OT is OK with me
This year has been the first time in a long while that I have shot hockey games that mattered.
For emotion and action in sport, there isn’t much that tops an NHL playoff overtime game.
Last night’s Blackhawks’ win over Detroit was a case in point. There were big hits, great saves and lots of goals.
Unfortunately, the bad thing about NHL playoff hockey is that there are just not enough good photo positions to go around. Ice level is the place to be and with TV, newspapers, wires services, magazines and of course the Hawks’ two photographers all wanting one of the four corner spots, someone is going to be unhappy.
Last night, I was happy, for one period, that is.
In the 1st period I shot from the corner hole in the glass with a great view down the ice and a view slightly behind the near goal. Using a 300mm lens with a 1.4x extender on one camera and a 70-200mm zoom on another body, I was able to cover 95% of the playing surface.
In the 2nd period, I didn’t have a shooting position at all. I had originally planned to just wander the crowd for features during the middle stanza but with all the excitement in the 1st period, I ended up transmitting photos the whole 20 minutes of period two.
For the third period and overtime, I had a side board position that gave me great view of the goal in front of me but no angle at all of the opposite goal. To complicate matters, the Hawks were shooting towards the goal I couldn’t see. With the game tied at 3-3, I knew that I might get nothing if the Hawks scored the game winner.
My back-up plan if the Hawks were to score was to shoot either the bench celebrating or the fans behind me.
Luckily, no goals were scored in the period and the game went to overtime.
The teams switched sides and now the Hawks were attacking on my end.
Less than two minutes in, Patrick Sharp scored the game-winner. As bad luck would have it, Sharp celebrated away from me and towards the shooting position that I had in the 1st period. My consolation prize was Dustin Byfuglien (pronounced BUFF-lyn) jubilating while untangling himself from a Red Wing defender.
I’m back to the United Center on Sunday. Where will I shoot from? Time will tell.