Two nights, two games, one landslide win one landslide loss. The games could not have been more opposite if they had been dreamt up. This is just further proof that there will be more growing pains for the new team.
Friday night the Bulls returned home to play the Stockton Thunder. This was one of the games I was looking forward to the most out of the whole season! It was Cap Night, and there are few things better than new gear. David and I headed to the Palace after work. There was a great crowd. And an added goodie was Sergio Romo, Ace San Francisco Giants Relief Pitcher, dropped the First Puck.
|Sergio Romo of the SF Giants (picture courtesy of Rocky Barbanica)|
The Thunder scored first, but that was the end of their offense, it was all Bulls the rest of the game. The team was in complete control of the game. Every player was moving in unison. Passes connected, hits smashed, Power Plays worked, as every cylinder fired on queue.
It will go down as one of the best hockey games I’ve ever attended. Everything was spot on. The music was excellent, the new intermission games the team now have for the fans are fun, (I LOVE Friday Night BINGO!), and a great sized crowd made for a victory of 4-1 Bulls over Thunder even sweeter.
|Coach Curcio, Ryane Clowe & the Bulls Bench|
I hadn’t planned on going Saturday night for the game versus the Ontario Reign. Money is hard at the moment and I shouldn’t have spent it, but it was so much fun Friday that I said, why not, to myself and headed out on my own. I bought a ticket in the Dress Circle. The seats are great there. For $26, you get a nice overview of the game and can follow the puck and action as it happens.
It was Poster Night with a cool calendar of this season’s games. The crowd was smaller and there were a lot of First Timers there. Many were there only to see Devin Setoguchi, one-time favorite Sharks player, who’s now with Minnesota Wild, temporarily playing for the Ontario Reign.
The game was the worst the Bulls have played so far. A complete mirror-opposite of Friday night’s. Going from the Best to the Worst overnight is remarkable and I’m not completely sure how it was done but I’ll give my thoughts in just a bit.
There was NO BULLS OFFENSE, it was missing the entire game. In the first few minutes of the Second Period, the shots were 17 Reign, 2 Bulls and it hardly improved. From faceoffs to passes, the Bulls didn’t show up for Saturday’s game. So many missed opportunities! At one point, the Reign net was completely open and the Bulls’ shot was so off the mark that the whole crowd groaned in unison. It was a painful night. Forward Evan Barlow slammed his stick into the tray angrily halfway through the Second Period. But the game didn’t get any better. It got uglier.
There were two power plays that gave the Bulls nothing. Please refer back to my prior post about power plays being one of the team’s weaknesses. This is a key area they will need to overcome to ensure success. The other area, penalties was also HUGE Saturday. There were many unnecessary ones. Too Many Men on the Ice? This one always gets to me. I know things move fast but please, use caution! And then at the end of the game, a couple players just lost their cool, which I have no respect for. I don’t care how badly the team is losing, there’s really no reason to throw fits. Sure, have a couple good fights, that shows you’re still in it, but to slam your stick down on the ice or get in an argument with the Ref does NOT solve anything!
Onto Saturday’s crowd. If you’re just there to see Setoguchi, then you’d better ONLY root for the Reign. Don’t you DARE cheer for the Bulls in one minute and cheer for Setoguchi when he scores for the Reign in the next! And yes, there were A LOT of Bulls first-timers who did that! Even if you like a member of another team, it’s in extremely bad taste to root for them when they score for the opposing team and then pretend you’re a fan of the home team! Pick one team or another! Be a Bulls fan or don’t be. I liked Setoguchi when he played for the Sharks too, but now he doesn’t, so I moved on, time for others to do the same.
I know the Lockout has been good for ECHL teams as far as attendance, but in some ways it’s been negative because many of the fans don’t “get” the ECHL. They don’t respect the league and aren’t trying to understand how it works. They don’t think the players are good or aren’t even paid! Those fools sitting in back of me were talking, they were drunk so it was quite loud. One of them said “So, which players are professional?” Another said “I don’t know the numbers of the two that are.” This went on for a while. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I said, “they’re all professional.” One replied back “No, I mean, which ones are ‘actual’ professionals.”
At that point, I just shook my head. Anything further would have been wasted energy on my part. I blame the movie “Goon” for losers like them. Even though it was an entertaining movie, it was highly inaccurate and really hurt minor hockey’s image. There’s no way in hell drunks like this could go to an NHL game and act like that.
They were screaming at the top of their lungs things like “USA! USA!” Huh? Most of the players are from Canada. Finally in the Third Period, they got up and tried to get into the Goal-Area bar that’s just open for Elevated, Glass & Box Seat Holders. I of course, watched their whole drunken escapade and eventual denial of entry. It was much more fun than the game at that point except for one fight at the end of the game by Jordan Clendenning, which was a pretty good one.
Don’t go to a Bulls game and think you can act like a complete drunken loser and scream whatever you want. You’re still at a PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY GAME, so think of the people around you. Try to show some respect. Also, The Bulls are an independent team. Sure, they’re affiliated with the Sharks but they are NOT owned by them. This is a different league with different players, so think of them in that light. I know this is new to all of us and new is hard sometimes, but new is also fun, isn’t it?
The team is going through a learning curve now and it’s going to be hard to find consistency. They will find it, hopefully sooner rather than later, but they will find it.
Wednesday, November 14th, they travel back to Ontario to take on the Reign once more. Hopefully this time we will be victorious and then this Friday, November 16th, they begin a 3-game homestand with one game against the Idaho Steelheads and two games versus the Utah Grizzlies.