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LOCKOUT: Day Twenty-Eight: Hockey Withdrawls


“Well, there’s got to be hockey out there somewhere.”

For those of us with a hockey addiction, we’ve all been needing our fix. I am lucky. I live in Providence, Rhode Island. My job is connected to the Dunkin Donuts Center. If I need to get my fix, it’s a simple process of walking through the mall, through the hotel and convention center, and end up at the Dunk. Plunk down a very modest amount of cash for good seats and have my need sated.

Granted, some of us are not allowed such easy access to our indulgences. Some of our fans have turned to watching AHL/OHL games on local television. Others have turned to more exotic fare. ESPN, sensing the need to feed, purchased the rights to a limited amount of Russian KHL, and other European hockey leagues. (This is one of those moments where ESPN will be remembered for making the fans content.)

Meanwhile, the Providence Bruins started their season with a home opener against the Manchester Monarchs, the AHL affiliate of last year’s Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings. The Bruins put up a solid effort for their first game of the season, but they came up short. Manchester left Providence with a 3-1 victory over the baby B’s.

Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy knows this will be an important season for his players. especially those prospects who have a genuine shot of breaking through to the NHL(season permitting). “The crowd always supports us,” Cassidy said. “It’s a crowd here, and we’ve got to start giving them something to cheer about. There are high expectations for home openers, and our season expectations are high. We didn’t meet them tonight, and we’ll learn from it.”

“Ever since I’ve been here, we’ve had great crowds even when the NHL was going,” P-Bruins captain Trent Whitfield said. “We’ve got a good hockey crowd here, and they understand the game. We’ve got to play together for sixty minutes. Tonight, I thought we played a strong forty, but forty doesn’t cut it, especially this year with all the talent in this league.”

We’ve still got hockey everyone. It might not be what we want, but I’ll give those players my support. Lord knows, we’ll see a few of them wearing the big “B” this season (or next).