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I got to take in my first live Avs game of the season last night, and it was a bit eerie watching a team that had nothing on the line collectively. It was still fun and it was worth it just to remember how much different (and better) the game is in person. There's so much that gets left out of a TV broadcast. The Jibblewife summed it up best "It's just so much faster here". I don't really do game recaps, I leave it to the the Joe's Davids and pro's. But here's some things you may have missed watching it on TV:

• The most stirring renditions of the Star Spangled Banner I've seen live. To honor the 4 Oakland Police officers shot to death over the weekend the Sharks invited a member of the Oakland Police Department to play the anthem on a lone trumpet. The trumpet started against the silent backdrop of the crowd, and then the crowd started Pianissimoly singing the words to the anthem. The crowd hum crescendoed until the hum of the singing crowd complimented the officer's horn, but never drowned him out. As "home of the brave" lit up the arena we all cheered and the teary-eyed officer gave a "thumbs-up" of appreciation to the crowd. It was very touching.

• Something happened in the first period where Joe Thornton ended up tangled up in the Avs bench with Ryan Smyth. It didn't look like a scuffle or anything, but it was truly bizarre.

• After Cheechoo's hit on Nycholat the arena erupted in a cascade of boos as the crowd realized the Sharks were going to be shorthanded for 5 minutes. Without missing a beat I leaned over to the Jibblewife and said "They're only booing because they haven't seen the Avs' powerplay."

• Needless to say the Sharks had a short-handed chance on the subsequent Avs "power"play.

• I got a new camera for my birthday last month, and usually the Powerplay is the best time to take some good shots. This is because teams set up and you can kind of guess when a shot is going to come. Needless to say I didn't get one good picture from that 5:00 powerplay.

• For the second season in a row I got to see an Avs rookie TJ make his debut* as an Av. Strangely enough this has been in San Jose.
* This is if we can all agree that Edmonton game never happened

• Throughout the game the Sharks scoreboard flashes different gamestats at the bottom of the jumbotron. Midway through the second period this flashed up:

Team leaders-hits:
Wolski-2
Smyth-2
Galiardi-2
Salei-1
Soemone else-1
DD, at MHH, said this of Galiardi:
Galiardi spent much of the game with Milan Hejduk; he's playing awfully small on the ice, but he's shown some good flashes when he gets space.
When the rookie who plays small (because he is small) on the ice is a team leader in hits maybe it's time to bring in some coaches that encourage physical contact. Shouldn't a defender be leading this list?

• You probably did see it, but JM-Liles got aa roughing call for getting into a dust-up with Staubitz.
Liles: 5-10 185lbs
Staubitz: 6-1 215lbs

JM, please let Laperriere take care of those guys.

•After Hannan scored his goal the crowd booed. Loudly. I thought they loved "The minister of Defense"

• As first star Alexander Semenov was giving his routine boring on-ice after-the-game interview Jody Shelley surprised him with a Whipped Cream/Shaving Cream pie to the face and everyone laughed. I can't think of one time this season where I thought the Avs were having enough of a good time to pull something like this.

• I don't want to rip the guy too much, but Brett Clark makes at least 2 passes a game that make me scream "what are you thinking?" Last night, late in the game he passed the puck up ice right into 4 players (2 sharks, 2 Avs) when there was a wide open winger on the other side of the ice.

• JM Liles: Shoot the puck!


that was longer than I thought. Yes I met with Adrian Dater after the game and we had an interesting chat. I'll have some comments on it, and his blog, later. Also I have some shots from the game that I'll post when I get around to it.