"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.

(The Bro and I at the Gahden)

*Disclaimer* Primarily a hockey post coming. Those of you who don't know Milan Lucic from Milan Kundera can skip ahead to the end and the baseball bits.

I think I finally understand the phrase, "Just happy to be here," in regards to the playoffs. You'd think I would have gotten it in 2001 with the Patriots but there has never been any kind of semblance of rationality about my football fandom. But with the Bruins, I'm a realist. So last night's Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden was AWESOME, despite the loss.

The way I figure it, the Bruins are lucky to be in the playoffs at all. It came right down to the wire and they've been playing nearly the entire season without their best player who was lost early to a nasty concussion and post-concussion syndrome. And, you know, frankly, they're just not that good. Not when matched up against faster, higher-scoring teams. So to be able to go to a Bruins playoff game is quite a thing in and of itself. And it? Was INTENSE.

I think I might also know what Orioles fans feel like when the Sox are in Baltimore because holy crap were there a lot of Canadiens fans there. Lots of signs in French, lots of singing, lots of red and blue. B's fans occasionally tried to drown out their Canadiens counterparts with chants of "USA! USA!" (because this is Miracle, apparently), but our northerly neighbors certainly made their presence felt. But for the most part, they were benign. Except for those dudes with the cowbell. I'm of the mind that if you go into someone else's house as a visiting team's fan and you bring a freakin' cowbell with you? You deserve all the abuse you get.

But what a game. The Bruins holding the Canadiens to one goal is notable, as was their smashmouth style of play. And my crush on Milan Lucic is complete and total. Which is just not even right because the dude is NINETEEN YEARS OLD. But he's also fiery. And I like that in my hockey players. I am not alone in this, however, as every third dude there seemed to be sporting a "Lucic 17" number tee (which I absolutely must purchase immediately), and gushing about their man-crushes on the boy.

I wish I had the words to fully express the intensity of playoff hockey. Even in Boston, despite the fact that it's baseball season, the Celtics are top dogs in the NBA playoffs and everyone knows the likely outcome of this series. It's not even the same sport as during the regular season. It's amazing. It's fast and it's hard-hitting and it's fantastic. I realized sometime during the second period that this was the first playoff game I have ever been to, in any sport. It was totally worth it. My sole complaint - besides the loss, of course - is that the Garden employees REALLY need to take some kind of efficiency training or something because good lord in heaven it should not take 25 minutes to buy two beers. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE THERE IS HOCKEY HAPPENING.

Also, Boston is so very quintessentially Boston as the street vendors very kindly offered you the chance to buy a "I Hate Peyton Manning (Eli Sucks Too)" t-shirt on your way out of the building to salve the wounds of the loss. I'm not saying I did, but...okay, I totally did. I'm petty like that.

I think I'm still amped up. It's either the hockey or the fact that I finally have a new, actual, grown up bed and am no longer sleeping on the floor and it's completely changed my outlook on life. Either/or.

ALSO! Red Sox! Jason Varitek! Home runs and fun! Exclamation points! I got home just in time to see Okajima strike out the first two in the ninth and then Jacoby run down that last fly ball for an excellent final out catch. Sox scores were oddly hard to come by at the Bruins game, other than when we were leaving and a guy had an actual TV ON HIS PHONE. Technology is AMAZING! What will they think of next? Flying cars and robot maids for everyone!

But I hear tell it was a solid performance by Wakefield and, you know, having Jason Varitek pinch-hitting a home run is only going to help your cause. I also hear that the Indians have apparently learned their lesson and refused to pitch to Manny in the ninth. Smart move. Took 'em a while though. And Jed Lowrie is the most adorable thing to ever don a Red Sox uniform, I think. That kid makes me believe in angels and miracles, he was so earnestly happy, showing the ball he hit for his first big league RBI to a NESN reporter. Awwww... Still, hurry back, Mike Lowell.

So tonight we head to New York to play the Yankees (again). But hey, look at it this way, after Thursday, we'll only need to face them 13 more times this season. Good lord.