Happy Hour In The Heptarchy: Ginger Ale and Jerk Chicken

by J.R.

It’s five past 5 across Conference III (leave work early, Colorado — you have our permission), time to hit bricks and get that freakin’ weekend started, am I right?

Of course I am.

It’s been a tough week for some of you so loosen your belt, pop a top, grab a spoon and stop being such a sourpuss. III Communication’s got good news for everybody.

The Particulars


What We’re Drinking: Spring is creeping into Conference III (soon, Winnipeg, I promise) and nothing complements those glorious first rays of warming sunshine like springtime in a glass: ginger ale — refreshing as the year’s first dip in a swimming pool and, when it’s just right, a sharp as the smell from a dandelion.

It’s got restorative properties, too. There’s no caffeine, but if a snort of the stuff doesn’t wake you up, you might as well be dead. And when those pesky allergies stuff up your sniffer as they inevitably will once the ragweed and crape myrtle or whatever blooms in the spring up in Minnesota comes out, ginger ale is like a magic tonic crosschecking histamines from here to the dodgier parts of the Rust Division.

Jerk+Chicken3What We’re Eating: Now, being in Nashville, I have a great civic affinity for a particular style of spicy chicken. But when it starts to get springy, it’s time to get the grill out. It is possible to make a facsimile of the Music City’s feisty fowl on a grill (or under a broiler), but those perfectly clear days give me a hankering for jerk chicken. My recipe — like most of my recipes — is a Frankenstein’s monster: a marinade I ripped off from one cookbook, a wet rub I adapted from another. But there’s plenty of allspice — the two-way forward of the kitchen, adaptable and usable in all manner of situations — and enough spicy kick to get the blood flowing. Serve with plenty of plantains — the banana’s less famous and far more interesting cousin — and black beans.

Reasons to Celebrate

rolling-stones_1972Chicago: That loss to St. Louis was a stinger and giving up a two-goal third period lead to Nashville? Yikesers. Patrick Sharp is still in “not yet” status. You lost an icon this week. But you’re still in driver’s seat for the number-one seed and probably the President’s Trophy (congratulations!) and you get the Brunchrence III game against Nashville tomorrow. Sidenote: Is anyone opposed to the NHL making the brunch-time Saturday game a permanent Conference III fixture next year?
Anyway, Chicago. You should be happy. The Stones added a second date at the United Center.

Your Weekend Jam:Tumbling Dice” by The Rolling Stones.

that-john-denvers-full-of-shi_clink_largeColorado: Just sorta playing out the string, aren’t you, Colorado? Not so bad, though. You got a nice OT win against future Conference III foe Nashville on Saturday. PA Paranteau is your leading scorer, so maybe a full year of him and Ryan O’Reilly will get something going. You’ll probably have a top 3 pick. And there’s a new Southern food joint in town! It looks great if you’re the kind of person who would pay 16 bucks (!) for gluten-free (lol) fried chicken. Oh you.

Your Weekend Jam:Thank God I’m A Country Boy” by John Denver.

6247543444_9999e322ae_zDallas: All your fun old people are gone. You’ve settled rather frumpily into last in the Pacific. The NHL seems content to have you play nobody but the Ducks, which means trip after trip to Orange County. It sounds awfully tedious — and I’m using awfully as an intensive and a descriptor. But check it! The cool, old, marble art deco Lone Star Gas buildings are being adapted for use as lofts.

Your Weekend Jam:Something to Forget” by Texas Is The Reason.

pxcarp0120_500pxMinnesota: You’re locked in the Most Interesting Race There Is. Your bloggers are abandoning you. Ryan Suter got walked by Dan Boyle and the last time Dan Boyle walked anywhere, it was to cash his Social Security check. Buck up, Gophers! Your replacement bloggers are top notch. If you’re going to miss Zach Budish, you won’t miss him much. And the invasive Asian carp are not colonizing your states many, many lakes. That’s good news!

Your Weekend Jam:In A Free Land” by Hüsker Dü

AerialViewNashville: It’s all but over for your hockey team this year. Your second all-time leader in pretty much everything wanted out just 10 months after Ryan Suter left and Shea Weber signed a sheet with someone else. It’s painful. But you got a sweet Swede prospect in the trade for Marty Erat! And you get the great Brunchrence III game tomorrow! Maybe Erat was an anchor holding you back (though the first home regulation loss to Columbus in seven years would indicate otherwise). But hey, at least your strip clubs could see some benefit from the new convention center (even if the convention center won’t see much benefit from the strip clubs).

Your Weekend Jam:Golden Ball and Chain” by Jason & The Scorchers.

g06800figure01St. Louis: Oh sure, the Cards are releasing the worst bobblehead anyone has ever seen ever and you lot are probably feeling pressure from below as teams chase that final playoff spot. Buck up, St. Louis. You’ve got games in hand on everybody. Get outside: it’s Arbor Day.

Your Weekend Jam: “Gun” by Uncle Tupelo.

Randy BachanWinnipeg: Your team’s poor play finally knocked them into second place in the division. But you’re still there with a shout. Just get back to winning. We need you to win the Southeast. For Conference III. And I know it’s snowing. That’s atrocious, but it is Manitoba. And while it’s not my bag, your buddies at True North may bring juniors to town, which is cool?

Your Weekend Jam:Laughing” by The Guess Who