23 January 2007

Maple Leafs v Penguins

Yes, this is just a few days late, but aside from getting in at 3am Monday morning, going to class, work, sleeping 4 hours and then class again, this was as soon as I could get on a computer longer than 5 minutes. I won't do a full play-by-play, others have done it enough, but there are a few things I wanted to mention:

If I could have picked one game this season to go to, this would have been the game. Not only did we completely school the Leafs 8-2, Recchi had a hat-trick, Malkin was on fire, Sidney got a goal, and I got to tell off a Leafs fan that said 'find a home, Pens!' in response to 'go home Leafs!'. The only thing missing from this game was a Belak/Ruutu scrap in the 3rd.

1st period was good, still pretty even, but mostly a routine game so far. The 2nd had Recchi's hat trick, an injured ref, more chanting, shouting, and cat-calling than I can remember, and a girl who kept holding up a sign that said, 'Jordan Staal, will you go to the prom with me?' There was another one, held up by a similar teenie-bopper pretty girl that was something in Russian (for Malkin, I can only assume), that I couldn't read. It was large, pink, and had hearts on it. I can only guess what it said, but I am guessing it wasn't anything about his ability to play hockey.

The real meat of this game came in the 3rd. After realizing that the Penguins were going to keep on bending them over, the Leafs turned nasty. So did their fans. Pittsburgh's finest had to come in, break up several fights in the stands, kick a lot of people out, and still there were people, like a Leafs' fan walking up the isle two sections over giving Pens fans the 1-finger salute, that were around. I'm happy to say that that particular guy got stopped by some big Pittsburgh dude, beer in hand, and the other hand pointing and waving as they argued. The players weren't much better. Thorburn is my hero from that game, he kept getting caught into fights, one with McCabe and one with Gill, that ended up involving the rest of the players on the ice (the second one with Gill had Sidney in the middle trying to tell off some big 6'4 Leafs enforcer. It was really cute). Both of those got 5 minute majors, as did many other people during the night for misconduct, fighting, and unsportsmanlike conduct. I think about 5 players left the game during the last half of the 3rd, the penalty boxes were full, and still scraps happened. I remember one in particular that started at the face off circle near us. McCabe and Malkin were to one side, waiting for the ref to drop the puck, and McCabe just kept pushing and smacking the back of Geno's head before even the puck dropped. McCabe wasn't even watching the play, he just wanted to pick a fight. As soon as the ref let of the puck another tussle broke out, Orpik, who also gets love for this game, came over and started in with McCabe for him smacking Geno. Talbot then got into another fight with Green right after that, and then people stopped paying attention to the puck, hit it around a few times, and the game was done. My friend Beth, who travelled down with me and is a huge Leafs fan, left with about a minute left in the game because she couldn't stand to see the rest.

Some thoughts:

-Malone's goal in the 3rd was the cutest goal I have ever seen in my life. Malone scored off of a Malkin pass, Malkin came over and literally jumped into Malone's arms. Malone and Malkin are both big guys (over 6'1), so to see them do that was a funny picture. Both were laughing, smiling, and Malone didn't even flinch when he caught Malkin. It looked like they practiced it. What are they doing in the dressing room?

-Thorburn and Orpik were spectacular. Oulette was as well, and Ruutu made a great shot during the first. Wonder what Ferraro thinks now? Too bad that didn't happen during the Flyers game.

-Leafs fans are crazy.

-I saw two Tie Domi jerseys, both by the penalty box. Coincidence?

-I felt bad for Thibault having the stand during the entire game in the tunnel.

-There needs to be more Tim Horton's on 90 through New York. Cherry Timbits will never be the same.

-Pittsburgh was a nice city with some interesting street designs and buildings. It was really nice to get a chance to see it, and the people were friendlier than I thought they would be for a city.

-I finally got to make a 'Sudden Death' joke in the Mellon. Beth didn't get it.

All in all, it was an incredible weekend and a fantastic game. I'd love to go back, and next time I'm flying. Driving 13 hours one way is too much. It was also disheartening to come back and read some rather distressing news this morning about the Arena talks (it was also very nice to talk to random people in Pittsburgh about said Arena deal and have them know what the hell I was talking about and be interested in it). Houston? That might be worse than Kansas City.

Some other notes:

-Schedule may go back to the old way. No more four games of just the Islanders.

-Wank about the new uniforms. The quote at the bottom was pretty good.

-Thoughts about Forsberg's career.

There's more on the Penguins and the All-Star game, but I haven't had time to read it all yet.

YoungStars and Skills Competition tonight.


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