."

TB saw "Toy Story 3" after having Army-Navy football on television and Princeton-Quinnipiac men's hockey on the video stream during the afternoon.

Actually, Army-Navy football might be the sporting event that TB has never been to that he most wants to attend.

Princeton swept Quinnipiac, who came into the weekend ranked 7th. It was Princeton 5, Quinnipiac 3 at Baker Rink Friday night in a game that TB was at, and then it was a 4-1 Princeton win in Connecticut Saturday night.

In the "don't look now" category, Princeton is suddenly playing really, really good hockey.

Princeton began the season 0-6-1 before everything turned on almost a dime. Since then, the Tigers are 5-1-0, and four of those wins (the two against Quinnipiac and two against Bemidji State) came against teams who were ranked in the top 10 at the time.

Princeton has three more home games in this calendar year, and they all happen to be this week. The Tigers are home tonight against UMass before hosting Minnesota State-Mankato Friday and Saturday.

As for the ECAC, Princeton currently sits in seventh place, though it has played more games than the teams around it for the moment. That is hardly an issue, as the main thing for the Tigers is that they're establishing themselves and learning to finish games.

Princeton had the lead in the third period a few times during the 0-6-1 start. Now those leads are being held on to and expanded.

And this is being done with a young team.

Princeton has scored 38 goals for the year, of which two have come from seniors. Of Princeton's top 10 scorers, there are three freshmen, four sophomores, three juniors and no seniors.

The leading scorer is sophomore Max VĂ©ronneau, who had his second-straight seven-point weekend. TigerBlog isn't sure who holds the NCAA record for most shots faced in a career by a goalie, but Princeton's Colton Phinney has to be way up there on that list.

Princeton, at 5-7-1, has already equaled last year's victory total for the season and exceeded the total of the 2014-15 season. There was nothing fluky about Princeton's wins over Quinnipiac, any more than there was anything fluky about beating Bemidji when the Beavers were ranked 10th.

Even in the leanest of years, Baker Rink is still a great place to see a hockey game. With a team on the rise, it's an even better experience.

TigerBlog saw it Friday night. The fans were into it. There were young hockey fans everywhere. It gets loud. The pace is fast.

It's a rink that is ready to have a winner. Is Princeton there yet? No, not yet.

But it's a lot of fun to watch the turnaround going on at Baker Rink.

No comments: