At about 4:30 this afternoon, I got a call from Boss Lady.
“Hey,” she said.
“What did I do wrong this time?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing.” Pregnant pause, and then she asked “Do you have a ticket for the game tonight?”
“Good, cos I have two here if you want them.”
I did some furious calling, texting, and IMing to try to get hold of the Golfball, my usual partner in hockey-watching. No dice. So I gave the proprietrix of The Sliding Pokecheck a holla:
“Got a ticket for the game tonight?”
She didn’t have one, I had an extra, she said “OH HELL YEAH!” I told her I’d leave it at WillCall, and hied off to the shower to get myself presentable for the game. Showered, got the venerable old-skool (we’re talking 97-98 Starter vintage) Malik jersey from the closet on, donned the ubiquitous red hat, and moseyed on out the door.
The parkbots at the RBC are little-changed from seasons past: they still try to shoehorn you into lots that you DO NOT want to park in. I had to keep the window rolled down (and keep my Rammstein CD down to a dull roar), just so I could tell each parkbot that tried to get me into one of the Carter-Finley lots “I’m going to meet people in the East Lot, thanks” as I drove by. I pulled into the southern of the East Lots–my old lot having been totally given over to Premier Parking–and found a nice spot to park and get myself all situated for a foray into the holy stead of the RBC Center.
Bag for carrying wallet, cell phone, and a few tea bags: check
I was expecting to get flak from the securebots, but fortunately there was none to be had. I really was looking forward to this game, the first time I’d been in the RBC Center since KAdams got traded for Dennis Seidenberg–and lucky day for me, Seidenberg was playing! My inner fangirl was very happy.
So anyway, the game.
Oh my gods, the game. How many fights can there be? How many elbows and punches can get thrown at my goalie’s head? The answer: a lot. It was eerily like the Norfolk-Lowell game during the lockout that had both teams fighting, only the coaches weren’t involved and nobody came off the bench. The first fight of the night was Ryan Bayda and Tommy Sestito, which wasn’t much of a fight. My poor little draft pick tried, bless his heart, but he was just no match for Sestito, who dismantled him like a Marine dismantles an M-16.
And it was on. Next up was Scott Walker and Ron Hainsey–Remo, of course, has had plenty of experience with the Smoking Jackets, courtesy of his time in Nashville. So I’m sure there was a lot of residual venom there. That fight had Remo dragging Hainsey down to the ice and pounding on him kinda like Darren McCarty did to Clod Lemieux some years back. Remo took a misconduct for that (and let’s be honest, that was a correct call–one of few during the game), and it degenerated from there.
The second period was when all hells broke loose and penalties were handed out right and left–mostly to the Hurricanes. Dennis Seidenberg got into it with Jared Boll, who immediately yanked Seids’ jersey up over his head and commenced to chucking knuckles. Dennis managed to acquit himself decently (not well, of course, but decently) despite that. Little bitty Ray Whitney–RAY BLOODY WHITNEY, FOR THE LOVE OF TYR!–got that “interference” penalty when he went hauling ass to draw aggro away from the Warchief. He pulled Ole-Kristian Tollefsen–and rather than getting teh phat epic lewtz that he’d hoped for, he was sent to the box for 2 minutes for his trouble. That interference call should have been roughing, kids. If that’s not a sure sign that we have some craptastic refs in the NHL, I dunno what is.
With 22.6 seconds left in the 2nd period, the officials decided that it was in everyone’s best interests to send both sides back to their respect locker rooms and declare intermission–a wise call, in my opinion. There was still chippiness in the third, but it wasn’t as bad. The Hurricanes were busy getting into penalty trouble all night, and the BJs were firing at will–it’s a credit to Cam Ward’s confidence in the nets that neither I nor anyone else (that I saw) was freaking out over the BJs’ insane shot total, kids. We WERE, however, getting upset over the Hurricanes’ wimpy shot total and the cheap shots that the Jackets were taking….that wound up getting ‘Canes players into the box. The last penalty of the night was on the Warchief, for elbowing–and let me tell you, that was complete and total garbage. I don’t know where the call came from, and the Warchief was all kinds of irate over it. The fans were irate, too.
The game ended in a shootout, and Andrew Ladd saved the day. There was great rejoicing in the land, and Ms. Pokecheck and I rapped for a while before she went back to her car and I went back to mine…..
….and from the East Lots, it was right onto Wade Avenue and thence to the Beltline. Let’s give it up for improved traffic patterns at the RBC. And while you’re doing that, I’m going to meander off to work and dance a little jig because I get to go to Opening Night.