Sunday, August 14, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR – BOSTON

After matches against a few of the other league teams, the Selects were to face off against the big bad powerful Boston Bruins. The Bruins’ had a lineup that was specifically built and tailored to more effective in the friendly confines of the Boston Garden. Once again, another shorter dimensions ice rink. That way they could be on a player much quicker and close any distances more rapidly. This was especially true when Mekkar or his teammates had the puck on their stick. Their youthfulness and relative inexperience could be very much exposed in panic situations like that.

The Bruins were also a very scrappy squad through the decade and maximized the use of their smaller rink to physically intimidate most of the visiting reams. They had tough players such as Stan Jonathan, Mike Milbury, Terry O’Reilly, Brad Park, & others. However, it was not on the scale of The Broad Street Bully teams that were in their championship glory period down south. The pundits were quick to note there was a balance of toughness and talent in Boston which the Bruins had in abundance too!

Also, the Garden was constructed so long ago before modern building techniques were instituted. Humidity and arena temperatures could fluctuate greatly and affect the playing surface and game conditions in the facility. Mekkar was aware of this through his earlier research that issues more often arise during the warmer parts of the year. It should not be a factor now for this matchup, Mekkar thought. It turned out it wasn’t a problem involving the Selects during this game. The travelling squad had more pressing matters to deal with.

For the fans of the current day, the closest one can experience the old time styled buildings would be in a few minor pro leagues or top tier junior circuits. That is, if the old barns are still in existence before being torn down and replaced by more sterile places. Some of those aged rinks are tiny in comparison to the smaller than the normal sized Garden. Mekkar has seen some rinks where shots toward the opposition net from the offensive blue line were equivalent to being far inside the offensive zone. That is, more than anywhere else with standard hockey dimensions.

Mekkar had one source of reference as to the style of the Bruins. He remembered there is only one league in Europe, when facing clubs there, which was more like the North American linear and rougher style of hockey. This mode was contrary to other comparable elite ice hockey circuits around the world.

Thankfully for Mekkar, there were no line brawls in the Bruins – Selects match like Mekkar had previously watched on tape versus some of Boston’s main rivals. It was more common theme in the nineteen seventies games and every so often included fans also. Still, it was a physical, if non-descript affair. Mekkar was of the opinion that the Bruins didn’t have the desire nor motivation to really put the hurt on the visitor’s on this evening.

On the other hand, Boston has a bruising manner of hockey instilled in their fabric as a team and it would be hard for them to adopt any other way. Mekkar said, “The Bruins were compelled to take advantage of their home’s idiosyncrasies and they did so during this game.” Boston pushed the young Selects around most of the night and banged the road weary Selects 6-2. Only Mekkar, Lasse, and a couple of others on their squad were not affected by the Bruins system of breaking teams down.