Sunday, December 03, 2006

12/2 sharks 3, DETROIT 2

THREE, twenty-five and one. A horrible record, yes, but try telling that to the Sharks. A game that looked to be a Sharks loss after 40 minutes swung quickly and sharply in the Sharks' favor in the span of just a few minutes, much to the dismay of 20,066 (maybe somewhere more accurately around 20,000 or 19,995, but close enough) supporters of the Winged Wheel present at the always tough Joe Louis Arena.

Mark Bell finally got off the schneid, scoring the game-tying goal with just three and a half minutes left in the third period. Bell, tallying his fifth of the year, and first goal since a 4-3 loss in Nashville on October 26th (15 games), scored on a rebound of his own shot. Just a couple of minutes later, Junior Joe (you saw it here first, Jumbo Joe [Thornton] and Junior Joe [Pavelski]), exiting the zone after the Wings took possession, swung right back around and took a great pass from Milan Michalek and beat rookie starter Joey MacDonald, saving the Sharks from overtime, robbing a point from the Wings, and stretching the Sharks' win streak to 5 games.

Facing a tired Detroit team, the Sharks were able to take advantage, as Vesa Toskala needed to make just 17 saves for his 13th win of the year. Toskala is now 3rd on the NHL wins leader list, tied with 4 others: Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen, Buffalo's Ryan Miller, Carolina's Cam Ward, and Roberto Luongo in Vancouver.

Last night was the first time of the year (hopefully not the last) that I was faced with a problem. In a city and a building where the Sharks were not tops, celebrating a crazy victory like this one is hard to do, unless one enjoys the taste of one's own blood. Fearing the prospect of a 20,066-1 fight (guess who wins that one), walking quickly and quietly was the order of the evening once the final horn sounded. For the most part, I was pretty much ignored, as people were smart enough to realize that I had little to do with the outcome of the game, and were also smart enough to realize that it was just a game. However, I did experience a couple of memorable encounters, both non-violent.

After walking down the back entrance stairs, there was an bottleneck right where groups board their tour buses following events. There was a man standing there with his wife, heavy coats on, greeting people in a very friendly manner as they squeezed by and continued their migration towards the COBO parking garage and convention center area. Upon my passing by him, however, his friendly demeanor quickly vanished as he did a once-over of my garb, and I was met with a not-so-friendly comment. (Comment has been edited for the squeamish and the children, both groups of which I am a member.) Guy: "Oh no you don't {kind sir}, I know you're not wearing a {very stylish} Sharks shirt. Everybody, this {young, upstanding gentleman} is wearing a {quite snazzy} Sharks shirt." (For those without the imagination, insert the phrase that so crudely means, "lover of one's female parent".)

Now, rather than being dumb and caring about this statement, I had no real choice but to laugh and grin very widely at this. Choosing not to react, I was able to hear the reaction of several Wing fans around me, who had a very similar reaction. A few "oh wows", a few " oh my goshes", and just a few wordless chuckles. A woman walking next to me, concealing her Sharks jersey in the cold of the Detroit night, turned to me and said, "Don't worry, I'm wearing an {amazingly beautiful} Sharks shirt too". To which I replied, " there's nothing to be upset about, he's absolutely correct. I am wearing an {endlessly spectacular} Sharks shirt."

A couple of others made comments, both to me and to their friends about me, about my footwear of choice on this evening (my signature Adidas flip-flops). One very toasted gentleman, telegraphing what he was going to do to his just-as-smashed buddies, came up to me, and proceeded to remind me where I was ("Detroit, some even call it Detroit Rock City"), where I was from ("we're not in California, we don't wear sandals out here, it gets cold here"), and where one of the Sharks is from ("Joe Thornton is from Canada, he's a good ole' Canadian boy. He helped you guys win tonight. It's ok, you can be happy you guys won, but just don't forget who helped you. Joe Thornton, Canadian boy.") [Side note, "Good ole' Canadian boy" Joe Thornton was held off the score sheet last night, so Mr. Drunkman loses that argument]. One last remark about my footwear ("guy must have walked here from California") and back to my hotel I was. Other than the small cascade of good-natured "boo's" I received while walking up the aisle at the end of the second intermission, the fans were very respectful of my Sharks shirt.

The Sharks look to complete a four game road sweep tomorrow when they take on the division rival Dallas Stars down in Big D at 6:00 PST. Having already won in tough buildings (Minnesota was 9-1-1 going into Wednesday's game, Detroit was 7-1-3 before last night), the Sharks look to hand the Stars what would be only their third home loss this season (9-2 at home).

Go Sharks (go buy a {super swanky} Sharks shirt)

It's Yzerman... er, Yzerlego.

Rally Al the octopus.


Blogger Special K said...

I almost fell off the couch when Pavelski got the game winner. I figured the Sharks would be lucky to escape with a point.

11:07 PM  

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