Monday, April 12, 2010

Time to Come Back to the NHL - JMR's Redemption Part 2

It was quite a game.  As you read in Part 1, it had been a long time since I had seen a game.  April 13, 1997 put an end to my love of hockey with that last game in Hartford.  The Whalers and I both left Hartford at the same time, never to see each other again.  Until, that is, my sons started showing interest in the Boston Bruins.  I was hoping their fascination ended with rooting for the Bruins and not with dragging Dad to a rink in Bourne for 3am Sunday morning practice.  We'll see.  I would be the one with the Starbucks coffee cup and a dirty look on my half-awake face.

My son took the yellow hanky that he received as he walked in and put it under his seat.  "I'm not going to waive a yellow towel around, Dad."  I don't blame him, although I would have used it to wipe the popcorn and candy off his face, at least.  Waving a yellow towel around in the air at a hockey game seems a little overdone anyway.  Isn't this what Steelers fans do?  Most others decided to waive their flags as the faceoff occurs, however. 

A lot of action in our end to start the game and before we knew it, the Boston Bruins had taken a 13-1 lead in shots on goal.  It seemed that the Boston Bruins had a 20-1 lead in scoring opportunities, too.  At least that's what I think after hearing the moaning and groaning as the puck whizzes by the Hurricans goalie Cam Ward.  (Oh did I tell you that I had to name the 5 best Bruins on the team?  I had my head down trying to think of the best five Bruins.  Dennis Wideman and Tim Thomas came to mind. ) Luckily our seats were in the corner where the Bruins shot twice, because if we were in the other end we would have been watching the game from the scoreboard.   The First Period ended scoreless, although 34 shots on goal were recorded in the period.  It seemed that the Canes had created some momentum for themselves and headed into the Second Period with the man advantage.  Or so I thought...

The next sequence is a testament to Dad always being right.  As my son was asking for ice cream or some other sugar-laden crap, I kept telling him - let's go wait in line with a minute left in the First Period, because if we wait until the Period is over, we'll be waiting in line even longer when the Second Period starts. 

"No I want to see the end of the Period!  The Bruins might score a goal!"  If only he knew what he would miss with his hubris. 

Dad's right again.  We wait in line for 20 minutes to get Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and water and we're waiting in line when the Horn blows indicating an apparent Bruins goal.  But the TV hanging over the Concession Station is on what seems like a 30 second delay.  As soon as we see the goal on TV, the Horn blows again.  Wait, was that from the TV for the first goal, or did the Bruins just score another goal?  Everyone waiting in line was just as confused.  The confusion had everyone buzzing and then the horn sounded again!  3 shorthanded goals on the same penalty or was this some sort malfunction?  Should we get out of line and get back to our seats?  Are the Hurricanes channeling the 1982-83 Whalers?  Was Jean Claude Van Damme playing goal again?  The Bruins scored 3 shorthanded goals in a little over a minute!  And we missed them all.  I hope that candy tasted good, little buddy!

We do finally get back to our seats just in time for me to explain the two replays that occurred in the Second Period - a disallowed goal for the Bruins and an amazing play where Patrice Bergeron, in full sprint, had to stop a puck from going in when an errant pass almost went in for an own-goal because the Bruins' goalie was pulled for a delayed penalty.  That was really unbelieveable to watch in person.  At the end of the Second Period, the Bruins were leading 3-2.

The Third Period featured the highlight for us.  It was Fan Appreciation day.  The Bruins, in their zeal to empty the coffers of all of the swag that they had accumulated over the course of the year, were giving away everything but the seats we were sitting on here.  My son was suffering from a sugar coma at this point, but was roused back from his daydream to look at the socreboard with me to see if we would win anything.  We had decent seats and they always take care of the people in these seats - even if we could only afford these seats once a year.

Jerseys off our back?  No.  Tickets to playoff games or games next year? No.  Lunch with some dude I've never heard of before?  No.  One of the last giveaways, though was free burritos from Chipotle.  I don't even know where there is a Chipotle around here, but when our section was called we all went crazy.  Free burritos!  On top of that, it was like I had won a double prize because my son wouldn't come near a burrito unless a t-shirt was wrapped in it.  He was still excited though - enough to brag to his brother when we got home.  I guess they played the Third Period too.  The Bruins scored an empty net goal and finally clinched a playoff birth with a 4-2 victory.  A great game to have witnessed live. 

It's time to come back.  I came to this game because the Hurricanes and the Bruins are the obvious front runners for my new rooting interest.  My Sons' favorite team and the old Hartford Whalers.  Unfortunately, fandom isn't as cut and dry as that.  I need to find a different team.  One without much chance of moving or being disbanded.  I will need to choose one before the NHL Playoffs end.  Don't get me wrong, the Harford Whalers are still my first love.  I had a lot of great memories with my friends and family at these games; I regret though that I couldn't take my kids to the games.

Anyway, my boys have become hardened Bruins fans, but I can probably talk my daughter into rooting for my new team.  She is still young enough to believe every word I say.  Yeah.  It's time to come back.

picture courtesy of



  1. It certainly is time to come back, to come back and support Howard Baldwin and see if we can get the whalers back where they belong in CT. Dont give up just yet!

  2. I'm in. Just tell me when and where. I bought season tickets when I lived in Boston back in the 90's. I can do it again.