01 December 2007
Here's some of my observations from section 220 of the Shark Tank.
You always forget how skilled these players are until you watch them live. Just watching the Avs pass back and forth (which I got to see a lot of since they don't shoot) can be memorizing because they are that good. Unfortunately the Sharks were not as easily entertained as I was.
Budaj played a great game, but Thornton absolutely schooled him on the second goal. He faked, and Budaj bit going down to the butterfly. As Budaj recovered and opened his legs Thorton fired it right in the 5-hole. OF course the really bad play happened to be that Thronton didn't have an Avs player within 5 feet of him.
I think everyone has noticed this, but it was even more prevalent in person. The Avs are timid to shoot the puck. Really. Honest it's true. The only one looking to fire a shot seems to be Jeff Finger of all people. There was a 3 vs 2 break on the Avs, and the puck went to Hlinka and instead of firing a puck towards Nabokov and hoping for a rebound or something he calmly took the puck behind the net and tried to center. by the time he did that 2 more Sharks had gotten back and it was 4 sharks on Stastny. Obviously the puck bounced off someone's skate and into the corner (or went back out past to the blue line. I can't remember because live events don't have TiVo).
This goes along with the last point, but Ryan Smyth's stats are bad because the Avs aren't shooting. They are spending more time behind the net than in front of it and that's just not where he belongs. He's better on the rush crashing for rebounds and he's better on the point screening the goalie. God Shoot the puck Avs.
Not to pick on Hlinka, but he is always the weakest player on his skates on the ice. He is always getting knocked off the puck. Maybe it's an unfair observation because SJ is one of the strangest teams in the league. That's probably why he was getting 4th line action earlier this season.
Brett Clark's awfully idiotic penalty at the end of the game? That was a killer, not only was it on a play he originally had control of the puck on, but the entire SJ penalty kill was changing. There wasn't another Shark within 50 feet of Him and Thronton, yet there were 2 Avs on their way back out to help. Unbelievably bad penalty.
Some other notes: As I've been saying all along the Sharks have a pretty good an knowledgable crowd. In the second (or it could have been late first) period when the Sharks were really taking it to the Avs physically the crowd really got into it and was cheering every hit. The crowd was so excited that it started cheering for hits that weren't all that big. I'm surprised SJ has been as bad at home as they have this season.
The Jibblewife and I agree that the crowd does something so incredibly cheesy it made us laugh. When the Avs take a penalty (and it happened often) the music to "Jaws"comes up and they do the Florida "Gator Chomp". We thought it was funnyy.
As a visiting fan you expect to get crap for wearing the other teams Jersey (I wear the Red Sakic #19, the Jibblewife wears the Sakic All-star jersey from last season to blend in a little better). A tip of the Hat to the guys behind me in line for the restroom who talked about "Giving an opposing teams fan a swirly" but when I turned around going "Oh not you, but your hair is long enough, and that ain't no Rocky Mountain crisp water" Playful trash talk is always fun. Also kudos to the guy who yelled "Knock Sakic down" as I was taking said leak. Funny comments like that make it fun for home and opposing teams fans.
Wag of the Finger to the two guys who yelled "Avalanche Suck" as I walked by them. I hate to break it to them, but that's not very original. I mean you leave the house at night knowing you are going to see opponents fans right? You know you are going to taunt them right? You have some time to come up with something. Even something like "You buddy there's no snow here, you're just a fish out of water" Sure it's kind of lame but it at least shows you tried to put some effort into your trash-talk huh?
The SJ's mascot's name is S.J. Sharkie. No kidding. not quite Steeley McBeam (Pittsburgh Steelers) but pretty close.
Yes the Avs Jerseys are as ugly in person, even though I always thought the Whites were better than the Dark's
Anyways the most important thing is that I had a great time. Yes despite the loss, it was a lot of fun, and I always love going to games (even at $40/pop)