Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pens v Bruins (W 2-1)

I wanted to do this post yesterday, but woodstock and I went to look at a silver 2007 Honda Element. I'm pretty sure we're buying it. :) Anyhoo, I took all of the following photos. Click the photos to enlarge them.

The Boys hit the ice:

The anthem was sung by the always solid Jeff Jimerson:

Our view was slightly obstructed:

The benches (notice the new guys - Poni's just left of center and Leopold is on the right):

Sid takes a few faceoffs:

Siddo next to the GINORMOUS Zedno Chara:

Geno going into the sin bin:

The Bruins strike first during the ensuing power play:

Sid takes another faceoff:

This is my favorite shot - Super Duper stuffs one in for the even up goal!!!

Siddo and the Boys hanging out at the bench during a TV timeout:

Geno scores the GWG!!!

Another faceoff for Sid:

Another TV timeout:

Okay, so I realize that you can't even begin to talk about this game without mentioning the Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard. The hit happened at the end of the arena where our seats were. In the moment when it happened, I can tell you that no one in the immediate vicinity of our seats saw the hit. The general consensus was that we all were watching the puck and, as you know, this hit occurred after Savard released the puck. In fact, when I took the following two shots, I truly was expecting him to get up and skate (assisted) off to the locker room:

But then the stretcher came out. As he lay there, I said to woodstock, "I won't feel better until I see his legs move." The lady in front of us turned around and said, "How about it! This is scary!" He finally did move his legs, and as we rose for a standing ovation for him, Savard waved at us as he was carted off on the stretcher. I don't know if it came across on TV, but I can tell you the remaining 5½ minutes of the match were much quieter.

After seeing the replay, I honestly don't know how to prevent something like this from happening. It's easy to police elbow shots to the head - it's pretty cut and dry. But shoulder hits to the head are another story. Height differences contribute to this problem. Using my own height compared to woodstock's as an example, a 5'6" player's head should be right about even with a 6'4" player's shoulder. If woodstock came at me for a legal shoulder hit, he'd knock my block off.

Another issue is that this game is played at a pace so fast that if, as was the case with Savard, a player is releasing the puck and changing the position of his body as a guy (Cooke) is coming in to finish a check, there is almost NO time to change direction or slow down. I believe on XM Radio they estimated that players coming in for a legal hit on average are traveling at least 16 miles per hour - which doesn't sound too fast on paper, but that doesn't give you a lot of time to do much to stop or change direction. At 16 MPH, a player travels 23.5 feet in just one second. How did I figure that out? The math: 1 mile = 5,280 feet. So at 16 MPH, that's 84,480 feet per hour (5,280 x 16). Since we're talking about a hit that happens literally in one second, so I divided 84,480 feet by 3,600 seconds (60 minutes in an hour times 60 seconds in a minute = 3,600 seconds) = 23.467 feet per second. That's nowhere NEAR enough time to make a change in direction.

So what's the solution? It's hard to say. No doubt we'll be hearing more about this since the GMs are meeting in Florida right now.

It was difficult to celebrate the win as enthusiastically as we normally would because there was no word about Savard's condition. But the Boys held the Bruins off and earned a solid two points.

It was the first time in YEARS that we went to an afternoon game. It was strange coming out after the game to daylight. It allowed us to see that the new Consol Energy Center is looking more like an arena now:

And just at that moment it occurred to me that, if I don't score playoff tickets this year, this was woodstock's and my last trip to the Mellon Arena:

I'd like to hear your thoughts about the Cooke/Savard incident. What (if anything) do you think should happen to Cooker? Leave a comment in The Friends' Zone below. All opinions are welcome. (Please, however, be respectful! No swearing or name calling. I hate deleting comments, but I will.)

The Pens don't play again until they go south to face Carolina on Thursday at 7pm Eastern.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!

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