Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2/24/08 sharks 2, PITTSBURGH 1 SO

Well how about that. I got so used to that losing thing, they go and do that winning again. And in style too.

Jonathan Cheechoo recorded a goal in his third straight game, and the Teal shooters buried all three shots in the glorified skills competition Sunday at the Igloo. Cheechoo buried the game's first goal, the fourth time he's done that this road trip (he didn't score at all on Long Island), not only extending his goal scoring streak to three games, but giving him 4 in 5 games. In the shootout, Joe Pavelski, Cheechoo, and Jeremy Roenick all flipped wristers past goalie Ty Conklin, while Evgeni Nabokov made the only save, by stopping shooter Kris Letang. In regulation and overtime, Nabokov made 20 saves for his 33rd victory this year.

Now, its a bit broad when I say this, but the Igloo, also known as the Mellon Arena, is old. Really, really, really freakin' old. And unique, too. From the outside, the building looks like a miniaturized version of the Kingdome in Seattle, a basic round building that could be well described as a silvery pimple on the horizon.

Once inside Gate 3 entrance, which faces the downtown area, you have to make an immediate decision, going up the left or right escalators to your side of seats (only after I made the decision did I realize that the concourse connects up on the main level, so it doesn't matter which side you choose). The concourse is pretty small, and doesn't have signs, which is too bad, because this is the most complicated building I've been to so far (only the North East Division buildings have eluded me). The seating area is basically comprised of 5 levels, the ice lounge, the A/B/C level, the D level, the E Balcony level, and the F Balcony level (there's probably more, but I couldn't discover them). The balconies are just on the sides, and are stacked on top of one another, with the D section in the same slope as the C, B, and A sections, just in higher rows. The scoreboard, like the rest of the building, is ancient, but provides a nice old time hockey barn feel.

Another aspect of old time hockey, at least for current day, is the idea that old stuff is brittle, and breaks. Cut to the ice resurfacing after the pregame warmups. The first zamboni comes out to begin its set of passes over the ice, making it nice and smooth for the first 20 minutes of play. Well, that's what it was supposed to do, anyway. After making it across the blueline, the zamboni stopped just past center ice, no one paying much attention to it. After sitting there for a little while, the smokestack on the machine began to, well, smoke. A lot. After enough sitting, the zamboni finally began to move backwards, only to reveal a large red puddle of red (it was later determined that what was thought to be transmission fluid was in fact just hydrolic fluid, much cooler and much less destructive to the ice than the former). After a big groan and a 25 minute delay of spraying and squeegeeing the ice, the game finally got under way with out a hitch.

With the Atlantic Division behind them, the road travelers continue westward, far enough to be back in the Western Conference. After a couple more days off, the Sharks will invade Central Ohio for a clash with the Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00). The jackets have been up and down all year long, but remain a tough opponent because of their style and coach, Ken Hitchcock. Columbus, who remains in the hunt for their first trip to the playoffs, are winners in their last two games, just like the Sharks. The season series belongs to the Sharks currently, leading 2-1 (the Jackets won the game in Columbus 2-1 on 10/27, the Sharks won both in SJ, 3-2 on 1/5 and 2-1 in OT on 2/8).

As mentioned in my deadline post, the Sharks made a major deal today, trading Right Winger Steve Bernier to the Buffalo Sabres along with a 1st Round Pick for Defenseman Brian Campbell. Campbell is a puck moving defenseman, who will help the PP, mentor the younger D (Carle, Ehrhoff, Vlasic), and feed/clothe the homeless (or so I've heard). According to all reports, he should be in the lineup tomorrow night in Columbus, and I'll get pictures of my own on Friday and Saturday. In addition, the Sharks sent Defenseman/Left Winger Rob Davison to the Islanders for a 7th Round Pick, allowing Davison to finally get a shot at some ice time. The last move made today by the Teal brought a veteran backup goalie to the Sharks, as they signed Brian Boucher away from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL. This move allows Thomas Greiss to get some seasoning in the AHL, where it'll be much more beneficial than opening the door in the big show.

GO SHARKS (Welcome to San Jose, sort of, Brian "Soupy" Campbell)

NOTE: All my pictures from the trip can be found here. Also are the pictures from the entire Odyssey last year, and the pictures from this coming weekend in Detroit/St. Louis will be there as well. Below this post is some of the leaky zamboni shots. Remember, this is not blood, because I did not faint while taking these photos. I am a wuss with blood.

The Igloo, in all it's silvery pimply goodness.

Really? The Penguins and Sharks are playing today? What a coincidence, maybe I should go.

A look on the E and F balconies to the left, with part of the D section and C under the overhang.

Same thing, but to the right.


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