Yes, it is I, back from a loooong hiatus with very little to comment on in the world of hockey. I’ve tried to start a new post at least 10 times since this terrible drought began but , truthfully, I have not been following much of the Euro scene, AHL is a bit far for a spur-of-the-moment game, and ECHL and college hockey happen during my busiest work days. However, when the stars align and a splendiferous occasion presents itself, one must hop on it! When I found out the lords of hockey would be gracing Boardwalk Hall on November 24th, there was no way I would turn down a chance to finally see Stamkos, Lundqvist, Neal, GAGNE(!!!), or any of the other juggernauts playing in this charity game. Plus, the fact that they were all there at the same time allows me to cross off quite a few on the hockey bucket list. I won’t bore you with a play-by-play, but I will tell you the highs (and lows) of this wonderous event.
- The crowd – Put 11+ thousands hockey starved fans into one arena and you get quite an electric group o’ people. The loud cheers (“We want hockey”, “Crosby sucks”, “Fire Bettman”) and boos (for Vinny from “Jersey Shore” and James Neal — a Pen in Rangers/Devils/Flyers nation) could give anyone goosebumps. Luckily, they managed to behave themselves for the most part and just reminded us all why the sport of hockey exists.
- The players – Goodness gracious, you can’t pack a lineup like that unless it’s All-Star week. As someone who was very much looking forward to finding any way possible to make it to Columbus for the (no longer existing) NHL All Star Game, this was pretty freakin’ amazing. Although not all teams were represented, it was great to see a good mix of players from around the league. Just the thought of getting to see Daniel Alfredsson in what could be one of his last public hockey appearances was inspiration to be there. Plus, Stamkos… ’nuff said.
- Marty the Sieve- I realize this is charity, but seriously, could we keep the game KINDA close? Maybe it wasn’t Brodeur’s fault that Henrik Lundqvist was acting like his Vezina was on the line, but letting in 3 goals on 4 shots, my comrade for the game was ready to slap on pads and hop over the glass to replace him. The good news is each goal was $1000 dollars donated to charity via Sammy Haggar’s pocket, but it was only up to 10 goals total, Marty…. not per team!
- The Circumstances – Although this was a fun-filled night, it was a charity game for those suffering from Hurricane Sandy devastation. As a person living less than 10 minutes from some areas greatly affected by this superstorm, it was a heartbreaking situation. However, a large thankyouthankyouthankyou goes out to Scott Hartnell, Brad Richards, the players who volunteered to play, the volunteers who set up the game, those who worked the event, Boardwalk Hall, Caesar’s Palace casino, and most of all THE FANS for helping this be a successful event. Last I saw, revenue from the event was +$500,000 and the jersey auctions have yet to commence. So if you would like to donate to this cause further, here’s a link to the jersey auction.
AND… as you all know, what would an event be for me unless I was behind a camera!
Here’s a taste of the event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71728058@N04/sets/72157632121071531/