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NHL Goalies Part III, Philadephia Says “Good-Bye” to the Sprectrum and My Best Day

September 28, 2008

Good afternoon from Music City, MD! The NHL Hockey season is almost here and I am giddy with anticipation. I’ll begin this post with my thoughts on the Canes-Flyers pre-season game in the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia yesterday. It was a happy accident that I stumbled across the game on Comcast Sportsnet yesterday. There was a lot of orange and nostalgia displayed, aside from the game. Pre-season games are basically just fun for me to watch, so I don’t have any comments about the play this time around. It was just a good feeling to watch a hockey game. Mostly, I was interested in learing about the history of the Spectrum. I always just call it The Spectrum – but it will be demolished next year under the name of the Wachovia Spectrum.

I suppose I got caught-up in some of the nostalgia along with the crowd on hand in Philadelphia. If someone were to ask me if I remember my favorite day or can remember the best day of my life; I’d have a hard time picking a specific day. I think, however, that my answer can’t really be anything other than the day I drove to Philly, saw a Phantoms game in the Spectrum in the late afternoon. Then walked across a parking lot and saw Elton John and Billy Joel play back-to-back grand pianos together. I got to see a hockey game AND two fantastic musicians, PLAYING TOGETHER all on the same day, and never had to move my car once I parked it. I was home by 1pm and up for work the next day too! It really was a great day. The traffic was easy to negotiate. As much as I love NHL Hockey, I enjoy going to AHL games as well. I’d never seen Norfolk or the Phantoms play before. The Spectrum is smaller than it’s next-door neighbor and it feels more cozy and personable to me not matter if I go there to see live music or to see AHL Hockey. That day was more perfect a day for me, than any other day I can remember. I think I will miss the Spectrum when it’s gone.

Most likely, I will not journey North to see the Specrtum go down, but I think I’ll be a bit sad when it finally goes down. I did watch Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street in Baltimore get demolished. I also lied to my boss and took the day off so I could go to Largo, MD when the U.S. Air Arena (or Caps Center, etc.) was brought down. More than likely, the 1st Mariner Arena (a.ka. Baltimore Arena, Baltimore Civi Center, etc.) will be destroyed sooner, rather than later, so I’d probably try to watch it fall. I have a lot of great memories combined in those buildings. I don’t watch baseball anymore, so most recently those memories have been hockey and music. I’d say a good day for me is getting both in the same day with very little effort. ROCK ON!

Since I’m on a roll with my favorite things today – I might as well get into the NHL goalies. The Buffalo Sabres will be heading into the 2008-2009 season with Ryan Miller and Patrick Lalime. As Miller has grown with the Sabres, so have his skills and habits. He’s solid and as long as the skaters can do what they need to do – Buffalo has a good starter. Lalime has bounced around the NHL. I think he’s got something to prove, but the odds are long that he’ll have a lot of opportunities, short of an injury to Miller. Buffalo is a team that should have a third goalie on the roster. Miller can hold his own, and Lalime can back-up, but it makes more sense to me to give Miller time to rest – resulting in less chance of injury. Lalime needs the real-time game practice and a third in the mix almost entirely removes the odds of having to scoop up the Portland Pirates goalie out of where ever at a moments notice. Stress reduction is a good way to win games. Let’s hope Miller stays healthy.

I had temporarily lost track of Alex Auld, but now I have found him in Ottawa. It was clear last season would be Ray Emery’s last with the Sens. It was not as clear if it would be Emery’s last season in the NHL. In fact, it looks as though Emery’s inability to be professional and to play consistently well has landed him in the KHL. He and Jaromir Jagr appear to have both found a place in the KHL. The Sens now have the Gerber/Auld combo. My sense at the moment is that Ottawa will be quite grateful to have Auld. Aside from Andrew Rayroft, Gerber is another netminder of which I am highly critical. Gerber’s a roller-coaster performer and seems to take forever learning from his mistakes. I think I have more confidence in Auld than I do Gerber.

I’ll need to get to Leclair and Brodeur, check-in on the Kings, the Coyotes, the Islanders and the Panthers, and go over the outlook for the Washington Capitals in the next entry. Until then – live your hockey like you love it!

NHL Hockey Rocks – GO CAPS!

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