I watch lots of hockey. Lots and lots and lots. In fact I’m watching a Montreal Canadiens game, en Français, as I write this. I’ve also been to a fair number of games now, mostly at the ACC, as my work sometimes affords me a chance to go. I feel bad about that — I despise the Leafs, and feel bad taking a seat from someone who would dearly love to see a game, but don’t want to be rude to those who invite me, and anyway still enjoy seeing the game played live. You just don’t get a sense, watching it on TV, how fast and fluid the game is.
Last Thursday I was lucky enough to see the Leafs play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’d actually seen that match-up live once before, but with a key difference: Sidney Crosby didn’t play the first time. Last week I got to see the best player in the world live.
To be honest, it freaked me out a little. Like I said, I watch a lot of hockey, and I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the play, spotting the open man, guessing where the next pass will go, identifying openings and seams which — if exploited — could lead to a goal. So, normally when I watch a game I feel like I’m about half a second ahead of the play. But not with Crosby. With Crosby, I was behind. Actually, I was completely out of the play. Two or three times he passed the puck somewhere I hadn’t been expecting, to a space I didn’t know was occupied until his teammate had the puck on his stick. Like the one at the 2:38 mark in this video, behind his back to Pascal Dupuis who was so open Crosby was likely the only player on either team who knew he was there.
Oh, and we had dinner at Aria before the game, my first time there. It was…just okay. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back, but it’s certainly better than most other options that close to the ACC.
Photo by Thomas Hawk, used under Creative Commons license