When this season's schedule came out and there was a Saturday night Habs at Sharks game, I decided I was going. (San Jose is only about a three- or four-hour drive, and by far the closest NHL city to me.) Then lakeeffectgirl
decided she was coming to visit and going to the game with me, which made for an awesome week, even above and beyond the game. We went for the expensive tickets and ended up in the ninth row, so we had a pretty good view of things.
I had never been to a professional hockey game before and there are so many things that were fascinating to me about it as an experience. People dress in team gear, and by "people," I mean nearly every person we saw. Most of them were in Sharks gear, a few of them (including us) in bright red Habs gear, and one in an LA Kings Kopitar jersey. (No, we don't know either.) I'm wearing a scarf, so you can't quite see my red Habs shirt, but here we are:( Picture! )
The guys behind us kept up running commentary on the game, and there was a guy next to us explaining who the Habs players were to his girlfriend. On power plays, the crowd does a shark chomp motion with their arms. During the first fight, everyone stood up. I appreciated it because it made it easier for me not to watch and I was disturbed by the crowd's enthusiasm for violence. I'm going to have to track down some sort of readings on sociological thought about game attendance as ritual. The San Jose police directed traffic outside the arena, which means I'm also curious about the economic costs to municipalities of having an arena. (I'm sure both those things exist; I just have to go looking for them.)
And then there was the game itself. The Habs lost 4-0, but I don't care as much as I care about the fact that I got to watch Danny play hockey. We didn't really realize it was his 900th game until I was reading my Google Alerts the next day, but I was happy to see him play anyway. And by happy, I mean that when he was on the ice, I just watched him instead of the game as a whole. As lakeeffectgirl
reported on Twitter, "Danny checks/gets checked, @rsadelle says, 'This is good for me.'" Which, yes, please, Danny getting slammed into boards or walls (without hurting him in a bad way). He also took a quite a few face-offs, including a number on our end of the rink.
Here's one of lakeeffectgirl
's pictures of Danny's ass as he prepared to take one of those face-offs:( Picture! )
My favorite thing about watching Danny play in person is that every time he was near the puck during a stoppage in play, he picked it up with his stick and bounced it around until the refs/linesmen were ready to take it back. I've caught glimpses of him doing that on TV, but the cameras usually cut away or they go to commercial, so I had no idea it was a regular thing he does. I couldn't figure out if he was showing off or if he's like a little kid who can't resist playing with any puck in his vicinity. He was also one of the last people off the ice at the end of warm-ups because he was still shooting pucks at the net.
Other game note: BGally kept taking face-offs against Joe Thornton. We don't know whose plan that was, but we would both also be into BGally getting pushed up against walls. Or Danny and BGally shoving each other into walls. Either of those things. (Did you know? According to their official stats, Danny and BGally are the same height and BGally only weighs six pounds more than Danny.)
We're thinking about seeing the Kings play next year. Maybe the Kings and the Stars if they play each other at a convenient time and place.