Saturday, June 02, 2007

"I don't know if he broke a sweat" . . . Bulldogs up, 1-0

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

At 6:00, the lights flickered . . . at 6:30, some of the arena went dim . . . at 6:55, the arena was plunged into the inky blackness that made one think, “this must be what being next to a frightened squid is like.” The storm that hit the Hershey area played havoc with the power in the pre-game, delaying the start of the contest by almost a half hour. Would ‘twere it had been cancelled all together . . .

Hershey owned the first half of the first period, outshooting Hamilton at one point 16-7. However, Hamilton weathered that storm – including two power plays – and then outshot the Bears 5-0 to end the period. One had the feeling, this wasn’t going to go well.

It didn’t.

Although The Peerless has not seen all of the Bears’ games this year, he’d like to think the second period of tonight’s game was just about the worst period they played this year. If it isn’t, it means they have worse in them, and that’s not a good thing. The Bulldogs scored on their first shot of the period (on a power play...keep that thought in mind)., and they were off to the races. They would score two more goals in the period – one on a power play – and take a 3-0 lead into the locker room.

The third period was largely for entertainment, and it didn’t disappoint. Hamilton added a goal (yeah, a power play goal) to close out the scoring, but then, with 64 seconds left in the game the fun began. It started with Tyler Sloan splattering a Bulldog with an elbow, for which Sloan would earn a five-minute major. At that point, auditions for the road show of “Slapshot” began. Bear and Bulldog paired off like some warped circus animal act. There was Derek Engelland abusing a Bulldog at the blueline . . . and there was Mathieu Biron (who one fan described to me as having a “scary look” about him…The Peerless, having seen a season of Biron play, didn’t have the heart to tell her Biron couldn’t scare Don Knotts) engaged in “fighting-like” behavior . . . and there was Louis Robitaille in the middle of it…quel surprise. He managed to get an “abuse of officials” penalty. We half expected Ned Braden to take a turn at center ice wearing nothing but an athletic supporter. After that was broken up, Quintin Laing and Zack Stortini (no, The Peerless is not making that name up) had their own Dancing with the Stars moment to end the first night of festivities, the Bulldogs skating off with game one, 4-0.

Some observations:

-- Carey Price…he played two – count ‘em – two regular season games. Well, that was enough warm-up. He looked like he’d been in the NHL ten years. What economy of movement. He didn’t make a single move The Peerless could see that he didn’t have to. As Bruce Boudreau put it after the game, “I don’t know if he even sweats out there.” It should have been recorded for teaching purposes. But The Peerless is troubled by one thing. When you look at Jean-Sebasitien Giguere, he has the look of the Michelin Man with his puffed up chest protector. But Price? He looks like freakin’ Jackie Gleason in pads. He has the widest backside in all of goaliedom. And his pants are falling off him to boot. I thought, either this kid stuffs his pants, or he’s carrying the biggest damned pant-load in the history of the AHL. Butterfly?...He looks more like "Butterball."

-- Freddie Cassivi…deserved better. Cassivi did not play his best game, but the Bears were awful in their own end. They backed up so much, I thought we were watching tryouts for DB for the Eagles.

-- The Fans…The Peerless was ensconced in the row directly behind the Bulldog bench, which afforded him a birds-eye view of the sort of abuse of visitors that would bring a tear to a Philadelphian’s eye. It was brutal . . . but what The Peerless can’t understand is, why was it that with the guys in the first two rows heaping abuse on Maxim Laperierre, Maxie decided he’d return the insults to girls sitting several rows above. Hey, Max…grow a pair.

-- That was the first time this season -- in 94 games -- that the Bears have been shutout.

-- Carey Price…Adrian Zmed…separated at birth? You be the judge.

-- After 14 games of not having lost in regulation, a stinkeroo was bound to sneak in. This certainly qualifies. The Peerless does not think panic is in order; Hershey outplayed Hamilton for long stretches of this game. Hamilton played what amounted to an efficient road game. Ride opportunity (power plays; Hamilton was 3-for-7, while Hershey went 0-for-9) and a fine performance by the goalie to a win.

It’s first-to-four, not first-to-one. Let’s see how Saturday goes…