As some (or many) of our readers may know, I'm not the biggest fan of the World Cup of Hockey. Being a traditionalist in all things hockey, I detest that there's a young-guns team when traditional nations like Slovakia, Switzerland, and Germany are not competing and mourn the addition of adds to the timeless hockey sweater, even if it's just a SAP logo on the shoulder.
Nevertheless, as a hockey fan, how could I not take a break from outlining my Torts class here at Ohio State last Friday night to see the Canada v. United States game?
After organizing the details with a former college teammate of mine, I headed down to Nationwide Arena. Since we love grades here at OnTheForecheck, here's the exhibition match's report card.
While there were long lines outside of Nationwide Arena as people bustled through metal detectors, the crowd was in a jovial mood. I quickly realized that I was surrounded by knowledgeable hockey fans, all of whom were friendly and ecstatic about the game ahead.
During player introductions, the fans booed and cheered appropriately. A number of people in my section gave me puzzling glares when I stood up and booed my lungs out during Ryan Suter's introduction, but that's to be expected. As the game progressed, the Columbus fans performed the two key components of earning an A: refusal to perform "the wave" and plenty of "U-S-A!" chants. For extra credit, after a controversial check by Sidney Crosby on Kyle Palmieri, the stadium began chanting "Crosby sucks!" in perfect unison.
However, the stadium didn't sell out, so no A+.
I alluded to this earlier, but there were pretty bad lines to get into the game. It took my teammate and I a solid twenty minutes to enter Nationwide Arena. After walking around a bit, we made the biggest mistake of the night and waited for food. After twenty minutes in another line, I was charged for three cheeseburgers instead of one and a drink. After five minutes, they fixed the debacle. I then patiently waited for my cheeseburger. Perhaps they were simply understaffed, but I then waited yet another twenty minutes to actually get my food. By that point in time, I had missed warm ups and barely made it to my seats for introductions and the anthems. At least my seating angle was good for nosebleeds, right?
Of all my critiques of the World Cup of Hockey, my largest had to be that I believed the quality of games would be low. Who would want to lay hard body hits right before the season begins? Would there really be any intensity to the games?
Boy could I have been any more wrong.
Perhaps credit goes to John Tortorella's coaching style, but the game was incredibly physical and had a playoff-feel to it. Every player was giving 100% each and every shift. Tensions flared. Ryan Kesler got tossed, which really didn't surprise me at all. Although he played here at Ohio State, so the fans were pretty bummed when he deservedly was ejected.
It was truly a thrilling affair. The pure collection of talent on the ice placed myself in complete awe. Simply seeing what these truly world class players were capable of when playing together was incredible.
I'm no longer a naysayer: the World Cup of Hockey is going to be awesome. Perhaps it won't have the history or prestige of the Olympics or the IIHF World Championships, but it is guaranteed to be a fun and exciting event.
On to the Dump & Chase!
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