Friday, January 13, 2006

Sens lose to Sharks, Good Leaf fans vs. Bad, and a melon eclipse 

Maybe I should just forget about buying playoff tickets.

The Senators, 29-10-3 on the season, are 2-3 in games that we've (my wife and I, not the royal we) attended this season. The two victories were The Spezza Goal game, and another win over the Habs (4-0, IIRC). we've witnessed losses to Carolina, Dallas, and last night's loss to the Sharks.

Maybe the losses are repayment for having the privilege of seeing the spectacular Spezza OT-winner live.

Or maybe we've just been really unlucky

Oddly last night was also the first live glimpse we've had of Hasek after four Emery starts. Hasek gave us a good show, but unfortunately the rest of the Sens did not.

If the barrage of turnovers by the Senators were not enough to drive us crazy, then the rocket scientists behind us were. Behind us were seated two fine specimens of "the bad kind" of Maple Leaf fan.

First, it's important to distinguish between "good" Leaf fans and "bad" Leaf fans (and yes there are good Leaf fans). Good Leaf fans are knowledgeable about the game and about their team. They may see their team and the league through blue and white goggles, but fans of every team have their own biases. Good Leaf fans, are incredibly loyal to their team (in fact, often loyal almost to a fault). Basically they are good hockey fans who by birth, upbringing, or through some misfortune becam Leaf fans.
In the interests of full discosure, I'll admit here that I once experimented with Leaf fandom, pre-Senators, when they were stocking up on ex-Oilers like Fuhr (my fav Oiler not named Gretzky) and Glenn Anderson, and had good guys like Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, and Dave Andreychuk. It wasn't until they started bringing the likes of Tucker, Domi, Corson, Green, and Belak that I started disliking them, and even then I admire their cockroach-like refusal to die.

So that's the good Leaf fan: knowledgeable, but biased. On the other hand, we have the short bus crowd that was sitting behind us last night. These are the types that reflexively hate everything non-Leaf.

Exhibit A, from pregame discussion: The NHL should be called the Canadian Hockey League because "all the teams were originally Canadian" (As Dave Barry would say, I'm not making this up)

Exhibit B: The only three "observations",made repeatedly, and often out of context "hustle!" "defense", and every time they'd cross the blueline "was that offside?"

Exhibit C: Ottawa has apparently NEVER ever won a playoff series (you see the playoffs do not exist beyond the Leafs) and NEVER will. Well then, that settles that, I guess.

And the coup de grace, Exhibits D through Z: When San Jose scored, out came the "Go Leafs Go" chants. Ah yes, the "Go Leafs Go" chant in a vistiting building, in a game where the Leafs aren't even playing. A classic, and a signature sign of the bad leafs fan.

In other, non-Leaf related, fan news, I am contacting the Guiness Book of World Records about the fan sitting in front of me. To protect the innocent, and because I don't actually know his name, lets call him Mr. Melon Eclipse. Mr. Eclipse certainly holds the record for the World's largest head. It covered the entire faceoff circle. Incredible.

Also, on the way out of the game, we stopped to help a lady who had slipped on a patch of ice, fallen, and broken her leg (we didn't get an official diagnosis, but that's our best guess given the angle of the bottom of her leg relative to the top). We waited with her until paramedics arrived to apply a splint and take her away. Hopefully she'll be ok.

I was also amused by the "final game at the Corel Centre" hype. Meh. It's still the same building. We're changing the name from one corporate entity to another after 10 years, not closing the Montreal Forum after 100.

All of this is to say that last night's game was probably the least interesting part of last night. The Sens laid another big stinker.

Finally, one positive that at least I can take from the game? I have Nabokov on one fantasy hockey team, and Marleau on another. You've gotta take the small victories where you can.