Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learning about your opponent: Alex Kangas

The real reason I went on vacation earlier this month was to get the true story about Alex Kangas, the soft goal sieve of the university of minnesota hockey team. Some will have you believe that Kangas previously played for the Indiana Ice and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL and before that in HS in Rochester, MN. I won't lead you down that same path.

I went right to the source of Kangas' upbringing, the San Diego Zoo. I was fortunate enough to spend the day w/ Alex's former zoo keeper, who's name will be withheld to protect his family from repercussions by intoxicated minnesota fans who might feel the need to try to hug you at Wando's at the corner of Frances and University.

At the San Diego Zoo, Alex Kangas was simply known as Alex or Alex the kangaroo. Below is a picture of a kangaroo for those of you who have never ventured to a zoo, read a children's book w/ animals in it, watched national geographic or ever heard of google or the internet.

Alex had spent most of his life at the zoo, and as the zoo keeper pointed out there was always something different about Alex, "he wasn't quite all kangaroo, I'm mean sure he spent most of the day foralicing around on his powerful hind legs, but sometimes he would just lounge around and play Xbox."

I brought up the fact that reports say Alex is 1/8 human and 7/8 kangaroo. W/ a furrowed brow the zoo keeper replied, "I don't know anything about that, maybe 1/16 human at best."

It still wasn't all adding up how Alex found his way to a hockey scholarship in minnesota, so the zoo keeper kindly explained. "Well it all started when we got cable tv here at the zoo. Alex started watching NHL games regularly, and really took a liking to that Martin Broudeur fellow w/ the NJ Devils. Let me tell ya, I once got kicked from here to right over there [pointing clear across the kangaroo pen] when I tried to turn on Seinfeld. Anyway, one day back around 2001, Alex starts carrying around a goalie stick, and after that he started organizing pick up games w/ the other kangaroos. Let me tell ya, Alex wasn't very good though, more of a Garth Snow than a Patrick Roy."

That still didn't answer my question about minnesota, but the zoo keeper continued w/ a frown on his face. "Well then one day this mullet man showed up. I use to live in LA and go to Kings games in the 90s, I've seen some mullets, but nothing like this guy's, damn. Said his name was lucy or something like that, he was an arrogant ass. Anyway, somehow he had heard about Alex and came to "recruit" him. He's a kangaroo damnit! He doesn't need this. Well anyway, he offered him a college education in exchange for his hockey skills."

At this point I showed the zoo keeper the picture to the left, and inquired if Alex was capable of making such a play w/ his kangaroo skills. He laughed and replied, "what the f*ck is that! Alex is a kangaroo not some drunk idiot wasted on long island ice teas. I've seen a sieve in my day, but nothing like that."

An agreement was struck w/ the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MN to house Alex when he wasn't practicing w/ the team and attending classes focused largely on zoology. On his official application (filled out in crayon per u of m requirements) he listed his name as Alex Kangas, leaving Alex the kangaroo behind forever.

The zoo keeper recounted his final conversation w/ Alex before he departed for the land of 10,000 lakes. "I asked him why he would leave us here in San Diego and head way up north. He looked me straight in the eye and told me he liked the color of their jerseys, it reminded him of what it looked like when he would crap on my boots. Then he thought he was awfully funny and left me a nice parting gift right there on my new Red Wings."

Not done in San Diego, I tracked down former Anchorman Ron Burgandy to see if he could offer any insight on Alex the kangaroo from his days reading the news. "Ah the zoo, yes. Once I was at the zoo and saw my beloved Veronica in a bear pen. Needless to say my love for her forced me to jump in there w/ those Kodiaks. Luckily my pal Baxter was there to save the day. Damn I was lucky to have Baxter back after he was kicked off that bridge and all. Well, good day fine citizen...and you stay classy." W/ that he walked away w/ three other men who looked like former new casters, one holding a grenade.

I tried to reach minnesota head coach Don Lucia to ask his opinion on this story. My call to his office landed me on the phone of Kevin Gorg, ice side moron for FSN North. When I asked if I could briefly talk w/ tDon, I was told no and that Anthony LaPanta was busy trimming his mullet.

A Badger fan from Tomahawk, WI was kind enough to comment on this story before press time stating simply, "you can't spell sex with a kangaroo without Kangas."

The proceeding story may or may not have been fictional.