The Boston Bruins showed no mercy for the departed goalie who led them to the Stanley Cup, spoiling Tim Thomas' first game in Boston as a visitor with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Fans applauded lightly when Thomas was introduced as the starting goalie. But after Shawn Thornton made it 5-2 just more than 8 minutes into the third period, they derisively chanted, "Thomas! Thomas!" "I didn't really hear it too much," Thomas said. "There were really not a lot of feelings." Other than the heartfelt high-stick he delivered to the kisser of Bruins forward Carl Soderberg in the third period, or course.
2 of 22Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images(2); Steven Senne/AP
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett stole the ball from his friend Rajon Rondo and put the finishing touch on an emotional night with a layup that helped him and Paul Pierce become winners in their return to Boston. It started with pregame standing ovations for the leaders of the Celtics last championship team and ended with an 85-79 win for the Brooklyn Nets after Garnett picked off Rondo's turnover and dribbled in slowly for an uncontested basket with 20 seconds left Sunday night. It was a rare highlight for the returning stars in a game in which they fought to control their emotions while still trying to contribute to their current team. Pierce, the second leading scorer in Celtics history, and Garnett scored just six points each, and Pierce missed eight of his 10 shots.
3 of 22Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
It was just Peyton Manning 's luck. On his first trip back to Lucas Oil Stadium, he and his teammates had an off night. His successor and his old team, they got it right. Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score Sunday night, handing Denver a 39-33 loss - its first of the season - without even needing one of Luck's trademark fourth-quarter comebacks. Manning lost a fumble, threw an interception and was sacked four times - twice by Robert Mathis , one of the few remaining holdovers from the Manning era. While Manning finished with solid numbers, 29 of 49 for 386 yards with three TD passes, he certainly wasn't himself. Passes fluttered, passes sailed, passes were broken up. When Manning first ran onto the field, some sections in the lower bowl looked like a checkerboard of Colts blue and Broncos orange. They roared for No. 18 throughout a 90-second video tribute featuring some of his most memorable moments with the Colts including the record-breaking pass to Marvin Harrison for most TDs by a quarterback-receiver duo, the AFC championship comeback against New England and, of course, the evening when he finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in rainy Miami. Manning responded to the standing ovation by stopping his warm-up throws, taking off his helmet, waving to the fans and mouthing the words " Thank you."
4 of 22Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images
Selanne scored the most goals by a rookie in one season with 76 back in 1992-93 with the Winnipeg Jets. On Feb. 6, 1996, leading the Jets with 72 points, Selanne was traded to Anaheim. The following summer, the Jets franchise relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes. It took 15 years for the Winnipeg Jets to come back (formerly the Atlanta Thrashers), and two years after that for arguably the franchise's biggest star to return. The 43-year-old Ducks' forward was given a standing ovation by a sold out crowd both during and after the game, and although he did not register a point in the Ducks' 3-2 win, he was named first star of the game.
5 of 22Tony Gutierrez/AP
The Texas Rangers gave their fans plenty of reasons to cheer in the home opener, beating Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels 3-2. Hamilton was a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP while with Texas before going to the AL West-rival Angels with a $125 million, five-year contract over the winter. He finished 0 for 4 - he was booed during pregame introductions and when he came to bat each time. Those boos became cheers when he took a strike on the first pitch in the second inning, and the sellout crowd of 48,845 erupted when he struck out swinging. After striking out again in the fourth, Hamilton lined out in the sixth and flied out in the ninth.
6 of 22Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images
Orlando fans showed up in droves to express their displeasure with Howard, making signs calling him a coward and "Kobe's kid" and booing him every time he touched the ball. Howard responded to the animosity with one of his strongest performances of the year, scoring a season-high 39 points with 16 rebounds and tying his NBA record with 39 free throw attempts. At one point Howard jawed with the Magic bench, but the night ended on a kinder note as the Lakers center shook hands with the Magic's Jameer Nelson after Los Angeles' 106-97 victory.
7 of 22AP; Greg Nelson/SI
When LeBron returned to Cleveland, the Heat were 11-8. Practices were stilted. Meetings were tense. Fourth-quarters were awkward. It's hard to imagine now, as the Heat puree the rest of the NBA, but they didn't like each other very much. When James landed in Cleveland, he fully expected the outpouring of vitriol he would receive from the 20,000 people at Quicken Loans Arena, the lusty boos and obscene chants, the Quitness signs and LeBum T-shirts. What he couldn't expect was the outpouring of support he would receive from the 14 people in his locker room. The Heat blasted the Cavaliers that night, 118-90, galvanized behind their vilified teammate. They didn't know James well back then, but they cared about him enough to treat his homecoming as their own, and ensure it didn't turn into a roast. James scored 38 points, Dwyane Wade added 22, Chris Bosh 15, and three transcendent talents merged into one. "This is the first time I've seen this connection," head coach Erik Spoelstra said at the time. The Heat won 19 of their next 20 games.
8 of 22Lou Capozzola/SI
Traded Oct. 6 from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings, Moss didn't have to wait long to exact his revenge. The two played on Oct. 31, and the game itself was relatively uneventful for Moss, as he was held to only one catch for eight yards. He saved his impact for the postgame press conference however, launching into a diatribe for the ages at the podium. Moss was waived by Minnesota and picked up by the Tennessee Titans a week later.
9 of 22Winslow Townson/SI
Shipped to Los Angeles when "Manny being Manny" grew tiresome, Ramirez returned to Fenway Park for the first time in June 2010. Spared the honor of playing defense in front of the Green Monster, Ramirez went 1-for-5 as a designated hitter. His only hit, a sixth-inning single, triggered boos throughout the stadium.
10 of 22AP
Despite hecklers numbering in the thousands, Cutler got the last laugh in his return to Denver, the city that drafted him with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft. After forcing a trade to the Bears in the offseason, Cutler marched into Denver and posted a 106.1 passer rating en route to a 27-17 Bears victory. By the end of the game, the aforementioned boos had shifted from Cutler to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who Broncos fans are still stuck with.
11 of 22Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
It took two years, but in March 2008, Iverson returned to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded to the Nuggets in December 2006. The sellout crowd showered their former franchise player with affection, giving him a standing ovation that ended only because the PA announcer continued to announce the rest of the Nuggets lineup. Iverson didn't disappoint, posting a vintage Iverson line with 32 points and eight assists in a losing effort.
12 of 22AP
Ken Griffey Jr.
In June 2007, Griffey returned to "The House that Griffey Built" for the first time since being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in February 2000. When traded, Griffey remarked that he was finally home in Cincinnati. But as the sellout crowd of 46,340 -- who cheered for Griffey for two minutes and 54 seconds --- and a lengthy Mariners video tribute showed, Griffey might have been home all along in Seattle. On that June night, it certainly felt like it.
13 of 22Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Pedro didn't fare well in his return to Fenway Park (3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 H), but from the crowd's reaction, you wouldn't know it. The Fenway faithful welcomed Pedro's return with chants of "Pedro! Pedro!" as he warmed up before the bottom of the first. And despite his poor performance, Pedro considered the outing a success. "The reception I got, I will always remember that as one of the best moments of my life," he said.
14 of 22Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
In what many thought would be his last appearance at Candlestick Park, Jerry Rice was a relative non-factor. He caught one five-yard pass and received a standing ovation. Rice would return to San Francisco in 2006, when he signed a contract with them, allowing him to retire as a 49er.
15 of 22Bob Rosato/SI
Boos rained down on Rodriguez at every opportunity. Unfazed, Rodriguez quelled the fervor slightly with a two-run home run in his first at-bat. The sellout crowd continued to boo however, when Rodriguez grounded out in his second and third at-bat. Rodriguez claimed the reception was nothing compared to how Seattle fans welcomed him back in 2001.
16 of 22Bob Rosato/SI
A clearly emotional Jordan had to fight back tears in his return to Chicago. It began with a three-minute ovation from the Bulls fans. "When the crowd started that whole thing, it made it tough for me to play," Jordan said, and he was right. He would finish with a career-high nine turnovers and was just 7-of-21 from the floor, finishing with 16 points. "It's like playing a relative," he said, "it's not as intense, you're not quite as motivated."
17 of 22Vince Bucci, Tony Ranze/AFP/Getty Images
Shaq's highly-anticipated return to Orlando, after the franchise center bolted for Los Angeles in the offseason, was a complete dud. An injured O'Neal sat out the game.
18 of 22Tony Tomsic/Getty Images
Whether you left town on good terms or not, Eagles fans are going to boo you. White, arguably one of the greatest players in Eagles franchise history, heard more boos than cheers during his pregame introduction at Veterans Stadium in September 1994. "One guy called me a traitor," White said after the Eagles' 13-7 victory, "But I thought the reception overall was good." Good for Philadelphia at least ...
19 of 22George Rose/Getty Images
Marcus Allen had played his whole career as a member of the home team at the Coliseum. He played four years there with USC, and then 11 more as a Raider. But on Nov. 14, 1993, Allen made his first visit to the Coliseum as a member of the visiting Chiefs. After receiving an ovation from the sellout crowd, Allen rushed for 85 yards and made several big plays that carried the K.C. to a 31-20 victory. After one such play, a Raiders fan yelled up to Al Davis' private booth, "Nice move, idiot," in reference to letting Allen slip away. It was as if he said what everyone was thinking that day.
20 of 22Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Pittsburgh fans are clever. In Bonds' first game in Pittsburgh after leaving the city for a then-record contract with the Giants, Pirates fans blanketed the field in fake money. Bonds was unfazed however, as he went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three runs scored.
21 of 22Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Dickerson returned to Anaheim Stadium for the first time since being shipped to the Indianapolis Colts in what is considered the trade of the decade. The game didn't sell out, but the fans in attendance let Dickerson know that they didn't miss him. Dickerson prevailed in spite of the negative energy, rushing for 116 yards and catching five passes for 47 yards.
22 of 22Ken Levine/Getty Images
When Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles King in 1988, it was as if Canada had lost a family member. He was a hero who had won four Stanley Cups for the team, and when he left for the bright lights of Hollywood, the country felt betrayed. In October 1988, those feelings of resentment had faded though, and a visiting Gretzky received a four-minute standing ovation from the Edmonton crowd.
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