Saturday, February 5, 2011

Postgame Recap: February 3 - Majors, Minors, Misconducts, Oh My!

November 11, 2008.

Boston Bruins 5, Dallas Stars 1.

A Saturday night. A packed house.

It was the game that galvanized that Bruins team and defined that season.

6 fighting majors, 7 misconducts and 144 total penalty minutes.  But it was more than just the fact that the Bruins fought.  They stuck up for one another and imposed their will on their opponent, establishing a sense of purpose and an esprit de corps.  Cheap shot artists such as Sean Avery and Steve Ott were forced to answer for their acts of cowardice.  Tim Thomas, en route to the Vezina, backstopped the Bruins making 35 saves and Marco Sturm netted 2 goals to lead the offense.

It was the most exciting game of the year.  To this day, it remains one of the most remembered and most discussed games in recent memory.

And so, this past Thursday night found the Bruins facing off against the Dallas franchise at home for the first time since that fateful night (they did meet in Dallas on October 16, 2009 with the Bruins shutting out the Stars 3-0).

Let's see how it played out.

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #51, home game #25
  • Boston Bruins (29-15-7, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. Dallas Stars (30-16-5, 1st in Pacific Div.)
  • Only meeting of the season between these two teams
John Blue Plate Special

I got out of work a few minutes late, but traffic wasn't that bad getting into the city.  Because of the latest snow storm, on street parking in Cambridge was at a premium.  And frankly, with the roads so narrow, I really didn't want to chance my mirrors getting clipped, so I stashed my car in the T lot at Lechmere.

After waiting 10 minutes for an inbound train (which wasn't all that bad, considering the lengthy delays and cancellations that were plaguing the system for the past week or so), I got into North Station around 6:35.  I called Heather to gauge her ETA and popped into the Fours to see how bad the crowd was.  She was running late, so I was on my own.  At this point I was faced in a quandary: grab a bite at the bar and risk missing the start of the game, or head into the Garden and grab some food inside.  After a brief consultation with my partner in crime, we decided that it would probably be best to skip the Fours and concentrate our efforts on getting there early on Saturday for the pregame before the matinee tilt against San Jose.

Long story short, I grabbed a couple of hot dogs (at least they were Nathan's Famous) and a Dos Equis and headed up to 307.  The dogs were decent, but they can't hold a candle to the cuisine across the street.

The Couture Corner

Up until Reebok inflicted it's Edge System plague on the NHL, the Stars had one of the best sets of sweaters in the league. A take on the 1994-7 All Star jerseys, Dallas introduced the star template as a third sweater during the 1997-8 season, even successfully petitioning the NHL to allow them to wear it through the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.  They were unique and very fitting for a team named the Stars.  Easily one of my all time favorites. Near perfection.

So what did Reebok do to the Stars? Sterilized them, of course.

Dallas has a great logo, but the ad wizards decided it would be better to relegate it and utilize a generic city name emblazoned across the chest NBA-style, replete with with front numbers.  Look, this look works for a college team like Boston University, but it looks amateurish in the NHL.  The one sweater that does feature the official crest has those insipid TV numbers on the upper right front of the jersey to ruin the look.  The green that was prominently featured in the past has been reduced to an nothing more than an accent color.  And the alternate uniform is white, just like the normal road one. Good grief.

But there is hope. Rumors persist that Dallas will introduce a new look next year, possibly bringing back a green sweater.  Let us all hope that this is indeed the c

With that said, it was time to see what was in the offering in the crowd.  It was looking pretty bleak at first - a customized original Dallas sweater with some guys own last name ('Aguiar') on it didn't make the cut. Nor did a blank Minnesota North Stars one (I already covered that one).

Eventually I saw this girl:

Late 90's-Early 00's Mike Modano

When you think of the Dallas Stars, one player comes to mind - Mike Modano.  When the North Stars moved south from Minneapolis to Dallas in 1993, Modano, then in his fourth full season, came along for the ride.  He was the first overall pick in the 1988 NHL entry draft, led the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup championship and is the all time leader in goals, points, assists and games played not just for the Stars franchise, but for all American born players as well.

The call?


 The Row 12 Rundown

307 was back in order for this one. Everyone was present and accounted for, including John Barry, who had seat 11 for the night.

Doosh of the Day

Not to sound like a broken record, but I'm going to give Doosh of the Day status to the large, unkempt doofus in row 9 who seriously stood up and/or left his seat repeatedly throughout the game, particularly during the run of play.

I seriously have no idea why this guy was there.  It certainly wasn't to see the game.  Fortunately, none of his shenanigans prevented us from missing the good stuff at the beginning of the game.  Oh wait, that's because he wasn't in his seat yet.

The Clothes Line

I saw a lady down in section 8 wearing a John Carter away sweater, but I couldn't get a decent picture of it.  Damn, because that was a great (and rare) catch.

Fortunately, I did see this guy during the first intermission:

1970 Bobby Orr All Star

To be honest, this isn't a great sweater.  It's a knockoff that isn't a true reproduction of the original.  The shoulder striping is wrong.  These pop up on eBay every once in a while.  I certainly commend the effort and the intention is good, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

The Lobel Prize

As this game was approaching, there was a distinct possibility that we could have a matchup between two goalies that are forever linked in Bruins history: Tuuka Rask and Andrew Raycroft.

Raycroft was drafted by the Bruins in the 1998 NHL entry draft and made a few appearances with the big club starting in the 2001-2 season. But he stormed on the scene big time in 2003-4 as he backstopped the Bruins, finishing with a 29-18-9 record en route to capturing the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.

After playing in Finland during the lockout season in 2004-5, his play slipped considerably the following year and he was dished off to the Maple Leafs in exchange for a hotshot Finnish goalie prospect named Tuuka Rask.  Raycroft had a decent first season with the Leafs, but his play slipped yet again (notice a trend here?) and he was eventually waived.  Since then, he's been a backup with the Avalanche, Canucks and now the Stars.

So how did he do?  You be the judge:

Yep. 2 goals in 1:20 and he got pulled for Kari Lehtonen.  That works for me.

The Home End
Simply put, this may have been the greatest start to a game I've ever witnessed in person.

4 seconds in and we already had 3 fights:

Gregory Campbell vs. Steve Ott
Shawn Thornton vs. Krys Barch
Andrew McQuaid vs. Brian Sutherby

120 seconds in and we had a 2-0 lead on scores by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron.

60 minutes later we had a final score of 6-3 and 91 minutes in penalties including 8 fighting majors, 2 misconducts and a game misconduct.  The line of Bergeron, Marchand and Recchi combined for 3 goals and 6 assists.

But it was the fact that the Bruins came out strong from literally the first second and imposed their will on the Stars with their physicality and pressure.  They skated hard and finished their checks (although Daniel Paille probably shouldn't have in retrospect) and let it be known that when they play with focus and determination, they can hang with anyone in the NHL.

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