Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to view the Baby B's take on the Hartford Wolfpack. Here's a short scouting report on the boys.
If you haven't taken yourself to an AHL game yet in your life, please for the love of god make the short drive to Providence. It is a move you will not regret. For $26.50 I sat in seats comparable to those of the Mayor in Dallas, 13 rows from the ice on the aisle at the end the B's shoot twice. The give aways are unbelievable. During a commercial break (I think it's televised on COX cable only available in RI) they gave away maybe 25 things. You enter a slip in a raffle box and they give away gift cards, food, and all kinds of stuff for the kids. They are not messing around in RI.
The hockey itself is a bit sloppy. Obviously not at it's highest level of play, the game however doesn't suffer from a viewing standpoint and these kids make it up with their feisty style of play. There were 4 legitimate fights and 2-3 skirmishes that were broken up. My favorite occured just as Kirk MacDonald netted a tally for the B's to go up 3-1, as he turned towards the right face off circle on one foot and fist pumping, a Baby Ranger bumped into him. MacDonald immediately dropped his gloves and pounded the kid to holy hell. A play I knew would make the Mayor salivate on sight. There were also a lot of Hail Mary dumps, in which the puck is just lofted as high as possible to try and break it out. Not very effective but interesting to watch. It's like anticipating a punt return in the XFL, you just know someone is about to get lit up.
As for the Baby B's themselves. Vladimir Sobotka (yes I know now is a regular B) plays like he is 10 foot tall and bulletproof. It's the same game he plays in the bigs, but much more entertaining to watch at the AHL level because he looks like the reincarnation of Cam Neely, but 5 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter. Brad Marchand (again regular B now) plays tough and his game is really respectable. Mark Recchi like, always in front of the net, killer wrister and very quick. Mikko Lehtonen netted a pair that night and I'm surprised he wasn't called up again. That boy has got some serious skill and I think we'll see him very very soon, maybe for good. Trent Whitfield is the Baby B's Captain and he's like a Steve Begin. The player you hate to play against but love to have on your team. Very pesky and kind of dirty. Probably won't stay long up in the bigs but nicely rewarded for the hard work he puts in down in RI. Danny Sabourin played solid in net stopping 34 of 37, he was a decent pick up in the off-season if things really get hairy in Boston.
A very good night, B's win 5-3. Though I was very disappointed with the fighting. Well not so much the fighting itself, which happened with regularity and there were some decent bouts. What I had a problem with is that one of Hartford's Assistant Captains skated the whole night and didn't even come close to dropping the mittens. And if you have the name Byers emblazoned on the aft of your sweater, you better come with plans of doing so. Lyndon's little cousin Dane is apparently not the second coming. I'll just have to go down the next time their in town to see if he takes off the skirt.
That is all. Let's go the Bruins.
and for that matter......
Let's go the P-Bruins as well