Thursday, November 17, 2005

Big Ups to the Windy City

crappy photo: me
The View from Section 321
I was in Chicago for the first part of this week and took in the Blackhawks-Oilers game Sunday night. The rumors of the demise of the "Bulin Wall" have been greatly exaggerated. He was great. The rebounds he did give up were ones he aggressively pushed out of harm's way. On Sunday night, he was the old cat-like Khabibulin. Mark Bell missed a hat-trick when he doink'd an open net 20 foot shot off the right post.

I was impressed with Mathew Barnaby's hustle-it was good hustle, not agitating. He was working hard to make plays.

Chris Pronger is so poised with the puck-never rattled, always physically owns the ice within his immense stride. Ryan Smyth is also a joy to watch. You can tell he just loves to play the game with reckless abandon. During the pre-game skate, he didn't just do a few laps then go stretch and shoot the bull for 15 minutes at center ice. He started flying the minute he hit the ice, and was the last one off the ice when the skate was over. He's Erik Cole with hands.

A huge highlight of the night was the opening national anthems. I've never heard a US crowd cheer Oh Canada with as much vigor. The real suprise was when the singer burst into the Star Spangled Banner. The crowd clapped and roared throughout the whole song! They cheered every high-note and the end every line in the song. Immediately after, I turned to the guy next to me, and asked if this was a Chicago thing. He said since 9-11, that kind of reaction was common at every Chicago sporting event. The guy had tears in his eyes. Now I'm a veteran and R,W & B to the core, but I have never seen an outpouring of emotion like that at an event not specifically scripted to be a patriotic event.

The rest of my stay in Chicago was marked by cold 40 mph winds, cold sleety rain, and cold blowing snow. On Wednesday, a Channel 5 TV reporter stopped me on Michigan Avenue and asked me how I was enjoying the onset of Chicago's winter season. I told her I would only get to "enjoy" the wintery mix for the time it took me to get to O'Hare and get on a plane. Great city, but nice to be out of 20 degrees and gray and back in 70 degrees and blue.

No comments: