Oct 14, 2007

10/13 Islanders v. Flyers

[EDIT: I'm curious how many of my non-Flyer GRs would take the time to slog through this one to the bitter end. Hmmmm.]

Home openers deserve the longest post of the regular season. They should include the sights, the sounds, etc. So, here goes...

Free Swag:
One of each given to every person (including the random Isles fans) that came in the doors

(1) A magnetic schedule and

(2) An orange "Back with a Vengeance" T-shirt, sized adult XL.

The shirt will be added to my night-shirt collection. Adult XL in bright, halloween orange looks like crap on someone with dark brown hair, very fair skin, and dark brown eyes that only stands 5' 1.5" (156.2 cm).

Free face-painting is available at the door. I struggle hard not to knock all the kiddies out of my way and jump to the head of the line. In the end, adult sanity prevails and I bypass the whole zoo to collect my swag. ( :p Downie and Boulerice.)

Food, Glorious Food

Making my way to Section 224, I stop at one of the small concession stands, staffed by the nicest people I've ever met at one before. I will go there again next week. Pretzel: check. Beer: check.

I arrive to Section 224, Row 12, Seat 18 and see that the whole section is empty! Fantastic while it lasts. The next residents to arrive were two friendly, middle-aged women who have tickets in the last row. The one carrying their box of treats stops at my row, looks at me and says, "I forgot how far it is to those d*** seats!" My response: "It was a very long off-season, wasn't it?" Total agreement from my hockey sister.

Frat boys - loud, obnoxious, already slightly drunk frat boys that all dressed up for the one girl in their group - fill in the opposite end of my row and I become a little worried. Family of four in front of me. Family of five plus an uncle behind me. (The landscape is improving.) Two nice guys that I presume are fleeing the family for the night sit next on the other side of me, and they really know their hockey.

Buffer between me and the frat boys: Middle-aged couple who's nephew plays for the Devils, but who are rabid - albeit somewhat quiet - Flyers fans. I do not ask who the nephew is. (I've always been really non-intrusive with my best friends who have famous relatives, so why break the streak with people I don't even know?)

I do ask how his season has been going. The wife says the nephew is doing well and she can't wait until Thursday's game, though she doesn't know which sweater to wear for it.


I notice a stirring among the kids at the glass. Suddenly, the boys are on the ice, whizzing around, and my heart is completely happy. A round of "boos" starts, distracting me. I look right, and there are the Islanders.

I can't hate them; I don't hate anyone. I do pray TLB Comrie's my little pony girlfriend isn't in attendance, because I will puke if I see her on the big screen. (The Delta Dental ice girls cause enough gag reflex testing...why add Hilary Duff to the mix? And the ice girls are worse than last year.)

I tune the Isles out, and look at my boys. I immediately note that some one needs to talk to Danny Briere and Joffrey Lupul. I know it's only warm-ups, but we're paying too much for you two to skate around without your helmets. (Besides, you don't have mullets to ruffle in the breeze.)

Pre-Game Show

Over the top. For me, it just wasn't necessary because I've been experiencing these feelings since last April like the deprived Philly fan that I am. Besides, it just delayed getting to the real thing: the game.

Game On!

Kristin and I agree: the guys looked slow live. I think it was the antsy-ness of the fans, the road trip, and the pre-game show delay (which left them standing mostly still too long).

First Period

Big thing: Ben Eager is hit in the head, goes down and lays on the ice for a few moments. (Everyone in my section stops breathing for half a second, then starts yelling at the "stupid zebras" for not calling it.) Eager does get up, tries to skate to the other end where play has continued, but even in 224 I can see that he isn't all there. Benny heads towards play in our end, then heads to the bench for the line change.

The in-house reporter reveals during a break in play that Benny won't be returning to the game due to dizziness after the hit to the head. The crowd boos for a prolonged period. (NHL: Review criteria!)

The first period wraps up with neither team scoring. Moving on to...

Second Period

We crash the goal a little more, finally get on the board, and Marty continues to be brilliant in the crease while denying the Islanders entry. jEFF Carter scores first with a wrist-shot goal, assisted by Joffrey Lupul and Randy Jones. Statbit: This is Carter's third goal in three games. Nice little streak to have.

Fast forward two minutes: "The puck is bouncing like crazy! Somebody get a stick on that! Some Flyer do something!" As if Sami had a direct feed from me, he does something with the help of Derian Hatcher and Scott Hartnell.

With a dazzling display of stickhandling, Sami calms the puck while coasting backwards near the crease, lines up, and lifts the puck up and over Pretty Ricky's shoulder for it to eak into the opposite side of the net. Sami continues drifting backwards into the boards, arms up like the victorious warrior he is in that moment. All the guys congratulate him. In my humble opinion, it's one of the sickest goals I've seen live!

Flyers maintain the lead for the remainder of the period, and head into the locker room to a round of applause. The in-house reporter interviews Sami about the goal and the team.

Third Period

I just couldn't watch it. Vasicek scores less than three minutes in. A one goal cushion is not enough insurance for me, or any of the (by now) very drunken frat boys. Serious hockey guys are also looking way too serious about the matter.

With 1:30 left in the game, the Philly fans believe the game is over. They start cheering. Maybe they had more faith than I did, but the game is never over until it's over!

I was on the edge of my seat. Hopeful for the win. Scared that we were not clearing the puck out and keeping it to the other end. And then...

Gator blocks with his body, clearing the puck out, and accidentally-on-purpose scores an empty net goal. It's the captain's first goal of the season, it's at home, and it's in front of a sell-out house. He's wearing the biggest smile on his face, and Kimmo Timonen literally jumps on him for joy.

The Short Story:
Flyers win. I love hockey.


kristin said...

Great recap! Sounds like your section was at least better than mine.

I am going to try and do Thursday's game, and I will definitely be at Saturday's game.

Thank god hockey is back...

Did you see the insane BUF/TOR game tonight? Well, it was really only the third period that was insane, but damn, it was good..

Nadine said...

Didn't see the Buffaslugs v. Leaves. (Yes, I know that everyone else write "Leafs," but I have to be different. Sue me.) No Center Ice, no Comcast...boy do I hate budget priorities. Grr!

I'm going to try for Saturday, but no promises. (Trains don't run late enough on weekends and a cab to Germantown can cost more than the game ticket.)

If you can't make Thursday, I'll give you a run-down on the Fly Guys v. Los Diablos on Friday or Saturday. If you can make it, I'll be sitting in 206.