Saturday, 24 September 2011
#JLCreviewer Reporting For Duty! Wings/Flyers Edition!
At first when my friend Brian had nominated me to be the #jlcreviewer I asked...what the hell is the #jlcreviewer?? Then I was told if I won I would be responsible for keeping the twitterverse up to date on the action between the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers live from the JLC here in my hometown of London. Once I found that out I asked...how the hell do I win this???
Well through sheer luck and the power of my tweeps (especially @BHRaymond) I received the good word from @jlc Tuesday afternoon!
Fast forward to Thursday night as I get dropped off on King St at the steps of the JLC Centre lookin hot in my Krejci jersey (Always gotta represent) I was ready for some hockey!
The atmosphere outside the JLC was rockin. It really was a party like atmosphere with the street party, red and orange everywhere (although seemed to be about a 70/30 split Wings to Philly fan).
Once inside the JLC after picking up my tickets and heading over to Section 105 I was in amazement when the usher pointed out my seats to see that I was literally 7 rows behind the Red Wings Bench!! (More on my seats and the "view" later).
Now of course anyone who knows me and my hockey viewing habits please rest assured knowing I was there in time for warm up! (Never miss warm up...never leave early!).
I hop down to my usual spot right up against the glass to get a closer look at the Red Wings. It was awesome to see a pair of legends and future hall of famers Zetterberg and Lidstrom just inches away through the glass. Aside from the legends I could not help but notice 6 foot 4 inch 220 lbs of Red Wing defenceman # 52 Jonathan Ericsson.
I know this guy isnt just coming on to the scene and has been around for a while but I tell ya watching him up close throughout warm up and into the game. For such a big body and just a physical prescence this guy can move and is very good with the puck very solid in his own end. He had a good year last season and was a +8 but my bold prediction coming from my trip to the JLC was that Jonathan Ericsson somewhat forgotten behind Lidstrom and Kronwall...will have a breakout season seeing increased ice time and will be relyed on heavily by the Wings as a shut down D this season!
Down at the other end of the ice...yes there were some of the Flyers big names...Giroux, JVR, Talbot...but the name I was most interested in keeping an eye on was one that is very familiar to my fellow Bruin fans....Kessel.
Yes Phil's little brother Blake fresh off signing his two-year contract with the Flyers was in the lineup.
Well I gotta tell ya...there should only be one Kessel in the NHL. Throughout the night I made a point of looking out for Blake and at points I forgot he was even playing. I left very unimpressed.
He may make the Flyers but personally I see him as a career AHL'er who perhaps is where he is
primarily because of the name on the back of his jersey...certainly not by his play on the ice!
As far as the game itself. Well it surely didn't disappoint. Yes it wasn't my Bruins, yes there was a fair share of players destined for junior and the AHL but I loved every minute of it!
The Wings were definitely the better of the two teams on the night taking it to the Flyers controlling the play and the shot clock for most of the night.
Aside from my new gem Ericcson I was also REALLY impressed by Wings forward Darren Helm. Man this guy can fly! He scored one of the Wings 3 regulation goals and perhaps was the best player on the ice.
The Wings took a 3-1 lead into the third and looked to be in complete control however the Flyers would strike for two late goals adding to the drama with Wayne Simmonds tying it 3-3 late in the game sending it to overtime.
Overtime would solve nothing leading to now the infamous shootout at the JLC (by now everyone knows what happened so I will save my banana commentary for the end). On the ice it would be the 8th shooter Red Wing free Agent pick up Ian White who would finally end it beating Flyers goalie Micheal Leighton to end it!
Now my actual reporting of the game would be somewhat more in depth but I did have one slight yet rather wide problem throughout the game. My view was blocked by a VERY annoying Flyer fan!!! Boys and girls when you're at a game and...please..please...do not stand up to cheer for every single play that happens in a game. If the other team goes off-side...its not a reason to stand and cheer. If the other team ices the puck...its not a reason to stand and cheer. If your team gets a shot on goal...its not a reason to stand and cheer. If the horn goes to end a period it does not signal that it is now time to straddle your boyfriend!! Nothing gets under my skin more at a hockey game then drunk annoying "fans" who don't know anything about the game!!
So again JLC..thank you for the AMAZING seats...thank you for picking me to be the #jlcreviewer...but please next time keep the uneducated, annoying, drunk woman out of my section! Perhaps for next year's pre-season game at the JLC I will be sitting in the Press Box with my Ashley's Honey Pot Blog Media Accreditation :)
Ok before my banana commentary time for one last bold prediction. The Philadelphia Flyers will NOT make the playoffs this season. Yes I know this was not their entire team and there were several players out of the lineup. However I think Jagr will be a bust, I think Captain Chris is way past his prime and I'm not sold on Bryzgalov. To take one of the top leaders and two way forwards in the NHL in Richards and one of the top goal scorers in Carter out of your lineup...I really think they took two giant steps backwards this off season. Sorry Flyer fan..going to be a long year.
And now to the idiot who threw the banana. Take it from someone at the game...this was not a reflection on the fans and the atmosphere at the JLC that night. London is an amazing hockey city with great fans. The actions of this loser are strictly that...the actions of a loser. I hope they identify who the thrower was...then perhaps the only banana action will be one shoved up his ass!
Again...thank you JLC!!! It was an honour to be your #jlcreviewer!