Friday, February 25, 2011

Worcester Sharks vs. Providence Bruins, 2-5-11

After seeing our NHL Sharks shutout the NHL Bruins in a matinee matchup, Patrick and I hopped on a commuter train out to Worcester, MA, to see "our" Worcester Sharks battle the Providence Bruins in prime time. Yes, we ARE that crazy.
Worcester awaits!

As do the iciest sidewalks we've ever encountered.

DCU Center, home to the AHL Worcester Sharks

Meet "Finz," the distant cousin of SJ Sharkie

We saw six NHL Sharks (all Worcester alumni) signing autographs: here are Torrey Mitchell and Jason Demers

We hopped in the Joe Pavelski / Benn Ferriero line (only six people in it!)

We also got Logan Couture's and John McCarthy's autograph on our Boston game ticket (not everyday you get to congratulate the game-winning scorer in person!)

The facility was pretty good; not a sellout, but a decent population

I brought my #14 Jonathan Cheechoo jersey just for the occasion

AVERT YOUR EYES! IT'S THE TERRIBLE, TERRIFYING, PLASTIC INFLATABLE SHARK HEAD ENTRANCE! ALL SHUDDER AT ITS PRESENCE!

Carter Hutton sat as Antti Niemi's backup in Boston, and would now start in goal for Worcester.

BEHOLD! THE DREADED PLASTIC INFLATABLE SHARK HEAD ENTRANCE HAS BEEN DEFLATED! LIVE IN TERROR!!!

Jonathan Cheechoo, back in teal! By the way, we had great seats ($28 on Ticketmaster)

Before the game, Worcester alumni came out to the ice to honor the coach. From left - Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Jason Demers, Torrey Mitchell, the recently traded Derek Joslin, and Benn Ferriero.

Battle Cheech is pumped

Defenseman Jay Leach, formerly on our NHL team, and at this point the captain of the AHL squad

Little did we know that this would be Leach's final game in the Sharks organization, as he would be traded to the New Jersey Devils four days later along with Steve Zalewski.

Pretty sweet martial arts interlude before the second period

SCORE! Joe Loprieno (#3, third player from left)


This would hold up as the game-winner

Brandon Mashinter would score the empty-netter, and the baby Sharks would win in virtually the same fashion as the papa Sharks did a few hours prior

"So we're all going to Hooters to celebrate, right?"

Top NHL prospect Joe Colborne, before he got traded to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle

Just because it was the second Sharks victory of the day didn't make it any less special

Because of a quirk in our train schedule, we had to wait close to four hours before our train back to Beantown. To pass the time, we settled in at the next-door Uno pizzeria for some deep dish and brews. Our epic day of hockey was complete - and successful!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sharks @ Boston Bruins, Feb. 5, 2011

Two weeks ago my buddy Patrick and I trekked out from unusually sunny California (ha!) to the chilly climes of Boston, Taxachusetts, to see OUR BELOVED LOS TIBURONES (how I despise you, Mark Purdy) play an Original Six team, the Boston Bruins.
Patrick and I took separate red-eye flights that both arrived at 5:30am at Logan International. We then cabbed it to our hotel, the Radisson, which mercifully let us check in at 6am. This was the view from the 21st floor.

We arrived Saturday morning to the sight of heaps of snow throughout the city. Fortunately our flights were not impacted by the midwest storms, as we flew around the remnants thereof.

It was Patrick's first time in Boston (my second time), so we went through the Public Garden (seen here) and the adjacent Boston Common before heading to our 1pm game.

Patrick was pleased to be on his second NHL road trip (the first was last season against Chicago, for Jeremy Roenick night).

Statue of George Dubya in the Public Garden

The squirrels in Boston Common seemed jolly enough in the snow.

The Freedom Trail starts in Boston Common and snakes through Beantown. We would see some of the sights over the course of our 3-day weekend.

Unusual statue with the MA State House in the background.
TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins.

There were a fair amount of Sharks fans in the audience (including the two at left).

Right as we walked in there was memorabilia on a table. Joe Thornton's autographed Bruins jersey especially caught our eye.

After the Detroit Red Wings (boo), the Bruins have the second-most Stanley Cups of all the American teams. However, it's been nearly 40 years since their last one (1972). By the way, the facility is shared with the Boston Celtics (whose green and white banners can be seen in the back).

Patrick and I were economically forced into upper tier seats, at the oh-so-low scalper price of $150. EGAD. Lowers were around $300. At least ours were the second row of the upper deck.

Twenty-three arenas down, seven to go.

Mark Recchi said that last year would be his final season in the NHL; he lied, and has been tearing it up this season as he approaches Paul Coffey's point total (12th most in NHL history; as of last night, Recchi is six points from tying him). Guaranteed Hall of Famer (sorry for the blurry upper deck photo).

Warm-ups; note the recently departed Derek Joslin (#65) on the spokes.

Two wild and crazy guys... one of whom has been to Bratislava. :-P

There were classy cheers for Joe Thornton, in what was his third return to Boston since his trade five years ago.

Dear San Jose Sharks organization, please make this happen. Sincerely, A Teacher.

I've been to plenty of crazy arenas, but the Garden just might be the loudest. I can only imagine what it was like in here the following week when the hated Habs came to town.

Patrick's camera picked up all the interesting in-game shots, so I'll summarize our 2-0 victory by saying the Sharks had possibly their best defensive game of the season, winning all the little battles. The Bruins goalie, Tim Thomas (go USA) had a stellar game, but the sole goal he let up to Logan Couture (sweet backhand!) stood up to be the game-winner. Devin Setoguchi added an empty-netter as insurance.

Winning on road trips (especially single-game road trips) always brightens the mood. We would have had drinks in Faneuil Hall (seen here), but we had to take a cab to our hotel, as we were just beginning our epic day of hockey. Sharks hockey dorks that we were (are), we had to catch a train to Worcester, to see the AHL Sharks battle the AHL Bruins. To be continued...

Friday, February 11, 2011

"They Play These Songs in Prison" benefit show @ Bottom of the Hill

Last night at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, a benefit concert was held for the legal fees surrounding the release of the 2 American hikers detained in Iran. The event was organized by the sole freed hiker, Sarah Shroud. The lineup was spectacular by both Bottom of the Hill's standards as well as an independent music standard = Tom Morello, aka The Nightwatchman (previously of a little band called Rage Against the Machine), Jolie Holland, Jason Webley, Ryan Harvey, and Lia Rose took turns singing songs that were literally sung by the detained hikers in prison to cheer themselves up. Here are a few photos and notes from the night.

Lia Rose and her band opened the show; arriving early allowed us to catch almost their entire set, which was surprisingly stellar. Make a note, this one's promising.

Second up was Baltimore-born Ryan Harvey, whose political lyrics are matched by his unwavering delivery that alternates between hilarious and subversive. I took this photo standing behind Tom Morello (note the baseball cap) while waiting for my food.

Ryan Harvey

Sarah Shroud was poignant, elegant, and down-to-earth. It was fascinating meeting her in person (as I did after the show) and separating her from the Fox News b.s.

Jason Webley's set was easily the highlight of the night, to take nothing away from the majority of the performers. I can't remember having more fun watching live music. Out of context, this will sound stupid, but the funniest thing during his set (aside from a gloriously butchered cover of The Mountain Goats' "This Year") was his demand that we hold up our fingers, stare at them, and turn around 11 times. Apparently he has a fixation with the number 11. The result = all of us (I don't think anyone abstained from this) stumbled around like drunkards, truly screwed up in the head. Hold your comments, please.
Webley also covered the Mountain Goats' "This Year." Video is here. Shroud was under the impression that Webley wrote the song, and told him how much the song meant to them while they were imprisoned (they sang it frequently). Even though he didn't write it, Webley did his best to learn it quickly in order to perform it. The results were hilarious.

I was honestly really looking forward to seeing Jolie Holland in person for the first time (I always seem to miss her at festivals, etc.). However, her constant bickering over the tuning of her borrowed guitar grew old FAST. All of the prior acts had drawn attention to the reason they were there = Shane and Josh (the detained hikers). Holland made the set seem like it was all about herself... and the audience, if I read my compatriots correctly, was not amused.

Tom Morello's acoustic set was fiery, potent, and foot-stompingly leftist. It was also solid from top to bottom. Morello's stories inbetween songs (such as how he first thought Shroud was a CIA agent when he heard about the detention on the news) kept us engaged.

Tom brought out his sometimes-collaborator Boots Riley, of The Coup, to jam with him for about 3 songs. I've seen The Coup before, and Boots is probably my favorite hip hop vocalist alive today. His stage presence is also second to none. Boots' guest appearance made for a fantastic coup-de-grace (groan...).
For more information about the detained hikers, visit http://freethehikers.org/.