Saturday, March 20, 2010

Late-night adrenalin high

Quite an exciting game tonight. Blackhawks defense was there; the team played solidly all three periods - game went into OT, and then a shootout. While clean, "we got 2 points and you got zero" games are preferred, I'll take 1 point over zero points. But I'm sure neither fans nor the team want to see the division title being dragged out to the very last game of the season.

The Coyotes started the season without a coach, and nobody expected much of them. They're among the top teams in the Western Conference, however; their coach has done a great job with them.

It was one of those games: the Hawks game out looking strong against unexpected powerhouse Phoenix, rallying to 2-0 at the end of the first. Then it was 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-2, and then the Coyotes surged back to tie it 4-4. Niemi did well in goal, and I'm sure his performance the past two games has made it all the more challenging for Coach Q to decide upon his prime goalie for the playoffs.

It looked like it would be 4-5 in regulation, but the fifth goal was ruled to have been kicked in. This ain't soccer, yo. But it was a relief to see a ref who made the right call.

Five minutes of OT later, still 4-4, and into the shootout. These kinds of games are particularly exciting because, well - hey, more hockey, ok? - and by that point, you get so jacked up on adrenalin that every miss, every save, just adds to the fire. To lose after that - well, yes, it sucks. But it wasn't like the Coyotes wiped the ice with the Blackhawks; it was a battle to the finish.

I think my favorite moment in the game was looking up from what was happening on the ice and to see the sea of red in the spectators. Yeah, I follow baseball somewhat, but I tend to forget that half of Spring Training takes place in Arizona - so there were a much higher percentage than usual of fans at an away game.

Next year, I may have to plan a trip to Phoenix/Tucson for March. It'll add another NHL arena to my list, and some more of the Spring Training facilities as well. (I have been to Spring Training in Florida many times now. I love hockey best of all, but few things are as awesome as sitting in 70+ degree weather, watching a baseball game on a weekday afternoon in the middle of winter.)

Amusing moment of the game: During the commentary between the 2nd and 3rd period, one of the Comcast analysts referred to the Coyotes as the "Kayotes". Eeep.

The Hawks are playing well, and here's hoping this continues for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

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For a little humor to take off the sting: Top 10 Worst NHL jerseys of all time.

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