Sunday, October 02, 2005

Preseason in the ATL

Friday Night Recap: Preds vs. Thrash
I was in Atlanta on Friday for a seminar and skipped the post-seminar happy hour to ride the MARTA with 3 million of my closest friends down to Philips Arena for the final preseason game of the Thrash. Here are my reflections...

Bang on the Glass Guy
I quickly realized one thing I didn't miss since my last NHL game-Bang on the Glass Guy. Every arena has at least one. The guy who charges down from row ZZ to pummel the glass in a fit of self-righteous indignation. Atlanta's Bang on the Glass Guy of the evening was no doubt an otherwise mild-mannered accountant with one those Michael Jordan shaved heads (to compensate for the fact that he's actually bald). Our anti-hero took exception to little Jordin Tootoo's participation in a scrum in front of the net. Yes, Tootoo had just clocked and put Shane Hnidy out of the game with a separated shoulder, but noooo, Petrovicky's charge and subsequent cross check on the Inuit dynamo while he was bent over the Thrash bench wasn't good enough for Bang on the Glass Guy. He had to get his piece of Tootoo through a sound glass thrashing followed by a few Hans und Franz flexes for the arena cameras.

Ban all Bang Sticks
Ok, I also realized another thing I hate in the NHL-Bang sticks. They give everybody who's not really there to see hockey and even more effective way to bother those around them. I started the first game with a kid on my right who managed to bang me with every third or fourth bang of her bang sticks. On my left was a young grunge couple who wanted to use their bang sticks (metaphor intended) as part of their little mating ritual tussle. By the start of the second period, I moved down next to two 300 pound black ladies who were a hoot. Every crushing check along the boards or every puck banging around the glass or dasher elicited whoops and wails from Star Jones and her twin. At times I felt like I was either on a roller coaster with them or maybe sitting next to them during a fire and brimstone sermon.

Now to the Game
Danny Markov: God I wish he was still a 'Cane. Danny is the consummate pond hockey player. He's all over the ice, in on a lot of rushes, looking for the puck the way a winger would. Pinched in but always seemed to get back in position just in the nick of time. I watched him head for the bench at the end of a shift. He pretended to skate slowly until he say one of the Trashers motoring by. He sped up enough to make it look like he was trying to get off the ice and only inadvertently pounded the Trasher into the sideboard.

Braydon Coburn: Plays with an edge, but made some dumb mistakes. Got beat a couple of times transitioning and took a bad penalty on a cross check away from the play.

Ryan Suter: This kid has the genes. Seemed always in control and in position. Made some great outlet passes. Skated stride for stride with Marion Hossa after a loose puck and broke up what should have been a scoring chance.

Jordin Tootoo: Can't help but focus on him when he's out there. tough little son of a bitch. His hit on Hnidy carried far more force than you would think the little guy could muster.

Kari Lehtonen: Smooth as the other side of the pillow (props to Stuart Scott). Made some fantastic saves with the pads down low and with the glove on a point blank shot from the slot. With conditioning and maturity, this kid could be a star. Wishful thinking since he's one of my Blogger Challenge fantasy goalies this year.

Scott Melanby: Captain Scott looked old and slow. It was like watching Ronnie Francis at the twilight of his career. Scott's wheels won't get him into any plays.

Marion Hossa: Seemed to just cherry pick and operate on the periphery. Great bursts of speed and power and an incredibly quick wrist shot.

And Another Thing
I paid $15 for a beer, cheesburger and fries! The hideous price was bad enough, but I don't think my burger contained anything resembling meat. It wasn't brown or hockey puck black. It was kind of orangy, greenish beige. Maybe it was soylent green?

Final Rant
No Kariya, Bondra, Zidlicky, or Steve Sullivan

1 comment:

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Dude, $15?!?!

Always go with the safe bet, POPCORN! Even the blandest popcorn is still a decent munchie...or go for Crunch N' Munch!

und ja, Bang on the Glass Guy is always annoying...although in Vancouver it's usually some 20ish punks who managed to score prime seats and feel the need to make themselves part of the game.