I've been slacking lately with all the hockey that's been going on in my life, so I'm willing to bet this post will escalate into something ridiculous, length-wise. Most importantly I was at the Red Wings/Oilers game last night, which probably turned out to be the best NHL game I've seen all season. I wasn't taking notes, but I do have observations - though most of the are admittedly Oil based since (ashamedly) I was paying more attention to them, but hell I can see the Red Wings anytime!
- Seeing that Yzerman banner up there with the little C on it for the first time...I think I teared up again. Not to take any credit away from Nik because he's doing wonderfully and I couldn't have asked for a better replacement, but I'll never stop missing Stevie Y.
- I'd seen earlier in the day that Pisani and Tjarnqvist were likely to play that night, but when I went down to take pictures during the warmup and saw them both my heart just rose a little bit - the Oilers needed that.
- Smid is SO TALL. I've known this, but seeing it in person was still ridiculous - for some reason as babyfaced as he looks I just picture him to be like...well at the very least no more than Ales height, and then he's got another four inches. Also he was really feisty last night in a good way, picking little scrums all over the place and sticking up for his teammates - though I think my favorite was him bitching at Cleary (the word fuck was involved) and then immediately quipping "...sorry" and kind of glowering and nodding his head adamantly at the guy.
- Ryan Smyth is SO LOUD on the ice. I was up 15th row off the faceoff circles and I could hear him yell "HORC! HORC OVER HERE!" like he was standing next to me.
- The Oil started off worrisome - after two quick goals from the Red Wings I was starting to panic a little - even though honestly if my home team won I wouldn't be that upset - and wondering if I'd be getting to see Jussi play tonight. But then they pulled it back together and stopped taking inane penalties (what on earth was that mess in the first period? Though Raffi did take two unnecessary penalties later on to cut off Oil powerplays, as per usual.) played defense. I know, I know, the Oilers played defense! And strong defense too - these looked like two evenly matched teams out there.
- I really think announcers should be forced to learn IPA and all player names be given to them thusly. Ryan Smyth with a long i sound on the y, Valtteri FilPPULA after he explicitly asked them to place the stress on the other syllable, Toby Petter-son, and most importantly Alexis (ALEXIS!?) Hemsky didn't need to happen, especially with the frequency they did.
- Hemsky is just beautiful to watch on ice. I couldn't actually believe it when he fell over on that quasi-breakaway at the end, because he'd just been that fluid and gorgeous with the puck the whole rest of the night. (I will refrain from making the "needs to shoot more" comment because I know by now that he will not.)
- It could be argued that Dom cost the Wings this game in a way - that take out at the knees poke check move of his is impressive when it works, but lately...well, it hasn't. And Marty Reasoner got a garbage goal for his attempts this time. And then he tried to do a similar ridiculous thing in the OT which had us all out of our seats SCREAMING at him (the guys behind me had a brilliant hilarious conversation that included the line, "GET BACK IN THE NET YOU FUCKING RUSSIAN!" Geniuses).
- Roli baseball-batting the puck at the end of regulation - I love him so much. I wish I'd gotten to see him do it in play, but I wonder, considering he cites Dom as where he learned this from, if he did it on purpose because of that.
- I was almost surprised to see Hemsky get a shot in the shootout but it was amazing to watch all the same, even though Dom stopped it. Smytty, of course, pulled off the only goal the whole time. What surprised me, though, was the way the Wings played the shootout at all - Zetterberg flubbed his shot, but then Pavel came out and tried to pull off the EXACT same move (which Roloson played beautifully), an admirable attempt if he was thinking that maybe Roli wouldn't expect the same thing twice - but then Williams did the same thing too? That one I'm not quite sure I could buy.
I haven't been to an AHL game since I was younger and used to catch Marlies games sometimes, but this one was an excellent game to be at. It fell in somewhere between NHL action and the CCHA Broncos games I'm used to (speaking of which we are kicking ass; five straight wins to head off into the playoffs), and the fans around us really got into it. Ty played an admittedly good game (I PANICKED whenever he went around behind the net - that, I don't think, will ever stop) even though it ended in (barely) a shootout loss, and only one of the goals he let in was sort of awful - and everyone looked like they were having so much fun. Popperle looked good in warmup and Konopka laid on a few nice hits. The Griffins were sharp as well; Matt Ellis is going to be quite the player and Syvret was playing good as well.
It was nice seeing the farm team play - a little like looking into the future. I'm hoping to get up there and catch a few more games this season now.
The important ending to this story is that yours truly, after wandering around the stadium about five times in hopes that we would miraculously find the players leaving the building, stumbled on Ty and a Crunch friend heading out the front gates - and actually, after a minute of staring senselessly at my luck, nabbed him to chat for a few minutes and take a picture. Friendly guy, ridiculously cute in street clothes, and more than willing to help out a girl who made him a ridiculous sign (Elly said she wouldn't be happy unless "You can Ty me.....to your BED" happened - so it did.)
Not that I've forgiven him or anything. But seriously. It was pretty hilarious.
And that's it for me, finally - GO WINGS!