I don’t go to a lot of hockey games, for a couple of reasons:
1) There’s not a lot of “poetry.” Low scoring sports like hockey and baseball need to have something beautiful about the gameplay to overcome the slower pace when compared with basketball and football. Baseball has its intellectualism, but hockey has nothing. It doesn’t have quite the passing grace of basketball, nor does it have the scripted execution of football. In short, I find it to be the most boring while simultaneously chaotic of the four major sports.
2) It’s too hard to root for four teams. I’m not sure how other people do it. For me, sports fandom is a huge emotional investment, more than just a passer of time. And I can’t invest myself so much in four different teams.
So when I went with some friends to watch the Bruins take on the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night, I didn’t expect much from my team. And that’s exactly what I got: not much. There were some cool moments in the game, such as the goals by Michael Ryder and Patrice Bergeron, but overall I wasn’t too impressed with the Boys in Black. Columbus is a terrible team this season, and yet they were the ones usually beating the B’s to the puck. The Bruins had plenty of chances to score, taking nine more shots than the Blue Jackets, but they just couldn’t seem to put it in the net. Too many times did they seem to be just pussy-footing around with the puck near the opponents’ net instead of taking actual shots. They missed at least one open net shot that probably would’ve iced the game for them. Instead, they kept giving up leads to a Columbus team that was hungrier for the win than Boston was.
I also was not particularly impressed with our backup goalie, Tuukka Rask. He seemed out of position most of the night, leaving the net too often to get stray pucks. His sense of positioning and his reaction time is not nearly as good as Tim Thomas’s. He needs time to develop into an NHL-caliber goalie, but until he gets that experience I fear he may lose a lot of games.
As for the game, the Bruins held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before giving up tying and eventually the go-ahead goal at the tail end. Milan Lucic was called (questionably) for high-sticking, and it put the Bruins in a short-handed situation for the remainder of the game, during which time the Blue Jackets scored their game-winning goal. The Bruins kept the puck in the Blue Jackets’ end, but they were unable to punch it in even after they pulled their goalie. In the end, the Bruins effort was just a little too lacking and they lost a game they could have won. As I understand it, closing out games has been a major problem for the Bruins this season (although I could easily say that about EVERY New England sports team these days).
Despite the loss, I still enjoyed my time at the Garden. The crowd was relatively rocking, with lots of chanting in the stands and good energy in the air. The pee-wee hockey league match during the first intermission was absolutely adorable. And the burrito toss was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. So all in all, I give the game a 4 and the experience an 8.5. Not bad for $40.