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Notes from Thursday's Flyers game


My brother ordered tickets to Thursday's Flyers game. We each brought a friend. A few observations:

[] I found out Thursday - in a situation that almost threatened the trip - that some people don't plan to arrive at sporting events early. My family has always preferred to arrive before the gates open, for anything from a baseball game here in Lancaster to a concert to a professional game anywhere. For one, it's always nice to beat traffic and give yourself enough time on the road to account for said traffic and construction delays. You're also paying for a ticket to an event, ad it's nice to spend as much time as possible at said event.

Personally, I always like to go to events early. There's a definite charm to watching an empty arena or stadium fill up. It's nice to take a lap or two around the building, grab a(n overpriced) bite to eat and soak in the atmosphere. Because the atmosphere is what makes sports sports. It's what drives people to pay ridiculously priced tickets for an experience otherwise comparable to watching a sporting event on television. There's a pulse, an energy, within an arena, and it's fun to measure that before the puck drops.

Watching warm-ups is also one of the underrated thrills of arriving early. Warm-ups in hockey, especially, unfold in a very poetic way. Aside watching for different players - finding out who's in or out of that night's lineup - you get to watch the flow of an entire team circling its half of the ice. You hear the sticks slap the practice pucks, and wayward shots pounding the boards and clanking the glass behind the net.

We ended up arriving about an hour before the puck dropped. My friend and I split a cheesesteak, a bucket of crab fries and a souvenir soda. We watched warm-ups, and soaked in the atmosphere before the game started.

[] The thing that stood out most to me about watching a game in an arena was the obscene amount of lights that infiltrate the in-game experience. Growing up, I soaked in games at Hersheypark Arena. The Old Barn held about half the lights you'd find in the rafters of most arenas today, one red light on each end to signal goals, and a green light at each end to flash at the end of a period.

In "modern" arenas, the lights beam down on the ice surface. A band of illumination covers the face of the spaces above and below luxury boxes and wraps around the arena. The scoreboards glow with video screens and other screens for computerized graphics and designs. The lights are distracting, especially if your only interest is the action on the ice.

[] As far as the game itself, the Flyers looked horrible. I've never seen a team that looked so flat-footed on its own half of the red line. Every Ottawa rush looked like a surprise, and the Senators scored the game-winning goal when a forward received a pass behind the defense ... on the power play.

As bad as the defense looked, the offense appeared that much worse. Every foray into the Ottawa zone fell apart, and quickly. Having the opportunity to sit way up in the nosebleeds and observe the futility unfold over the entire ice surface gave me a whole new appreciation for how bad the team is this year.

[] I had fun, though. My companions all had an interest in the game. Everyone cared about the outcome, and that made it enjoyable (except for the final result). The building wasn't filled, either, but the Flyers fans in attendance came off as positive. There were plenty of "Let's go, Flyers" chants and supportive applause for even the weakest scoring opportunities or defensive stops. I've been to games where the crowd took a spiteful, combative tone, but Thursday's crowd came off as more disappointed than anything.

[] We still save our heartiest applause for military veterans, and I'm kind of torn about the subject. I think it's great to show appreciation for men and women who make sacrifices for this country - sacrifices I'd never ever have the courage to make myself. But I also think that, sometimes it becomes a gimmick. I got goosebumps when we all applauded the veteran who lost both legs in battle, but I also wondered if it was entirely appropriate (at the risk of coming off as a bad American).

The night was a success -- again, save the final score. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be going to any more Flyers games until next year. The team dropped another to Buffalo today, it's fourth loss in a row.

Next year, though. There's always next year.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
felixwas
Apr. 14th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Tough times for your Flyers. Brzgalov is a polarizing figure in the dressing room. Mason is not the answer in goal. That goalies make the defense look bad. And losing 1-0 to Buffalo is an embarrassment—not quite as bad as Boston losing to Carolina last night, though. If Boston gets beyond the first round, I'll be surprised. Lucic is am overpaid stiff, Horton is invisible, and Krejci is overrated. And that's the B's top line. Ouch!
theoldsport
Apr. 14th, 2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
I can't believe the B's have completely fallen off the map. They looked like serious contenders, and I thought they had enough experience to figure it out before the playoffs. Now they look like an almost-certain one-and-done ... against a Team like Toronto, even!

I joked with someone that I won't be surprised if someone in orange ends up scoring on Bryz this season. He's a headcase, for sure, but I think he can be good enough in the right situation. I think the organ-eye-zation is too obsessed with finding the perfect goalie - a unicorn in hockey - instead of evaluating the position within reason. I always thought Bobrovsky deserved some time to develop. Philadelphia rushed him along and shipped him off, and now he's a Vezina candidate....</p>

The defense doesn't need help looking bad, and it makes the Pronger injury/retirement all the more troubling. He was ALWAYS in the right position in his own zone, and he was like an extra coach on the ice. Just can't replace that.

Does this mean you're back on a hockey kick, or are you still just following at a distance?

felixwas
Apr. 15th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
I watch from a distance but will watch a game like last night's Leafs-Habs game for a distraction. The last few times the Bruins have been on TV, I haven't watched; and I don't think I've seen a total of three periods of the game the Sabres play that somewhat resembles professional hockey (Last week Wieland called them "a disgrace to the profession."). I haven't seen a game from the Western Conference. Mostly I follow the game at tsn.com, the Boston Globe online, and Sports Illustrated's online coverage, which is pretty good.
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