This weekend I drove the 4 and a half hours from Toronto to watch the only NHL team in Ontario (I'd classify the leafs as a CHL hockey team, Central Hockey League that is). Don't know if anyone else was at the game, just thought I'd share my experience as an observer (an observer sitting the furthest from the ice that an observer could possibly be, mind you) After arriving at my seat and catching my breath, I took a minute to take in the new score board. It was smaller than I expected but it looked up to date which I think was over due. From the start of the game the crowd seemed quiet. I was sitting around what seemed to be 20-30 bruins fans and they were louder than any Sens fans were in my section. Maybe it was the Canadian beer (assuming they were from state side). I'd gone to a game last year and had to listen to what seemed like 12,000 Canadiens fans, so it wasn't too overwhelming.
Once the game started I think everyone wearing red was like me, waiting for Auld to let in an early goal, so when Karlsson scored I swear I heard a collective sigh of relief. Obviously that didn't last as the Bruins went on the score 1,2,3, yes 4 unanswered goals. There was a Bruins fan sitting about 9 rows in front who'd stand up and hold his arms out to gesture Bostons greatness every goal they scored. I thought about running down and giving him the old Bobby Boucher spear, but cooler heads prevailed.
It was one of the most frustrating games I've watched all year, but here's what I noted from the game
1) Spezza gets way to comfortable with the puck in the neutral zone, especially last night. He has the two of the best hands in the league, but sometimes he needs to pass it off or dump and chase more often. I noticed he did a good job of that today against the isles, so I'm hopeful he keeps it up.
2) Alex Auld should have never started last nights game. I realise Lehner was just recalled the day before and hasn't been all that great in the AHL, but to start a guy with under 10 games played against one of the better teams in the league was a bad idea.
3) Alfie saved my night. I don't know how teams still let him sit open to the outside. He won't miss from there especially with passes like Spezza threw him for the first goal.
4) Why can't the Sens play with the agressiveness they showed in the last 5 minutes last night all game. I could have sworn they had a PP for the last 5 minutes. They puck didn't come off their sticks until it slid past Karlsson and the B's got the empty netter. If they played with that sense of urgency the whole 60 minutes who knows how good they could be.
5) I know Neil didn't land as many punches, but how great was it to see him end up on top of Chara?
6) Not to mention the train wreck of a hit he laid on Boychuck. It was clean and man was it beautiful.
7) Bad reffing? Anyone else think there were more than a couple dumb calls? The Turris hit on Corvo didn't seem that bad to me from where I was. Maybe I missed something? And Spezza getting hauled down... even my girlfriend noticed.