GURT'S BLOG: OFF NIGHTBlogs | 2/21/2011 5:23:18 PM | John Gurtler
Greg Allman of the famed Allman Brothers Band has been very open about his bad performance nights. When you’re playing that many nights and traveling back-to-back, you’re bound to play a few bad songs – and shows, for that matter.
I caught the AB Band, still my favorite group, at the old Darien Lake performing location back in the late 80’s and they had a bad night. “Here is a song Dickey Betts wrote,” said Allman, slumped over his B-3 Organ with Leslie Amp twirling in the background. ‘In memory of Elizabeth Reed’ was the song, one with various tempo changes and keys.
It’s an instrumental and, if played perfectly, it’s a great song, one that still has holds up today. But if one band member is off, it can be a real musical train wreck. I happened to catch one of those nights. Everybody was off and the song sounded like the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” backwards.
I empathize with Greg Allman. I am not afraid to say I had a bad game this past Saturday at HSBC Arena between the Philadelphia Wings and Bandits. You would think that with the Bandits facing the Wings for the third time in seven games this season, the broadcast should just flow. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.
And I was way off the mark Saturday night. Even with Jeff Dowling filling in for Randy Mearns (who was coaching his Canisius Griffs at Bucknell) as the color analyst and providing some great points, I could not get into the flow of the game. I made some bad mistakes, butchered many sentences and had trains of thought that went nowhere.
I missed various plays that took energy away from the broadcast.
An example is the Taylor Wray cross-check on Brett Bucktooth at 5:04 of the first quarter right in front of the net. Bucktooth's goal was waved off, the coaches challenge was not accepted and Bucktooth was whistled for a goaltender interference penalty. I was too busy wondering if Wings goalie Brandon Miller was okay from the collision with Bucktooth. It wasn’t until the middle of the commercial break I was told I was all wrong. Yep, I missed that one.
In addition, I was a play ahead of the Matt Alrich mugging of Mark Steenhuis just inside the Philadelphia zone and the bum-rush of Steve Priolo on Alrich, who had the look of playground bully who was just hit square in the face by a tetherball. Somehow, the penalty slots hit big with Priolo, which gave him three bars (2, 5 and 10) and a complimentary early shower. I was waiting for PA announcer Chris Swenson to end the penalty call with “…and a brand new car!” Yep, I missed that.
How about the sleepy, endless roll of the ball after a Bandits’ shot that found its way inside the Philadelphia crease near the end of the second quarter? The ball had enough energy to cross the goal line and it was just about to when the play was whistled dead. I was too busy watching the extra Bandit attacker coming from the bench, noting there was a delayed penalty.
You know the feeling. You’re willing the ball over the goal line by the belting-breath of “gooooooooooo!” only to be knocked out of your slow-motion trance by the shrill of the referee’s whistle – and nobody touched the ball? Yep, I missed all of that – must have dozed off in front of the TV.
By the end of the first half, the Wings had netted four power play goals. But the Bandits made a game of it in the second quarter with two goals in 64-seconds. Yeah, I was struggling.
Give credit to the Wings. They are a good team and Miller had a good night making 43 saves off 52 Bandit shots. Philadelphia’s Drew Westervelt and Ryan Boyle made some good plays.
Bandits Tracey Kelusky and John Tavares kept pace with five points apiece but penalties hampered players like Steenhuis, who had four minors called on him throughout the game. This forced the team to adjust, which meant a change in tempo.
The Bandits handled that change nicely in the second half and played extremely well, albeit short-handed most of the time.
Yep, it was one of those nights. I could never find the grove and I was way off my call. The game itself had no ebb and flow. Now I know the feeling Greg Allman has and appreciate his candidness. Just don’t let me slump over like that.
What a great moment Saturday night when the Bandits honored John Tavares with a framed Bandits jersey with ‘700’ stretched across the back in honor of him becoming the first NLL player ever to score 700 goals. To have his wife and two young children on the floor with him as he received the honor shows how close this organization is to its players.
The Bandits take a bye this week, but will return to action with back-to-back games on Saturday, March 5 when they host Rochester and Sunday, March 6 with a 5 p.m. road game in Boston against the Blazers.
John Tavares, Chris White, Brett Bucktooth and Mark Steenhuis will play in the NLL All-Star Game this Sunday in the Event Center at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY, just past Syracuse. The game will air live on Versus starting at 2 p.m.
The East roster has some familiar names in Dawson, Doyle, Powell, McCready and Cosmo. In addition, young players such as Garrett Billings, Cody Jamieson Max Seibald and Sid Smith will make their first All-Star Game appearances.
The West roster will be led by John Grant, Geoff Snider, Rhys Duch, Brodie Merrill and Paul Rabil.