There was genuine remorse from Benson Stanley after clobbering Aaron Cruden in what will be one of the biggest tackles of the season.
The Blues second five timed his hit to perfection, giving the young first five-eighths the most brutal introduction to Super 14 rugby.
Cruden entered the fray midway through the second half, took his first pass and then, wham, he was put on the turf none too gently.
"It was pretty mean," reflected Stanley with only the faintest hint he wasn't serious. "He's the smallest guy on the pitch and ... you feel a bit of a prick."
Cruden felt the full weight of Stanley, whose presence in the Blues midfield brought the defensive edge they sorely missed last season. Stanley's tackle had the feel of a turning point; an inspirational statement that would lift the Blues and rattle the Hurricanes.
The visitors were beginning to escape and dominate. The Blues needed something to help them see that, if they could tighten their discipline and find some field position, they had the cutting edge and execution to win.
But Cruden, hard little nut that he is, crawled off the canvas and the Hurricanes carried on to the tape, if anything, more in control than they had been.
That left the Blues looking for positives in defeat and it was their defensive screen and commitment to their line that was top of their list.
The Hurricanes, despite cantering to an easy 34-20 win in the end, created little. Even their try was gifted by the Blues and, while there was obvious disappointment within the home team to begin their campaign with a loss, there was no reason for them to despair.
Not only was their defence sound, they were positive and effective when they had possession. Isaia Toeava clearly spent his summer working hard as his acceleration was obvious.
Stephen Brett followed his instincts to score one try, create another and hand a third to the Hurricanes. That's kind of the way it is with him.
He's a natural runner and in possession of talents others would kill for. But the flip side of his natural risk-taking was seen when he threw a long pass to Hosea Gear.
There will be more of that from Brett, and the Blues have to persevere with him and accept that he comes with flaws but that he can play.
His overall contribution would have been improved had he better managed the game-plan in the second half and pushed his troops more regularly into Hurricanes territory.
"The frustration for us was that we wanted to play a bit more field possession," Stanley said. "We didn't play the way we wanted to in the second half."
The other problem blighting the Blues' performance was their inability to adapt to the rulings of referee Stu Dickinson. The nine penalties kicked by the Hurricanes were a Super Rugby record and killed off any hope the home side had of winning.
The bulk of the 27 points conceded were for the tackler not rolling away and Blues coach Pat Lam said that area will be closely monitored this week to ensure there is no repeat.
"The boys are sitting in the sheds wondering how they let that one go," said Lam. "But we have to take responsibility for our performance - 27 points and an intercept try speaks for itself."
Lam's opposite, Colin Cooper, couldn't have been more pleased with the way his team took stock of how the game was going and turned their fortunes around with a greatly improved second half.
Cooper's view was that his senior players, and particularly captain Andrew Hore, were able to work effectively at the tackled ball area and frustrate the Blues.
"It was the attitude from our leaders that saw us through," said Cooper. "In the past we might not have adjusted and I think the difference was that we adjusted better to the ref than the Blues."
Five problems for Blues coach Pat Lam to fix:
1. His team have to play their football in opposition territory. When they did launch attacks from inside the Hurricanes' half, they were potent. Their basic skills were sharp and they attacked at pace and from depth. The crucial part was that runners attacked in straight lines.
But they have to be patient and prepared to kick long and accurately, pick and drive some more through the forwards and keep opponents turning.
2. Strike a better tactical balance. While the Blues didn't dominate territory the way they would have liked, they still kicked a lot of possession away. Some of it was legitimate but it was perhaps overdone as Isaia Toeava and Joe Rokocoko were a handful on the few occasions they were given some space to attack.
Rokocoko, in particular, counter-attacked superbly and twice cut through the Hurricanes. There was scope to push the ball through the hands a little more and ask questions of the Hurricanes' defence.
3. The video tape of the game has to be devoured to understand what it was the players were doing wrong at the tackled ball to continually be penalised. They gave away 27 points to the respective boots of Piri Weepu and Willie Ripia and that handed the game to the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper said it was probably inevitable in these early stages that some teams will be heavily penalised as they come to grips with the different rulings.
But the Blues have to show they have learned from Albany when they take on the Highlanders this week. They can't afford to concede so many soft points and the senior players have to take control in Dunedin, read the referee and demand improvement from those around them.
4. There were times when the Blues scrum appeared to be under pressure. In what was one of the cleanest and truest contests seen for years - there was one re-set scrum - the Hurricanes were aggressive and consistent.
The Blues will want a more steady platform in Dunedin to see if they work Alby Mathewson into the game as the little halfback is at his best when he's encouraged to attack the fringes.
Viliami Ma'afu gave everything on his Super Rugby debut. The North Harbour No 8 ran until his legs cramped and no one could fault his effort. But Chris Lowrey gives the back-row a better balance and a more natural ball player.
Lowrey is recovering from illness and a family bereavement but the Blues would love him back to play the Highlanders.By Gregor Paul Email Gregor