Sunday, March 6, 2011

Postgame Recap: March 3 - Ride the Lightning

Hey there.  Long time, no see.

It's been a while since the Bruins have played a home game, having gone on an epic six game road trip first on LongIsland (one word), then a jaunt to western Canada sandwiched around tilts in Ottawa.

And along the way they managed to pick up a few new players.  Shockingly, they were able to procure a long sought after player who fills a key need and has plenty of tread left on the tires while also upgrading two forward positions all while sheeding a bit of salary. Even better, they didn't wait until the last minute to make these upgades.

The result?  A six game winning streak, the acquisition and seemless integration of Mssrs. Kelly, Peverley and Kaberle into the fold and a team that looks like it has the ability to make a run in the playoffs.

Which all leads to last night.  First game back on home ice after 15 days away.

Let's see how it played out:

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #63, home game #31
  • Boston Bruins (37-19-7, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (37-19-7, 1st in Southeast Div.)
  • Fourth and final meeting of the season between these two teams with the Bruins losing the first game but winning the last two, including an 8-1 shellacking at home on December 2nd.
John Blue Plate Special

A prompt 5:00 departure from work and a wide open Pike inside the Weston tolls led to a relatively quick arrival at the Fours, to the point that I got there before Heather did.  Downstairs was completely packed so I headed upstairs to grab a drink from the MacGregor father/son bartending duo.  In the meantime, Heather arrived on the scene and managed to grab a seat downstairs.  So I headed back down and within minutes I had managed to get a seat myself.

But when it came time to order, we were faced with a bit of a quandary: do we go with the buffalo chicken mac and cheese with all of its cheesy gooey goodness or do we go with the old standby - the Larry Bird wrap?

Despite being completely delectable, we were 0-2 in the buffalo chicken man and cheese era.  With the Bruins on a hot streak and playing an important game with playoff seeding on line line, we decided that this was not the most opportune time to continue the experiment and we went with the wrap.

The Couture Corner

In my December 2 recap, I discussed how the current Tampa Bay uniforms bring nothing to the table from an aesthetic standpoint.  Since then, the Lightning have announced plans to redo their look for the 2011-2 season.

Initially, the new owner planned on changing their sweaters to a simple two-tone blue and white look using the same exact Pantone colors as the Maple Leafs and nearly the same striping pattern as the Red Wings, all in the played out name of "creating a classic, timeless look".  They would be eliminating the black and silver completely from their color scheme.  Knowing that Wings great Steve Yzerman now runs the hockey operation in Tampa, this change had it's fingerprints all over it.

Except that a timeless, classic look doesn't work for the Lightning.  They are only 20 years old as a franchise.  They do not have a long and storied history, yet.  They do have their own history including a Stanley Cup in 2004 and they have a unique color scheme.  And they have some unique styling elements that they have employed since day one: the lightning bolts on their pants and their so called 'victory stripes' under their sleeves.

So when the preliminary designs were released a good number of Tampa Bay fans were less than impressed.  They didn't like the lack of black and silver.  They didn't like the lack of the lightning bolts on the pants.  They didn't like the lack of the victory stripes.  And a lot of them didn't like the revised primary (chest) and secondary (shoulder) logos.  The primary one has been compared to the Flash Gordon logo ad nausem by now and the secondary one is just another in a long line of pedestrian team logos featured in a circle with text circumscribed around it, much like Columbus, Florida, Minnesota, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.  This is a trend that needs to end.  And soon.

After a flashy public presentation, the Tampa Bay ownership listened to fan feedback.  And in a twist, they listened to what the fans had to say.  The fans clearly wanted the bolts on the pants and the addition of black back into the color scheme.  The problem is, it still doesn't look great.  The bolts are a nice addition (and should never have been left out in the first place), but the solution to adding black to the sweaters was to add a outline on the numbers only.  Without black on the sweater elsewhere, it looks incongruous. One of the theories that I've read as to why this is so is because the team went ahead and started producing sweaters with the original design and it was too late to change them, so they did what they could by modifying the numbers.  It's good that they tried to make them better, but the process seems a bit flawed and the final product is still lacking.

That said, I still was unable to find a Tampa sweater of any significance in the stands at the game.

But there was this beauty:

1994-5 Peter Forsberg Quebec Nordiques away

Foppa may have recently hung up the skates permanently, but this replica of his rookie year sweater is one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to hockey attire.  I love the look of the Nordiques - unique colors, the Fleur de Lis, the fact that they were from Quebec, but were not the Canadiens.

The Row 11 Rundown

Most of the usual suspects were in the house for this one - the Barrys, the Hoyts, the row 15 crew.  Charla and Kathi were there, but they were sans kids. Ladies night out, I guess.

Doosh of the Day

Amazingly, there was an extremely low level of doosh-i-ness at the game.  No people getting up during while the puck was in play, no belligerent drunks, no people taking flash photo after flash photo of themselves over an over again.

So I was actually a bit hard pressed to find a person worthy of DotD.  Then I heard the kid sitting in front of me who was wearing a Nordiques t shirt answer the trivia question about a Norris trophy winner with "Wayne Gretzky".  You're not a Nordiques fan, you're just a friggin wannabe hipster.  Fail.

The Clothes Line

On our way into the Garden via the west entrance I was blown away by what I saw.  Walking out in the opposite direction was a guy wearing a Dave Reid sweater.  Black with the number 17 on it.  Whoa.

This was a sweater from Reid's second stint with the Bruins (he wore #34 and #36 in his first go around with the Bruins from 1984 to 1988).  But I've never, ever seen a Dave Reid sweater in the 1977-95 version.  Sadly, I wasn't able to get a good photo at all.  Big time bummer.

Was Dave Reid a star? Far from it.  But he was a defensive stalwart and a solid all around player when he was here.  He didn't specialize in any particular aspect, which is why I think this sweater is one of my favorites that I have seen this season.  No one else has one, so it's original.  And I wish I had it.

As for what I wore, I went with the 1996 Ray Bourque.  After all, he did set the Bruins career scoring record against Tampa Bay.

The Lobel Prize

Nate Thompson remains the lone former Bruin on the Tampa Bay roster.  In 10:10 of ice time, he registered one shot with no points or penalty minutes.  He was barely noticeable.

The Home End

A game at home after a long road trip is usually a recipe for disaster.  A six game winning streak was on the line against a team with the same exact record fighting for second place in the conference standings.

Truth be told, we were expecting some sort of letdown.  But this couldn't have been anything but.  A tight, well fought game with plenty of hitting as well as flowing play.  Tampa Bay decided to play backup goalie Mike Smith over Dwayne Roloson.  The same Mike Smith who was pulled in the third period of the December game after giving up 5 goals in two periods.  But he came to play.  And Tim Thomas was stellar as well.  The result? A hard fought 2-1 victory, much like a great pitchers duel in baseball.  And the winning streak reached seven.

But even better was the fact that I walked out of the game with a huge smile on my face.  Not only because the Bruins won, but because it was a great crowd.  A full house with a playoff like atmosphere where fans were in their seats from the first drop of the puck right up to the final whistle.  And everyone was focused on the play on the ice.  No drunk idiots, no one getting up at the wrong time, just hockey. I can honestly say that it was my favorite game to be at of the season.

1 comment:

  1. Dave Reid is one of my all-time favorite Bruins. I would totally rock one of his jerseys. I'm glad someone else is currently representing.