Sunday, February 6, 2011

Postgame Recap: February 5 - Not So Juicy Couture

After all the excitement the other night, this game was sure be a letdown of sorts.  Sure, the game action was bound to lack some degree of the pugilistic aggressiveness that the Bruins displayed against the Stars. But, given the fact that San Jose's minor league affiliate is based in Worcester, there were bound to be a number of Sharks fans in the house and that means a lot of teal.  A metric boatload of it.  Or so I thought.  Would my expectations be met?

And given the Bruins historic failure rate when it comes to Saturday afternoon matinees, my hopes weren't exactly what you'd call great for a decent on-ice performance either.

Let's see how it played out

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #52, home game #26
  • Boston Bruins (30-15-7, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. San Jose Sharks (27-19-6, 2nd in Pacific Div.)
  • Only meeting of the season between these two teams

John Blue Plate Special

Any time the Bruins have a huge win, I get all superstitious and debate whether or not I should order the same meal at the next game. But when that meal consists of 2 hot dogs and a beer inside the Garden, all woefully overpriced to begin with, it's a non-starter, especially when I am afforded the opportunity to get to the Four's really early.

One of the few benefits of the Saturday matinee games is that I get to drive into the city without traffic, as I am coming into town from my home and not work.  More often than not, I'll park at Sullivan Square and take the orange line into North Station.  Occasionally, I'll plan on staying in town for a bit after the game and park at the Government Center Garage instead, figuring the convenience more than makes up for the additional cost.

So I got to the Four's around 11:00 and headed upstairs to grab a couple of seats at the bar.

In the past, the bar carried Fox Soccer Channel as part of their TV package, so on Saturday mornings I would come in and watch whatever EPL match was on.  But at some point last year, the bar management decided to get rid of the channel.  So now the only soccer I get is whatever match ESPN decides to show and my conversations with Kenny (Liverpool supporter) and Ian (Arsenal supporter). Boo, I say.

Heather arrived so thereafter and we were both starving, so we went with the tried and true Larry Bird in a wrap with bacon, bbq sauce on the side, and onion rings.  Delicious.

The Couture Corner

When the Sharks entered the league back in 1991, they unleashed a chromatic fury upon professional sports known as the teal craze. It was so different from any other color scheme that teams were wearing.  And their logo ushered in a new wave of cartoonish designs that featured aggressive characters set against a geometric shaped background, much like the Penguins, Canucks and Thrashers as well a host of minor league teams.

Teal was the ultimate 90's color - new, bold, different.  But it certainly doesn't stand the test of time. Other 90's expansion teams that used the color have either reduced it down to an accent color it (Florida Marlins),  emphasized other colors (Jacksonville Jaguars) or eliminated it outright (Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies).  But the Shark has soldiered on with it, tweaking their sweater designs along the way, modifying the crest, and bringing in orange as an accent color.  And you know what, they kind of pull it off.  They've embraced it .  It's almost synonymous with them.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of their current look.  I certainly like the template they are using (shared with team such as the Bruins and Devils), but I think it's actually a bit too conservative a design for a team like San Jose.  And the block font they use for their nameplates is a too narrow to read from far distances.  But, hey they could be worse, right?

As I said earlier, with the Sharks having their minor league affiliate based in Worcester, there were bound to be a good number of Sharks fans in attendance, much like when the Kings are in town.  And I fully expected to see most of them decked out in newer sweaters. But I figured there would be some original style sweaters as well.  Sure enough, I found one:


1995-8 Owen Nolan Away

Nolan was one of San Jose's first star players, having joined them in 1995 via a trade with the just-relocated Colorado Avalanche for Sandis Ozolinsh.  He was 5 time all star and captained the Sharks from 1998 to 2003.

The call?


Good!

And now for some bonus coverage:


Late 80's Dino Ciccarelli Minnesota North Stars away

I have no ide why this guy wore this sweater to the game.  The Bruins played the Stars the game before this one. Ciccarelli is a new inductee to the Hall of Fame. In any case, this sweater is awesome.  And that's despite the fact that I hated Dino as a player.

One more (this one's for you, George!):


1980 Ken Morrow USA home sweater

Again, I don't know why this guy wore this sweater to this particular game.  Morrow was on the Miracle on Ice team and played his entire career for the Islanders.

But what I lime about this one is that it is different from all the other 1980 sweaters that I usually see.  And for the most part, that means Mike Eruzione ones.  And I love Mike Eruzione.  He's another quality North Shore Individual (from Winthrop).  You might see a Jim Craig one, but this is the first Morrow one I've seen.

The Row 12 Rundown

A rarity for a Saturday afternoon game, we were graced with the presence of Tim and Maureen Barry.  And Robyn had the honors for seat 11, even though she sat in 7 because Keith was downstairs and there was a SJ fan in seat 10.

Doosh of the Day

We got inside early and had a few minutes to kill, so Heather insisted that we check out the fanzone shop behind section 19.

That's when I noticed that there was a sizeable amount of Hartford Whalers apparel for sale.  Yep, the Hartford Whalers.

WTF?

I know the Whalers are long gone.  I know a good number of the Whalers fans switched allegiances to the Bruins in their absence.  I know the franchise started out as the New England Whalers.

But you know what else? They are a different team.  Not only were they a division rival back in the day, but their successers down in Carolina have been a playoff opponent a few times now, including the heartbreaking 7 game defeat in 2009.

What the hell is this stuff taking up precious real estate in the Garden?  Yes, Howard Baldwin has tried to evoke the spirit of the team by re-branding the Hartford Wolfpack as the Connecticut Whale (replete with the blue & green color scheme) and I know CCM has acquired rights from the city of Hartford to reproduce replica Whalers sweaters, but come on. This is Boston, not Hartford.  Let them sell Whalers gear, not us.

So I'm giving Doosh of the Day to whoever at Deleware North decided it was good idea to carry these items for sale at the Garden.

The Clothes Line

Far too many times I see fans wearing sweaters of legendary players.  Problem is that a bunch of them are wearing sweaters that those players never wore: Cam Neely on the current sweater, Bobby Orr on the Winter Classic one even Ray Bourque on the 1970s style ones.

So it was refreshing to see this guy do it up right:


1970 Gerry Cheevers home (by Mitchell & Ness)

To only know Cheesie by his famous mask would be to do him a major disservice.  He was the backstop behind the last 2 Bruins Stanley Cups.  In 1972, he set a record by going undefeated in 33 straight games.

He had two tours of duty with the Bruins, separated by a stint in the WHA with the Cleveland Crusaders. After his retirement, he coached the Bruins for a few years and later served as a TV analyst and a pro scout.  He was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

The Lobel Prize

Unless you've lived under a rock for the last 6 years, you know that Joe Thornton plays for San Jose.

You probably know the significant details: 1st overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins, 100 point scorer in 2002-3, team captain. But he was also stuck with a less-than-flattering label: underacheiver.

The prevailing wthought was that for a player of his size and skill, he should be planted out in front of the net, banging bodies and clearing space while putting pucks into the net.  Unlike Cam Neely who was a wing player and a scorer, Joe was a center who could dish as well as score.  But Jumbo Joe had a propensity to camp out behind the net, content to feather passes to a cutting Glen Murray or Mike Knuble and avoiding the physical demands of playing out in the slot.  It worked, to a degree.  Murray put up career numbers and Knuble reingnighted himself playing alongside Thornton.  But fans were always left wondering "what-if".  What if Joe got out front more?  What if he played the body more? What if he shot more? What if he was more vocal on the ice?

I'm of the camp that says that Joe was unfairly saddled with the captaincy of the Bruins.  He was named captain in 2002 at the age of 23.  At that time, the Bruins had a couple of veteran players on the roster who were probably better suited for the role: Don Sweeney, Brian Rolston, even Sean O'Donnell. I think that the role added an additional burden on him and because he wasn't all that extroverted, fans assigned far too much of the blame for their playoff woes on him.  He did play with a broken rib in that fateful 2004 series against Montreal that severly hindered him and I think had he been healthy, the outcome might have been different.

Alas, he was traded to the Sharks in 2005 for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. Not one of those 3 are with the Bruins today.

As far as this game was concerned, here was his stat line:

18:02 TOI, 2 penalty minutes, zero shots.

Yep, meet the new Joe, same as the old Joe.

The Home End

Everything the game against the Stars was, this game wasn't.

Boring doesn't even begin to describe this one.

43 shots on net. Total. 0-4 on the PP for the Bruins.

As usual, the Bruins looked like they stayed up too late the night before and forgot they had an early afternoon game.  Zdeno Chara looked positively somnabulant.

Save for a Logan Couture PP goal (his rookie leading 23rd of the season) and a Devin Setoguchi ENG, San Jose was just as bad.

I more than happy to forget this one and move on to the next game - a matchup with the rival Canadiens at home.

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