I suppose Brent Burns
’ ultimate return to Minnesota would have seen him score the winning goal for the Sharks. As it turned out the former Wild defenseman did have an assist in almost 25 minutes of ice time, but the Sharks ended up losing 5-4 in a shootout.
Perhaps the unusual starting time in St. Paul was the reason for a very late arriving crowd. Once the Xcel Energy Center began to fill up there didn’t appear to be anyone booing Burns when he had the puck. And when the team acknowledged him on the video board, the applause was typically “Minnesota Polite”.
For whatever reason the Sharks weren’t firing on all cylinders from the very beginning of the game until halfway through the third period when they fashioned an impressive comeback. The game represented a stumble in what has otherwise been a fairly steady progression of games where they got better and better every time out. Burns and the Sharks didn’t get the two points they were after, but did end up with at least one point for their night’s work. Lessons learned, on to Winnipeg.
TUNES FOR A SHARKS ROADIE
Five songs I loaded onto my iPhone for this road trip that you need to check out:
Levels (Original Mix) – Avicii
Gold on the Ceiling – The Black Keys
Somebody That I Used to Know – Goyle (featuring Kimbra)
I’m a Goner – Matt and Kim
Longing to Belong – Eddie Vedder
MY 'CLASSIC' IDEAS
Another highly successful NHL Winter Classic has come and gone. Speculators believe strongly that next years Classic will be in Detroit at either “The Big House” in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan or in downtown Motown at Comerica Park, home of the Tigers.
My pick for the matchup would be the Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Beyond that, you have to think the League will go to places like Washington, DC and New York City before there’s a need to get especially creative on the location of the game.
If and when the day comes to do some “outside-of-the-box” thinking about the Winter Classic, I offer up a few ideas of my own: AT&T Park – San Francisco, California – Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings
Take the Sharks best rivalry and put it in the most scenic baseball stadium in the world for the first ever “warm-weather” Classic. Squaw Valley, California – Mystery Alaska Part Deux – Sharks vs New York Rangers
You won’t have the ability to sell 40,000 seats but this could be the ultimate “made for TV” hockey event. Put the game right up on the mountain where they played the 1960 Winter Olympic Games (pictured above). Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin – Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks
Hockey, bratwurst and cheese-heads on the “frozen tundra”. Throw in an alumni ice fishing tournament. It doesn’t get much better than that. Casino Parking Lot – Las Vegas, Nevada – Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils
Las Vegas vs Atlantic City… Have the hosting casino pony up $5 million in cash. Stack it up at center ice right before the opening faceoff. Winner takes all. Half of the cash goes to the players, the other half split evenly between the two teams’ favorite charities. I don’t care how much money players earn. If there was $100K per man on the line, you’d have a Winter Classic like none before. Whistler Village, British Columbia – Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins
Take the NHL’s best current rivalry and literally take it up to the next level!
TIME TO OWN UP
Once again the HBO producers of “24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” did a terrific job in the four-episode buildup to the game. There is still one aspect to the world of the NHL that has gone unexplored and that is the relationship between the ownership of the teams and the management and players.
Wouldn’t you have liked to see and hear a conversation between Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren and owner Ed Snyder about multi-million dollar goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. That discussion must have certainly taken place, didn’t it? Or how about John Tortorella, Glen Sather and James Dolan sharing cigar time after a Rangers win. Come on owners!
The players, coaches and GM’s are all on board with 24/7, now it’s your turn.
A HARRI TURNAROUND
It was quite the 24 hours for Worcester Sharks goalie Harri Sateri
this past weekend. Saturday night, the Sharks were trailing Providence 4-0 in the third period when in late relief of Tyson Sexsmith
, Sateri became the first goalie in 17 years of hockey in Worcester to allow a goal in a game and not make at least one save.
The very next night, in Worcester’s best game of the season, Sateri made 25 saves in a 5-0 win over Portland to record his first career shutout as a North American pro.
YOU MEAN HE DOESN’T JUST RUN HIS MOUTH?
Ten years ago I ran the San Diego Marathon on a wine-induced bet made the night before with my close friend who happened to be a well to do land developer. The bet was that if I completed the 26.2-mile race the next morning, no matter how long it took me, an outdoor sports court would be built for my two sons in our back yard free of charge. I staggered across the finish line in about four and a half hours and there is now a sports court in our back yard.
It was my first and probably only marathon. I’ve been a casual runner for the last 15-20 years, but it’s only been in the past two years that I’ve consistently made the commitment to put in my miles five to six days a week.
This current road trip to Minnesota, Winnipeg, Columbus and Chicago has me pretty confined to the hotel treadmill, however I much prefer running outside. With that in mind I offer up my top five runs on “the road”: 5. Denver – Cherry Creek Trail
This is a fantastic run on a 10-mile long trail that winds through the downtown area of Denver. The scenery is awesome and helps you forget that you are running at altitude. 4. Tampa Bay – Bayshore Boulevard
Offers fabulous views of Tampa Bay and boasts the world's longest continuous sidewalk - about four and a half miles. And it’s always warm there. 3. Dallas – Katy’s Trail
Abandoned railroad tracks that once divided the downtown core have been transformed into Katy’s Trail, a 3.5-mile long trail system that runs through the most densely developed section of the city. This is truly an oasis inside a non-oasis. 2. Washington, DC – The National Mall
When I run the Mall, an hour seems to fly by in minutes. From the Lincoln Memorial, to the new World War II Memorial, to the National Monument, to the steps of the Capitol; historic eye candy galore! 1. Vancouver – Stanley Park Seawall
This is the only run I will do even if it’s pouring rain, snowing or sleeting (pictured above). Think of Central Park on the Pacific Ocean amidst the British Columbia coastal mountain range. If it’s not on your running bucket list it needs to be.