Monthly Archives: January 2010

The view from the red line: 01/28/10

Ventured to Ristuccia today for the second day in a row. Got some happy news on the way over; apparently Andy Ference put some skating time in before the rest of the team came out for practice. Could we really be en route to having an entirely healthy team, soon? Consider this – Begin, Bitz, and Sturmface all skated today, participated in all drills. Granted, it was about an hour lighter than yesterday’s practice, focusing mostly on breakout drills, power play/4-on-4/4-on-3 situations, but these guys are almost ready to go, if not completely ready, as is Savard.

Ristuccia is a fun place to take in a practice. If you’ve never been, how it works is this – the bleachers are divided in thirds, two-thirds being open to the public, the other third reserved for media and Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli (they watch from the bleachers a lot, lately.) The bleachers are at ice level; I know some other teams do it differently. The Blackhawks make you watch practice from a balcony above the glass – different perspective but not as great for pictures, and you don’t get that fun opportunity to watch your favorite players right through the glass. Another fun thing is getting to see the people you know so well from TV right up close – John Whitesides and Naoko Funayama were out and about in the public side today.

Plus, the coffee machine at Ristuccia has some beneficial issues. I definitely put the same dime in four times and it kept coming back out…$1.25 hot chocolate for $0.50. HECK YES.

My love for the Ice Box aside, the most fun practices to watch are the ones like today’s. While the atmosphere of yesterday was more serious, hard-working, and down-to-business, today was a bit more light hearted at times – makes sense, given that the team will immediately travel to Buffalo this afternoon. Mark Recchi was the only person not present today; the plan is probably for him to meet the team in Buffalo.

Rex was too busy being badass and carrying the Olympic torch in his hometown. AWESOME.

The team was all on the ice by 11:15, for an 11:30 start time; the work ethic is really giving this practice a positive feel. The team worked on a variety of drills, from below-the-blue-line special situations to breakout passes. Lines looked like this:

Lucic-Savard-Satan

Ryder-Krejci-Wheeler

Sturm-Bergeron-Bitz

Thornton-Begin-Sobotka/Paille Continue reading

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Snapshots from Ristuccia, 01/27/10

I had the good fortune to spend practice today with Steph (@keepontruckin30 on twitter), and part of the awesome involved was that she brought along her fancy pants camera. She also got there about 25 minutes before I did…being up late playing hockey is tough, and getting out of bed to be at Ristuccia for 10:30 was a little too taxing for me. Half this practice report gets credited to her, as well as the use of camera. Tag-teaming for the win!

Around 10:10, the zamboni was still finishing up the ice and apparently Savvy was already on it, skating around. He was shortly joined by Boychuk, Chara, D-Mo, Wideman, Tuukka, Bergeron, Wheeler, Krejci, Ryder, Satan, and Lucic. So…about half the team, out twenty minutes early for practice. That’s saying something, especially considering how long practice ended up running for. They run some drills, and about 10:30, the rest of the team joins them, begins warming up.

(ETA: According to Bish’s blog, this was the power play unit out working early. I feel EVEN BETTER about this now! Was Boychuk perhaps there so he can step in and replace Wideman…? Only time will tell…)

Last man on the ice? Claude Julien.

The guys worked on simple breakout passing at first, using the following lines:

Lucic-Savard-Satan

Ryder-Krejci-Wheeler

Paille-Bergeron-Bitz

Thornton-Sobotka-Begin/Whitfield

Notably absent was Mark Recchi, who was home in Kamloops, British Columbia carrying the Olympic torch through his hometown. What a beast. Marco Sturm and Andrew Ference were also obviously absent due to injury.

Continue reading

The other side of the glass

SO tonight was the moment I’ve been waiting for since coming home from Colorado (well, aside from the Winter Classic weekend and my trip to Buffalo and Christmas and my birthday….okay, I’ve been waiting for a lot of moments): the first day of novice hockey.

Basically, my only hockey experience to this point has been messing around on a pond with my family as a kid, and a few sessions of skills and drills out in Colorado. This – this was completely different. First of all, my dad runs the league; not only do I get to be the coach’s kid, but I’m only one of two women who play in this co-ed league. It’s fantastic.

Oh, one other thing? We play at Ristuccia Arena. Yes, you too can join a novice hockey league and pretend to be Dennis Wideman as you fall over trying to block a shot (I kid you not, I did this tonight.)  or Blake Wheeler as you skate too fast over the blueline (I’m sorry, my bitter is showing)! It’s pretty fantastic. Got to skate right over to the drawing board Claude uses in practice, got to sit on the benches where the B’s will sit tomorrow morning at 10:30am. It’s a strange perspective; you tend to not pay attention to the stands or people outside the realm of your stick, your skates, the puck, and maybe your teammates. Or maybe that was just my inability to keep the puck on my stick…

NOTES FROM THE NIGHT:

  • I will never ever complain about Ristuccia being an icebox again. Really it’s a sauna that magically has ice in it. The temperature difference between sitting in the stands in jeans and a fleece shivering and actually getting in a workout in several dozens of pounds of gear is MIND BLOWING. Seriously, never compaining about this again.
  • As I said above, blocking shots is actually incredibly hard!
  • The ice at Ristuccia is terrible; I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bruins move to a different arena for their practices sometime in the next few years. There was already talk to build an arena on the Woburn/Reading line, but it fell through; clearly, though, it’s something they’re thinking about.
  • Dad says: “speed is a key to this game. When you’re doing drills, try to do them as fast as you can. Aaand, you can put that in the blog tonight!” Clearly he is excited about the prospect of taking your questions, guys. Get on that!

In conclusion: skating where the Bruins skate is really cool. I’m really bad at hockey but it’s only the first day. It’ll be really interesting to NOW go to B’s practice and see the ice I’ve now skated on…stay tuned!

New Feature: Dad’s Mailbag

The Dad and the sister unit. Yes, that is peyton manning's face on a popsicle stick, about to go into the fireplace. Don't ask, 2007 was a rough year.

This is my Dad. And my sister, but this post is mostly about my Dad. Dad has been a Bruins fan since the late 60s, so basically forever. He’s played fantasy hockey since before it was cool; I actually have memories of wanting to get on the computer back in 1998, but not being able to because Dad was too busy with his Hockey Stuff. (Whatever, back then playing X-Wing was way more important to me than hockey, let’s be honest).  Also, he runs a novice league at Ristuccia Arena! Basically, he’s awesome, and is the primary reason I got into hockey in the first place.

I had the opportunity to watch that abhorration of a Bruins game on Sunday night with my Dad; both of us, having been kicked out of the family room so mom could watch Peyton Manning stomp on the Jets (we have this thing in my family where we really hate Peyton Manning….it’s a deep-seated issue, and it’s best to just not ask and roll with it), retreated to the kitchen and turned on some hockey. As it got worse and worse, the gems my dad came up with got better and better.

“At least with every game the Canes win, there’s a better chance the Leafs will finish last.”

“At least Brad Boyes is playing lousy this year.”

So on and so forth, a few things about how Lucic doesn’t deserve $4M/year, some stories about back in the day – including an epic facefall when he found out Sergei Samsonov didn’t have any points (we missed the 2nd period).

Also for the record, he wants Aaron Ward back. I think.

ANYWAYS, we’re going to try to coerce The Dad into doing a feature on here once a week called Dad’s Mailbag! Send your questions to me by @reply on twitter, by email, or even in the comments to this entry, and my Dad the snarky Bruins fan will try to answer them in as opinionated a way as possible.

(Oh, and if anyone’s interested in joining a novice hockey league/school, let me know! The Hockey North America program he runs is still accepting participants for that!)

Now to go let him know I’m doing this…!

Bruins intro video thoughts

So here we are, Bruins fans.

Halfway through the season; it’s not as pretty or spectacular as last year. Understandably, some fans are riled up and angry at the team; we’re not playing hungry, not playing good defense, not doing this or doing that. The sense of hope that we’d repeat the stellar numbers of last year is gone; all that remains is the gritty hope that we’ll hang on to our mid-level playoff spot, and maybe pull out a miracle somehow.

Has anyone noticed that this shift in attitude is apparent in the Bruins’ home opening videos?

Here we have the video that debuted against the Capitals, that first game back on 10/01/09. Continue reading

Alaska Fairbanks: A Whole New Level of….something

Ah, the hockey intro video. We all know them and love them. They give us chills in the moments before a game starts, showing classic highlights and fantastically rendered graphics, set to rock music or something equally chilling.

They’re present in professional hockey as well as college hockey; when done right, they’re effective in getting a crowd to its feet, cheering and raucous. Much as it pains me to hold Boston College in high esteem, here’s a good example of a nicely done intro video:

It’s classy, it give you the right emotions (and it’s okay to post here because Boston University won all this stuff the following year, so ha.)

Here’s another one that’s a little bland, but still okay: Colorado College Tigers. Mostly just old highlights, set to some decently intense music:

Okay.

HOWEVER.

Then we have videos like this:

WHAT.

Okay, Fairbanks, you get points for use of the Alan Parsons Project, which most people (I believe) associate with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Aside from that, though, you’ve got….a flying bear who blows up planets with his hockey stick, set to “Danger Zone” from Top Gun. Um, really? AND IT GETS BETTER. They updated their video for this season:

What have I learned from this? Alaska is dark, cold, ships have to break ice to get through places, apparently polar bears can fly jet planes, Alaskans hate Ohio State and Notre Dame with a vengeance, and they have a secret vendetta to blow up the Earth.

Hmm….seems mostly accurate! Good job, guys, if you were going for most ridiculous hockey intro video in all of NCAA hockey…you win, for now.

Czech Czech: Bruins to open 10-11 season in PRAHA!

So here I am, happily sleeping away my Saturday morning, absolutely no reason to get up, when suddenly my phone rings. Well, okay, to be fair, my phone rang twice, the first time I totally ignored it. But the SECOND time…a conversation sort of like this ensued.

Me) mghpgfnpghgph. ‘ello?

Teka) DUDE OH MY GOD WAKE UP RIGHT NOW

Me) *grumble*

Teka) WAKE UP THE BRUINS ARE GOING TO PRAGUE

Me) (in my head: “where thehell is Prague?” to be fair, I’d just woken up) *mumble mumble*

Teka) DID YOU HEAR ME? PRAAAAGUE.

Me) Awesome! Okay going back to sleep now.

First the Winter Classic – and now, according to the Boston Globe, Prague, you guys! Homeland of our very own David Krejci and Vladimir Sobotka. Of course, we’re slated to play the Phoenix Coyotes, and they have…Radim Vrbata, Petr Prucha, Martin Hanzal, Robert Lang, and Zbynek Michalek (Michalek the Lesser!) SO MANY CZECHS, SO LITTLE TIME.

Since this is a 10 day trip, we might also get exhibition games in the homelands of Zdeno Chara and the STURMFACE – Slovakia and Germany. Final cuts will also probably be done ON the trip, so some of the prospects will probably come to Europe for at least part of the 10 days.

Based on previous road trips, can we assume that we’ll get hilarious webcam action a la the Blackhawks? One can only hope.

Games will likely be played at the 02 Arena, home to the Czech Extraliga’s HC Slavia Praha. Guess who’s a Slavia Praha alum?

Hairfail. Man, I love this.

Yep, our very own Vladimir Sobotka. Home ice advantage? I’m thinking yes.

Anyways, we’ll be keeping an eye on this developing awesomeness along with the Czech lovin’, desert-crazed kids over at The Good, The Bad, The Coyotes, so keep your eye on us!

Anyways, as great as this news is, we’ve still got half a season and a run at some pretty prestigious hardware to make. The win over the Sharks was CLUTCH, but the rest of the season starts today in LA against the Kings. Let’s take down Raccoon Boy and those horrible purple jerseys. GO BRUINS.