Saturday, November 12, 2005

Kings 4; Blackhawks 2

This was probably the largest crowd I've ever seen at a Hawks game, which means the place was more than half full. For those that don't know, a tradition at Blackhawks games is to cheer through the national anthem. The only problem is that usually you can't tell people are cheering because there's nobody there. A little more energy through the anthem last night.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much more energy than that. As was noted by my seat neighbor, the Hawks don't do a very good job of selling the game. They do their little spiel before the players take the ice at the beginning, but there's no anouncement of the players entering the ice before the second and third periods. They rarely prompt the crowd to make noise. It can just seem kind of lifeless. Most of that is probably because the Hawks have been so bad for so long. The girls who skate around picking up the snow at the TV time outs are pretty hot, though.

Met up with a couple of guys I used to play against in Garden Grove and Duarte way back when, one of who is also a Chicago resident. Back in the mid-90's, our street team (Sloths/Gunners) had a pretty big rivalry with a team called "the Studs". It was mostly harmless, but they had a few guys I really hated, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual. The first season in which we played them, we finished 7-2, with both losses coming to the Studs (who were like 6-3 or something). We met up again in the finals and swept both games, winning game one 5-4 and game 2 3-2 in overtime. We seemed to meet up every season after that. They always had a great goaltender, but because we cut out teeth practicing against one of the best in the league, we were never intimidated by him. Anyway, one of their players now lives in Chicago and is now a Kings viewing partner.

One of the reasons that the place was so lifeless last night is because after the first 15 minutes or so, the Kings really led the whole way. Belanger's goal came kind of quickly, and quite frankly, I didn't really see it until it was in the net. Cammy's goal, however, was a true thing to behold from our seats in the upper deck near center ice. Dustin Brown, who played a great game, weaved beautifully into the zone before sliding what looked like a north/south pass to Cammalleri, who tipped it home. The next two Kings goals were both sort of similar, as Frolov and Conroy both found themselves on the doorstep with wide open nets.

Garon played a terrific game, as the Hawks were buzzing all night, and really had a lot more scoring chances than they should have had. He was under heavy fire much of the night. But he did an excellent job making the first save and controlling rebounds. This would be a legitimate goalie controversy if either guy seemed egotistical enough to worry about being the number 1.

Second place in the West as the road trip heads to Columbus. It's a tough stretch this month, so these games against bad teams take on that much more importance. When you're playing Nashville three times, Detroit twice, Colorado, and Vancouver all in the same month, you need to beat the Chicagos, St. Louises, and Columbi of league.

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