ANNAPOLIS — Though the U.S. and Canadian soloists did a fine job with Saturday national anthems in a chest-thumping opening ceremony, Bob Seger should’ve been there to sing Against The Wind.
In the end, the NHL was able to go full steam ahead at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium when gusts that were in the 100 k.p.h. range Saturday morning dropped to about half that strength. Flags were still flapping hard in the direction of Leafs goalie Federik Andersen at game time, though the temperature was around 5 C. That allowed for ambitious opening ceremonies to go ahead, despite tailgaters having plenty of dust blowing in their faces.
The ceremonial puck was ‘curled’ in atop a rock by American Olympic gold medallist and skip John Shuster, whose mates nearly swept it to the centre ice button perfectly. Admiral Ted (Slapshot) Carter, the hockey loving Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, who helped make this first ever game at a service academy possible, was present and ringed by 500 midshipmen on the carefully detailed deck of an aircraft carrier, complete with a model jet and landing lights.
Both teams were piped in by their respective military, the Caps in their nation’s colours, the Leafs so white from helmets to socks that they made the ice look grey. Speaking of which, it held up after neither team was able to skate on it until the warmup.
“The good thing is it’s the same for both teams,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said in the morning. “This will be my fourth (outdoor game) and you just have to find a way to win. Lots of times there are not a ton of plays in these games just because the ice isn’t that great. If the ice isn’t great, then don’t turn the puck over.
“The sun, the wind, all that stuff … in the end it’s going to be a great opportunity for both clubs.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies