“Ok, so what did the blizzard office say about the trade?” Mr. Green asked sitting back down.
“They were pleased, not only did we get Cussman, but we got a second rounder and a fifth. They think they can do something with that, and by god they should.” I said thinking how they almost screwed last year’s draft up.
“You need to work with Jack to find out what else we need. If this Cussman trade works the way we think it will, we will still need a second line. I haven’t been impressed and neither has Lumm. I don’t want to lose any more defensive pieces though.”
“Sir, maybe it would be better if someone else worked with Jack on this.” I said hating the words as they left my mouth.
“Nonsense, I am grooming you for a bigger role in the front office, and I want skilled players. Get me what I need. You more than anyone Maddie know what’s at stake here.”
“Yes sir, I am on it.” I said getting up from the table.
I didn’t want to talk to Jack, but to do what the boss wanted I would have to. He had a keen insight into players that he doesn’t even know he has, and yes in the future he would make a great scout for the team, but not yet. He is still a player, and my brother needs him.
That’s right my brother needs him. I don’t need him. I don’t need those eyes flashing fire at me. I don’t need those hands holding me. Hell, I don’t even need those lips kissing me. Why the hell am I crying?
Focus Maddie. We did fine before Jack Crabb joined the team, and we will do fine without him. We need to focus on work, and making the team better for Eric. Eric was the future of this team. Mr. Green and even Jack agree on that, so that’s what we do, we focus on that.
Not some Bimbo he has stashed somewhere that he is trying to get back to. Oh I fell so easy, that asshole. Maddie stop, this is about Eric, not some panty dropping hockey player.
“Penny for your thoughts,” a voice said from beside me and I spun around to see Jack standing there looking worried.
I could kick him in the balls so easy right now. If I did he wouldn’t be thinking about any woman. I smiled at that thought and Jack took a step back.
“I don’t want your thoughts after seeing that face. Look Maddie can we talk. Something was said that didn’t come out right and I need to explain.”
“You can explain what else we need on this team to make it better. You can explain how I am to get offense out of any line but yours without giving up anymore defensive players and most importantly you can explain how we can get through the rest of the season in a positive way even though right now all I see is red.” I finished by slapping him hard in the chest not that the goon could probably even feel it.
“Maddie look,” he said stepping close to me. “What Lars said was taken wrong.”
“No, I don’t want to talk about that. I am mad, and I am hurt, and I am disappointed. Most of all I am pissed that Mr. Green says I have to work closely with you to make this team better. I don’t want to be close to you.”
“So mister Green said we have to work together huh?” He said with a smirk.
“Wipe that cheesy smile right off your face. There will be no more kisses. This is all about work. Now are you going to help me or not? My future with the team rests on this.” I let out in a rush.
“Yes Maddie, I will work closely with you for as long as we need to. I want to make sure you are happy.” He said with a cocky smile again.
“Well good. Now I need to get home and change, then I am going to look over who is available from other clubs and I will put a list together for you. Then we can go over it here at the office.”
“I could come over tonight and help you?”
“Oh no you don’t mister I am not going to be alone with you again.” I said turning bright red. “Now I will see you tomorrow.” Then I turned tail and ran.
“Cussman, hit the kid when he breaks right, he always comes back left, just put it in front of him.” I said getting frustrated. I knew he had the talent; he was just pissed about being traded to losing club.
“What if I don’t want to?” He said dropping his stick and squaring off with me. This was to be expected. I had been riding him hard today and we had a game tonight, so I was being an ass.
I also knew we had to have this out before tonight so I had pushed hard. The kid was oblivious of course; he just looked between us lost.
“Then the whole line won’t get pulled up. We will leave your ass behind. I told them you were the missing piece of what we needed to take the whole line to the blizzard, and if you’re not, I will find someone else.” I said looking down at him. He wasn’t as small as the kid but I was a frightening asshole when I wanted to be, and right now I wanted to be.
“Fuck, so you’re the reason that they brought me here.” He said like he was ready to throw down.
“You’re fucking right I did. Where else are you going to get a chance to join the bigs’ this year? So what is going to be? Are you on board or do you want me to have coach move you to the fourth line?” I was threatening but I didn’t know if coach would do it or not.
“Fuck, I had it good in New York.” He said like he was less pissed. “Do you really think they will call us up?”
“Yes, they want the kid, they want him bad. They just want guys that will make him look good for the fan base. That’s our job. We need to make the kid look like the superstar I think he will be, and they will take the whole line, so are you in or out.”
“Fine I’m in Crabb, but if you are fucking with me so help me god, I will come after you.” He said and I liked him for it. It took a big guy in the balls department to threaten me.
“Then back to it, we have an hour before we have to get off the ice.” I said and we went back to work and we worked now and shit was coming together. I had high hopes about this trade.
“Well what do you know; the kid knows what he is talking about.” My boss said from behind me.
We just watched the storm steam roll the Sound seven to two, and Eric’s line had five points. Of course they pulled their goalie after the fourth and then anyone could have scored. I actually saw Coach lay off the main line more after that keeping them fresh.
“Two days off, get me more players.” My boss said and I turned to see him salivating. I mean it was like a different man was standing there. “We’ve got the rebels in two days and we both know they are the head of division, that one won’t be easy.”
“Yes sir, I am going through the folders now and getting a list ready for Jack to go through. If he can pull some names I will see what the offers are.” I said. I was happy that Eric had a good night. I was glad Cussman had a good night, I was pissed and happy that Jack had a good night, but we didn’t have a lot of trade bait left.
“Find out from Jack who is expendable from this team and who isn’t. If he doesn’t see them being an important part of the team I want to know who we can get rid of. The kid has a gift.” He said and he sounded way too happy about it.
“Yes sir, I should have a packet tomorrow ready to go through.” I finished.
“Good, now go celebrate with your brother and I will see you tomorrow.” He said grabbing his coat and heading out of the box.
His father owned the organization and everyone knew it would just be a matter of time before he took over the Blizzard and the Storm. He was trying to get something positive going forward and I understood that, but at the minor level I could only do so much and it was like he thought I could move mountains.
I spent some time going through more player profiles and when I figured Eric had enough time to get ready I headed down to the players’ lounge, which was nothing more than a few couches and I giant television.
There were still quite a few players hanging out and I had to weave in between till I found Eric talking to Jack and his new line mate Cussman. “Maddie I had four points tonight.”
I was giggling with him. “I know buddy you were awesome.”
“Maddison, a reporter wants to talk to you.” Well shit why would someone want to talk to me. “Ok coach,” Eric said instead and then it registered, duh Maddie.
“Jack,” Eric said freezing.
“Just tell them you are here for the team. Praise your teammates and use the word we, every time. Just keep reiterating this is a team sport and you are only as good as your teammates allow you to be.”
“Thanks Jack,” Eric said rushing off.
Jack looked proud as he followed my brother with his eyes.
“And who might this be,” I heard turning around to see Cussman coming toward me. He wasn’t my cup of tea so I didn’t reply.
“Off limits,” Jack said and Cussman’s smile fell.
“Figures, all the good ones are. Good game tonight Jack, tell the kid I said the same to him. I’m headed out.” Cussman said giving him a fist bump as he walked by.
When he was far enough away and we had a second I looked at Jack with confusion. “Off limits,” I asked wondering what that was about.
“Management can’t fraternize with players.” He said like it left a foul taste in his mouth.
“Well true, but shouldn’t I be the one deciding who I fraternize with?”
“No,” he said looking at me hard. I was about to give him a piece of my mind when he continued on. “You will be mine and you don’t need any place holders till that day comes, so no.”
Cocky son of a, did he say his, what about that other woman? “Mr. Green said you had names for us to go over. Practice is at nine tomorrow, we can go over them after that. Here comes the kid,” he said raising his head again and plastering on that smile he had earlier.
Him and my brother exchanged words, fist bumps and slaps on the back and then Jack was gone and I was left with a smiling Eric.