Friday, November 12, 2010

Postgame Recap: November 11 - Bleu Blank et Lose

Boston. Montreal.

Bruins. Canadiens.

The Black and Gold. Le Bleu Blanc et Rouge.

Two Original Six teams, longtime rivals, matching up for the first tine this season. Montreal comes into the game with a 2 point lead in the division, but the second place Bruins have 3 games in hand.

Normally, I am juiced about these games.  It's comparable to Sox - Yanks, but in a much more intimate setting and with a lot more fans (percentage-wise) supporting the other team.

However, in recent years, the fan experience has been somewhat disappointing. It seems there a lot of fans who care more about mixing it up with Montreal fans that what actually transpires on the ice. Yes, the Habs fans can be a bit boisterous, breaking out into the "ole" chant, waving Candian flags and overly celbratory.  But the Bruins fans answers to that have been decidely assinine.  Turning "Ole" into "You're Gay" is just plain childish and shows a complete lack of creativity.  Throwing beer and food at the Habs fans (or any fans for that matter) is outright wrong.

But the one thing that goes on that really annoys me is when the home fans break out into a "USA" chant.  I've gone off on tirades about this in other forums before, but let me summarize my stance for you:

These are NHL games, not IIHF ones.  The Boston representative versus the Montreal one.  Not USA versus Canada.  Just because Hab fans bring Canadian flags to game doesn't mean that you have to have a jingoistic overraction and turn what should be a great rivalry into something that has no bearing on the situation at hand.

Canadiens are not necessarily Canadians, and vice versa.  Case in point:

Scott Gomez, USA Hockey
(born in Anchorage, Alaska)

Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadien

Patrice Bergeron, Team Canada
(born in L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec)

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruin

It's idiotic to turn these games into misguided displays of nationalistic pride.  I love my country, but this is an NHL game.  That's why we have events such as the Olympics or the World Cup.  They are the proper outlets.  I've been to both the World Cup (Germany 2006) and the Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002), decked out in patriotic gear and American flags rooting on the Red, White and Blue. I didn't go to games there wearing a Bruins sweater or a New England Revolution shirt.  It just wasn't the right venue.

All I'm asking is for fans to enjoy the game for what it is, a matchup of fierce rivals, one from Boston and one from Montreal.  That the Habs are based in Canada only means that Rene Rancourt is going to sign O Canada in English and the bartenders at the Fours are going to get stiffed on tips from the visiting fans.

That's all I'm saying.

With this game falling on Veteran's Day, I had a fear that the jingoism would be over the top for this game.  And you know what, to my surprise, it wasn't.  So props to the fans on that one.  Even better was the "8-spoked Salute", where the Bruins honor a military veteran during a stoppage in play.  Last night featured a retired 92-year old Marine who fought in World War II.  The crowd gave him a much deserved and prolonged ovation.  It was pretty cool.

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #14, home game #5
  • Boston Bruins (8-3-0-1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (9-5-1-0)
  • First of 6 meetings against their longtime rival

John Blue Plate Special

Got to the Fours around 6:10 and the bar was packed.  Made my way around to the left side of the bar near theYvan Cournoyer #12 Montreal shirt.  That was a bad sign. In the past, the staff has been known to cover this over with a black trash bag on game days when the Habs are in town.  Last night, it was out there in plain sight.

Finally landed a seat around 6:25, but I wasn't startving.  So took a cue from Pete and went with the cup of Chilli.  It was fantastic!  Thick and hearty, loaded with meat and beans, capped off with melted cheddar and studded with totilla chip, it hit the spot.

The Couture Corner

As much as I hate the Canadiens, you have to admit that their uniforms have a certain timeless, classic look to them.  Some of the greatest players in the game have donned those colors: the Richards, Cournoyer, Harvey, LaFleur, Robinson, Roy.

Then there's this one:

Michael Ryder?

He had a couple of good seasons before he ended up in the coach's doghouse up there.  Of all of the players to choose from, you waste you money on this?

The call?

No good!

But then there was this guy:

1975-76 Bobby Orr

In 1976, the local teams wore commemorative patches for the Massachusetts Bicentennial.  They all were the same design, but rendered in team specific colors.  I own a 1975 Mitchell & Ness Carlton Fisk away jersey that has this same patch on the shoulders.

I've seen many Bobby Orr replica sweaters.  I own 2 different ones myself.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post, many times these are created with good intentions, but the execution leaves much to be desired.  In the case of this guy, he gets major kudos as he's the first one I've seen with commemorative patches done right.

The word from the off ice official?


The Row 12 Rundown

For the first time all year, seat 9 was not occupied by Heather.  I think she had wickid saahs or something. Despite valliant efforts to medicate and/or rest up, she could not answer the 7:00 bell and so we went to the bench and called in everyone's favorite blogger, Mr. Garrett Quinn.

Doosh of the Day

Far too often, Garden security is lacking.  I've been to many different hockey arenas, and at every single one (other than the Garden), the ushers stop people from either going to or leaving their seat while the puck is in play. 'Wait for the whistle' is the mantra.

However, at the Garden, ushers enforce this haphazardly at best. Ushers are staffed at the bottom of our section only part of the time and rarely, if ever, do we have the same person for more than one game.  When they are there, many times they fail to stop people from moving while the game is going on, despite the large signs stationed at each entrance telling people to wait for a stoppage in play.

Sadly, we, as season ticket holders who show up for game after game, have to take this into our own hands at times.  We try to be as polite as possible, but when people talk back to us or pay no heed to our requests, we might get a bit more demanding.  It certainly doesn't help that I have a short temper, but common courtesy is woefully lacking in today's society and I'll be damned if the actions of a few take away from the enjoyment of the majority of us.  Nothing is worse than missing a goal because someone was standing up in front of you at an inappropriate time (and yes, there are definitely times where standing up is ok).

Now as far as last night was concerned, I got into shouting match with the people in the row in front of me.  I was backed up by others in the section, especially Chris Kasper.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.  Yet, when the girls got up, their male companions defended them with the age old excuse: "it's their first time here".

That's BS. That's no excuse.  Common sense would dictate that you don't do it.

Despite all this, I am not nominating the row 11 crew or the ushers for Doosh of the Day.

Rather, I'm splitting the award between the scumbag who narc'ed on me to the Garden security and the guy who owns those 6 seats in row 11.

When the security guard approached me to issue a warning, I simply told her that if they did their jobs, there would be no reason for them to have to come up to the seats.

As for Mr. Season ticket owner, not once has this guy ever shown up to sit in his seats.  He simply buys them to resell.  And more often than not, the people he sells them to are jerks.

The Clothes Line

From afar, I noticed a couple of regulars that I see at the games - Andy Brickley guy and Vladimir Rusicka guy.  Unfortunately, I was unable to snap pictures of their sweaters.

But I would be remiss not to give you, dear reader, something to work with, so please allow me to introduce you to this guy:

No, not Garrett.  The guy next him.  Andy Moog.

Great goalie, one of my favorites growing up as he led the B's to 2 Stanley Cup finals, losing to the juggernaut Edmonton Oilers both times.

As for what I wore - well, it was an original 6 game aginst our most hated rival.  How could I not wear the 1991-2 75th anniversary Neely?

The Lobel Prize

Fortunately, the Candiens feature only one ex-Bruin.  Unfortunately, it's Hall Gill.

For those who don't know, Gill is a 6'7" defenseman who played 8 seasons for the Bruins, scoring 20 goals and 77 assists along with 588 penalty minutes.  Sadly, for someone with that size, he played not nearly as physical as he should have, far too often relying on his long reach rather than checking.  His complete lack of speed rendered him nothing short of a traffic cone, especially against speedy waterbugs like Brian Gionta and Saku Koivu.

After his stint with the Bruins, he moved on to the Leafs and then the Penguins where he somehow won a Stanley Cup. He signed with Montreal last year and now he's an assistant captain. Sacre Bleu!

Despite the fact that the B's lost, I can take solace knowing that Gill only had 2 shots in 12:40 of ice time and did not factor into the scoring.

The Home End

Just like last week, the Bruins were playing their second game in as many nights, coming off a huge 7-4 comeback victory over the Penguins.  Given the fact that they were going all out on Wednesday night, it came as no surprise that they didn't have the legs to match the Habs' speed.  Combine that with the penalty killers yielding a pair of power play goals and the result is not unexpected.

Next up is a Saturday night tilt against the other Canadian divisional opponent, the Ottawa Senators.

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