Nobody cared that there was no hitting. Nobody cared that the game was a blowout after the first period. The 10,700 fans who filled Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for Operation Hat Trick only had one thing on their brain.
They want hockey.
Throughout the 10-6 Team New York win over Team Philly/New Jersey, the crowd stood on their feet while “we want hockey” and “fire Bettman” chants rained down.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I got a little choked up when you had 11,000 people cheering they want hockey back,” Hartnell said.
Scott Hartnell captained the Philly/New Jersey team while Brad Richards wore the C for Team New York. The proceeds from the All-Star-like event benefited relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims in New York and New Jersey.
Henrik Lundqvist didn’t show any sign of rust in between the pipes for Team New York, stopping 56 shots and notching yet another win against Philly.
“Dang Rangers, they got our number, that’s for sure,” Hartnell said. “You’d think he’d have a little rust on him not playing a game in 5-6 months.
Even with Future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur in net, Philadelphia just couldn’t escape their goalie problems. Brodeur didn’t fare well, giving up ten goals, including four by Pittsburgh’s James Neal.
“I think that is why they scored 10 goals,” Brodeur said. “I am not used to that orange [jersey].”
It was great to see some of hockey’s greatest players on the ice together but it was also bittersweet. The fans poured all of their stored up energy into cheering for their hometowns but it left fans wanting more.
The lockout is 72 days and counting.