Chapter Four: Food Fight!
Despite having Nick remind him, Ryan didn’t call Jenna when they landed in Edmonton. I seriously don’t think that the author could make me like this character less at this point without having him kick puppies. It’s not that I think this one phone call is super important, but other than his skill at playing hockey and being attractive, I’ve yet to see a redeeming feature from this guy. I WANT TO HIT HIM WITH A GOALIE STICK. He tries to tell Jenna he didn’t call because it was too late, and she pointed out that she said to call regardless so she’d been awake. Then he tries to blame Nick, saying that he wasn’t reminded. At least Jenna doesn’t accept that for a legitimate excuse.
Excuse me a moment while I take a deep breath. … Okay, I’ll continue.
Nick himself is also having a bad trip so far. He’s mad at himself for not having a great game. Ryan ribs him about his dinner choices, even though Ryan could see that Nick’s day isn’t going well but chooses to ignore it. This is the team captain, everyone.
The team is having dinner together and Ryan points out that Nick isn’t dressed in a suit. (NHL players have to wear a suit before and after games, as I mentioned in Body Check when talking about the magic pants.) However, someone has “messed with [Brian’s] sh*t”, ruining his suit. Apparently he only brought one. I kind of feel like players on a road trip would have more than one suit with them, but I can’t substantiate this. Who wants to wear the same suit to and from several games in a row? And they can certainly afford them. Regardless, I’ll assume that Brian and Nick only brought one suit each for whatever reason and Nick has agreed to let Brian wear his suit so that he (Brian) wouldn’t get in more trouble.
The text is hitting the unpleasant parts of Ryan and Jenna’s relationship pretty damn hard, but it’s doing a better job of making Nick into an interesting character. Yes, he’s very focused on the game and on being the best player possible, but the text actually investigates what this would mean in reaction to other players’ actions.
Back in post three I complained about using a rape accusation for backstory, particularly since it made Brian into a victim. Nick is angry at Brian, however, which I think is a legitimate and at least somewhat nuanced reaction. He doesn’t believe that Brian is guilty, but he’s angry that Brian was in a situation where that could have happened and that he was having a summer of debauchery, and that these things affect the entire Blackhawks organization. (And that’s a fair point. One of the reasons I dislike the Blackhawks so much is because of the behavior of a few of their current players. I still don’t think this is the best choice of secondary character backstory and I dislike the easily-dismissed accuser. That said, this is more nuanced than previously.)
Nick leaves dinner with the team once Ryan gets involved in a foodfight. Seriously? This is the team captain?