Has the life been bled out of the new NHL in order to jazz the game up a bit and boost scoring? Some people think so and they don't think it's a good thing.
There's one problem. Serious fans, the people who pay attention even when the puck goes a few minutes without entering a net, don't recognize their game. The greater number of scoring chances, the improved flow, the restored advantage that good skaters have over plodders -- those are all welcome changes. But to achieve them, the league has bled out the physical play and passion that gave the sport its edge.I think the games doing just fine. You have to expect this sometimes rough period of adjustment we're witnessing but players will adjust. Already I think thats happening with the recent games I've seen. The physicality and aggression are starting to comeback as players get more comfortable with understanding and mastering the basics of the new game. The game's doing fine and will get even better as we move beyond this introductory phase.
We've seen a lot of speed-driven, 6-5 gunfights. But with players paranoid about drawing whistles, those games often look more like All-Star workouts than Slap Shot grudge matches.
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Folks were very vocal but things didn't get too out of hand.
One ugly moment, caught by a local TV cameraman, came when a fan dumped a beer on a woman wearing a Bertuzzi uniform.To be continued...
The most telling sequence, though, came after Colorado's first goal, 2:37 into the first period. Joe Sakic scored and, with the celebration in full force, the Canucks thought they'd sneak Bertuzzi into the game.
Nobody missed it, though, when he climbed over the wall and onto the ice. Boos drowned out the chorus of "Rock and Roll, Part II" blaring through the sound system.
From there, the booing continued steadily _ every time Bertuzzi came onto the ice, every time he came close to the puck and especially when he got an assist on a third-period goal.
With the clock running down, the fans filled the arena with an obscene chant about Bertuzzi. Only when he was knocked down by Ossi Vaananen, then later hammered into the wall by Rob Blake, did Bertuzzi's presence on the ice garner cheers.