Leading up to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, news broke that San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl would miss out for the second consecutive game (after Monday's game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer reported that Hertl's status will be day-to-day). And the chatter on whether Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby actually did cheat on winning those faceoffs over Logan Couture and others would finally die down.
But before the drama could unfold on the ice, Metallica was in the building and that's all it mattered to the fans inside SAP Center before Monday's game. The San Francisco Bay Area-based Rock & Roll Hall of Fame heavy metal band, who has stacked up everything from records to ticket sales to a massive hardcore fan club and of course their names in Cleveland, were invited back to the 'Shark Tank' to help pump up the fans and team, who needed as much hype as possible just to get even in the series.
But while NBC was still airing commercials, CBC - in conjunction with Rogers Media's "Hockey Night in Canada" - showed the pre-game intros in its entirety LIVE. Waiting by the locker room doors and ready to open them for the team to come out onto the ice was drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo. One by one, players pounded fists with both members as they came out for the start of Game 4.
NBC came back on a minute later to show just a snippet of what their audience here in the U.S. missed out before cutting back to their LIVE feed inside the arena as the duo of vocalist / rhythm guitarist James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett performed the Star-Spangled Banner. And man, Hetfield and Hammett nailed it and got the crowd to its feet with pictures and video taken from their smartphones.
That's right...video recording their performance on their smartphones which stunned HNIC game analyst Glenn Healy, who - while on the air - shared his criticism to his entire Canadian audience (including a portion of the U.S. - me included) by what he saw. For those without sound cards in your computer especially if you are in a library watching this, follow along with what he said (transcript below):
"Well like no other building in the National Hockey League, I thought - Game 3 - this building had energy. Game 4? No, it wipes it right out of the park. Lots of energy from the crowd, and a national anthem like I have never seen - almost to a man or a woman - everybody holding phones to video the national anthem. No one videotapes the national anthem. Certainly not 20,000 (fans). And nothing says D-Day like a salute to Metallica, I guess. But this building is alive."
For those wondering why he mentioned D-Day was that Monday was the 72nd anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy.
But in case you forgot, Glenn, its 2016 and as long as the fans are standing up to the anthem, let them. Once in a lifetime moments like these are meant to 'record' on their phones just so they could cherish and remember being there. But it does remind people of what happened when Metallica went after the now-defunct online music service, Napster (which was bought out by Rhapsody in 2011), when many fans were downloading the band's songs off the internet music service without getting charged. I highly doubt Metallica will seem to care today even if fans do use their smartphones to record them perform, especially on Monday afternoon.
Or maybe Lars Ulrich just found a new legal spokesman for the band?
Lorenzo Z. Villalobos Jr. covers college hockey and other general hockey content for the Seattle Sin Bin, and is the play-by-play internet audio voice of University of Washington Huskies hockey club.