Just when you thought you'd seen it all.
Last night as Anders Nilsson led the Canucks onto the ice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, there was an eerie silence consuming the rink. Any moment now, Thunderstruck, Kickstart my Heart or Welcome to the Jungle would begin blaring, thought everyone.
Nadda. Nothing. Zilch.
Five minutes earlier, a fire alarm had gone off throughout the arena. There were noises and lights and zero panic because there was zero fire. Something tripped the fire alarm, which caused the PA system to shut down. No PA system, no music for warm-up. Sixteen minutes of silence.
Not having your thoughts drowned out by heavy metal was oddly soothing. The soundtrack to warm-up was hockey noises, pure and simple. Sticks hitting pucks, hitting posts or pads. Skates carving the ice, stopping abruptly sending snow flying. There was also a lot of giggling from the guys, who couldn't believe what was happening.
Self appointed Canucks team DJ Michael Del Zotto was befuddled. I'm actually surprised he didn't have a portable speaker hidden in his equipment so he could take over the arena music duties. A good beat in warm-up is important.
"I've never seen anything like that," he laughed post-game aboard Air Canucks, en route to Boston. "I kept thinking it was a joke, some kind of mind games the Senators were playing with us."
No mind games, but did it affect the game game?
"It's tough to get super pumped in silence," said Sven Baertschi, who added this wasn't his first time warming up quietly. "It used to happen all the time in the AHL, especially in San Antonio for whatever reason."
The silence continued through the Senators pre-game video before the Sens goal horn blared as the team hit the ice. My ears, they work! As anthem singer Steph La Rochelle stepped onto the ice, silence fell again and a graphic on the scoreboard asked fans to help her sing O Canada. No one knew when to start singing. It was awkwardly adorable. Then, 10 seconds into the sing-along, her mic cut in and she led the crowd through the national anthem.
It was game on as usual from there, but with the Canucks putting together a masterful 60-minute performance in a 3-0 win over the previously undefeated in regulation Senators, the question had to be asked: was it quieter in warm-up, or in the 3rd period with the home team down three goals?
"No comment," winked Nilsson.
Hey, at least the lights worked!
Think back to November 30, 2014, Canucks vs. Red Wings in Detroit. Twenty-nine seconds into the game, a transformer blew and the Canucks end of the ice went dark. The players used the ensuing 34-minute delay to stretch, grab a snack and, in the case of Derek Dorsett, reflect.
"When I was with the Tigers we were playing Vancouver in Medicine Hat during the '07 WHL final and we had fog delays," said Dorsett, on the oddest thing he's ever seen at a game. "The fog was so thick we'd have to stop the game until it lifted a bit, then skate around the ice to clear it, then we'd play for three or four minutes until we did that all over again."
"Not only that," continued Dorsett, "it was Game 7 of the WHL final."
Nothing adds drama like fog. It didn't deter Dorsett and the Tigers, however, they won in double overtime.
Just when you thought you'd seen it all…