Rinkside…kind of

Pre-game skate view from my seat.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going to a Flyers game.  I haven’t been able to navigate arena type places for about five years, and I haven’t had the stamina to do much, until this past year.  So, as a treat to myself, I bought a pair of Deathlok’s season tickets (loved the reserved parking, btw) and went off to see the Flyers take on the Buffalo Sabres.

The first period started off with both teams looking like they had too much turkey in the tank.  The Flyers’, Ross, took a nasty hit and hit is head on the glass and then as he fell to the ice, his chin hit the ledge of the boards.  While the Sabres took an early lead, the Flyers came back at the end of the period to score two quick goals.  It gave all of the rowdy fans hope, and it shut the annoying Sabres fans up (they were a few rows behind me and some were a few rows over…wanted to hit them).

In the second and third periods, though, some things that I noticed about the Flyers from the beginning of the game really hurt their chances.  I noticed they were having a hard time making their passes connect.  They also weren’t getting the rebounds when they put their shots on net.  Both teams seemed a little sluggish, so I won’t comment on the lack of speed; however, while watching them, I got a deep appreciation for the teams I’ve been lucky to watch that had John LeClair, et al.  The team I saw yesterday just seemed so out of sync and without a plan.  I don’t know if that is a coaching thing or if it is a bunch of guys, with talent, just not getting their heads together.  I don’t want to be hyper-critical, as I couldn’t shoot a puck more than one mile per hour.  The team does seem to lack some finesse, though.

Aside from the game being a bummer, I did have a pretty good time.  The folks sitting to my right were friendly.  I got to see a few fights.  Carcillo made life fun by beating the crap out of a Sabre.  Me thinks the two have had a few tangles…well, I know they have, and boy did they exchange words.

I also saw something you never want to see happen at a hockey game (aside from Ross getting hit from behind):  a player take a puck to the face.  When Laperriere got smacked in the kisser with a puck, though, he took the towel from the trainer, got up on his own and made his way to the bench.  He did make a few stops along the way.  At first, I thought it was because of the pain, which I am sure he was experiencing big-time, since he lost a handful of teeth and needed 50 stitches to close the now-flapping split lip.  But, from what I could gather, he was stopping to spit out those teeth, since the refs and others were picking them up and throwing them over the boards to get them off of the ice.

A couple entertaining segments were had during the second intermission and during the last five minutes of the game.  During the second intermission, the mighty mites got to play.  This has always been my favorite intermission activity to watch.  I love watching little kids play hockey.  They used to have three games the width of the ice; however, they have changed it to one team playing each other the full length of the ice.  One little kid got a breakaway and scored.  He was interviewed on the scoreboard as the star of the game, and boy if he wasn’t just the cutest little kid.

His close second was this kid that’s been quite viral on YouTube.  He gives Herb Brooks’ speech from the movie, Miracle (awesome movie that you must watch).  Unfortunately, the inspiring speech didn’t help the Flyers as they fell to the Sabres.  But there is one thing to keep their losing ways in perspective:  The team honored vets that were in attendance.  The crowd responded by providing standing ovations.  It made me proud…now, if they just would have shut up those sabres fans.

(Herb Brooks’ speech)

A view of the city from the Wachovia Center (soon to be torn down Spectrum to the right).