When the game started, we'd already eaten some bar food and were excited to be watching the first game of the season that actually counted, but soon we realized that the picture was very pixelated and sometimes the players froze for a few seconds. Then, about halfway through the first period the TV completely froze and it became apparent that the bar was streaming the game from the internet through SlingBox. Apparently, like most sports bars, The Front Page has Direct TV and therefore no Versus network. Suddenly, the placement on the back patio began to make sense. All 30 of us asked for our checks simultaneously which thrilled the waitstaff. Meanwhile, a manager was behind the TV trying to unfreeze the laptop that was connected to it. Fans were calling nearby bars asking if they had the game and then the TV started working again.
This happened a few more times, but magically, we did not miss any of the Caps' goals. After the second period we went over to Kettler and watched the last period from there. It made me think that they could host some watch parties for away games. They seem to have Versus, because the game came in very clear. They'd probably sell a ton of Caps gear from the pro shop during the intermissions and the rink would get more exposure.
The game itself was thrilling. It was everything I'd hoped game 7 against Pittsburgh would have been last year. Other than the one defensive slip up that led to the Bruins' only goal, it was a perfect game. Jose Theodore was outstanding, Ovie got the goal scoring off to a fantastic start, Brooks Laich surprised everyone by matching Ovie's goals with his own, and the Caps trounced the Bruins making a strong opening night statement. This made me happy for several reasons, including the fact that it gave me an upper hand in trash talking with my friend Ben who loves the Bruins. :)
Another positive result of the game was one of the most outstanding sentences in sports Journalism appeared in the Boston Globe. Behold:
"for the 17,565 fans at TD Garden and the thousands more who tuned in on Versus - albeit not via DirecTV, given the dust-up between the network and the satellite provider - the sight of the Bruins getting rolled like a barrel over Niagara Falls didn't serve as a pleasant entrance to the 2009-10 season after a summer of hibernation."
And then, I got to watch the Buffalo Wild Wings play the Wombats! Unfortunately the Wombats won 2-1. Neil had a great shot on goal in the 2nd period, though. :)
Neil makes a nice move during warm ups. (captured by my less-than-awesome cell phone camera)