So Saturday night, I was at the Avalanche game with my pal Andy. He was lucky enough to score tickets to the game, in some REALLY REALLY good seats. We were the 2nd row behind the glass, so needless to say I was excited to just be that close to the action. It's like you're sitting on the bench with the players. Not only were the seats frickin awesome, but the Avs were playing the Vancouver Canuks. And depending on your opinion, one of the newer/better rivalries in the NHL, due to the whole Canucks Todd Bertuzzi beatdown on Avs' Steve Moore almost 2 years ago.
So the first period goes by, with all the non stop action, fights and near misses of your typical hockey game. But it was happening less than 10 feet right in front of us. GO to re-fill the cocktails and we're back in our seats for the 2nd period. Again, pretty typical 20 minutes - Canucks get the call on a delayed penalty, their goalie leaves the ice for an extra skater till the touch up. One of the Avs knocks the puck loose near center ice towards the open goal, going... going... -*TINK*- off the post. A near miss, and right in front of us...
Enter 2nd intermission... refill cocktails, back in the seats for the start of the third. Here's where the action picks up... Avs forward Dan Hintoe is up for the face off and at the drop of the puck, instead of taking the face off, he throws his stick aside, drops the gloves, picks his man, and the fight starts. Time on the clock stops at 19:57, and the fists fly. LOL... Five for fighting for both and the game continues.
Now since the Bertuzzi-Moore, well let's jsut call it an incident, and Bertuzzi an @$$hole, his games in Denver have been met with the "BOO!"'s of an entire sold out crowd at the Pepsi Center. You'd be a little tense too with 10's of thousands of people telling you "YOU SUCK" as loud as they can yell it everytime he steps on the ice or touches the puck, but the guy brought it on himself.
Towards the end of the 3rd period, about 13 minutes or so left, Avs are down 3-2. Both teams line up for a face off in the Vancouver zone, 10 FEET RIGHT IN FRONT OF US AGAIN -*WINK*-, and Bertuzzi has his back right to us. If the glass wasn't there, I literally could have leapt from where I was sitting to tackle the guy. Out of nowhere, and over my head, flies this little stacking doll thing they gave at the door when we came in. It flies over the glass onto the rink in front of us just missing Bertuzzi. Witthout hesitation he turns around and looks right at Andy and I. The guy sitting behind me and everyone else in our section starts shouting at Bertuzzi "YOU SUCK," "CRIMINAL," and "GO TO HELL BERTUZZI," you know, that sort of thing. The NHL official STOPS the game, comes over to talk to the Pepsi Center usher by the glass, while everyone in our section is still screaming at the top of their lungs. The officials and the ushers are trying to pin it on the guy sitting right behind us, TOTALLY WAS NOT HIM. The damn thing flew from about 15 rows back and a whole section over, obviously the guy that threw it had a hell of an arm. When they couldn't figure out right away who threw it, the officals and ushers started pointing fingers at Andy and me! WTF! I handed my box that had the giveaway doll still inside it to the usher and told her "Go ahead check it, mine's still in there!" Then they tried to toss me out cause I was flipping off Bertuzzi. Yea, I TOTALLY flipped him off, the guy is a jerk. But if you're gonna kick me out, you might as well toss out every one else in the arena, cause it safe to say, I wasn't the only one flipping the bird last night. So this goes on for a good five, almost 10 minutes, and they have our section on the JUMBOTRON in the middle of the arena. I was feeling a little tense arguing with the refs and the ushers, up until the ENTIRE PEPSI CENTER started chanting in unison "BERTUZZI SUCKS." Then the officials and the ushers knew who was on our side. The 'suits' at the Pepsi Center go and check the tapes from the TV cameras, (FYI: there wetre double the cameras there last night cause the game was broadcast on both Altitude Sports Net and CBC Hockey Night in Canada, plus that really cool wire cam thing) The PC suits found the guy that actually threw it, like I said he WAS sitting 15 rows back and a section over from us.
Yea, crazy. But the insanity doesn't stop there.
The game finally gets rolling again, now everyone in the arena is insane after the stoppange and chanting. Carnival type atmosphere, totally loud and nuts. The Avs score a goal to tie up the game with 7-8 minutes left in the game. Just as this is happening, two sections to our right now, this 40-something year old man just starts beating the hell out of this other guy, IN THE STANDS!! FANS, NOT HOCKEY PLAYERS, THE FANS!!! This scrum in the seats goes on for like 30 seconds until security, aka Pepsi Center Ushers, are diving from the aisle into the middle of the seats to break these guys up. So now, half the crowd is watching the game on one side, and the entire other half of the crowd is watching this old guy beat the sh*t out of this other guy. The fight gets broken up and the cops start escorting people up the stairs. Just so happens it's two young guys with Vancouver Canucks jerseys. As they're walking out, people in the seats are razzin' them and they talk crap back, then the cop behind them shoves him and he falls down. HA!! He gets back up and looks at the cop like "What the..." It's always funny when it's not you, huh?
So the final seconds of the game tick off the clock, and it's a 3-3 tie. Going to OT, 4-on-4 for five minutes. Intense, fast moving and hard hitting for five miuntes, then the horn. Still a tie after OT. My favorite rule of the "New NHL" states that if there's a tie after OT, then teams will go into a shootout. As if the crowd weren't worked into a big enough frenzy already. To sum it up, Vancouver takes it 1-0 in the shootout and wins the game.
Far and beyond the craziest, intense... I'm still at a loss for words.