Saturday, February 13, 2010

Devils Solid As The Rock; Preds Implode In The 3rd - Lose 5-2.


Just got back off of the PATH train to Manhattan, sent my iPhone pics to my comp for the blog (the better camera pics from the whole trip will be uploaded Sunday night or Monday afternoon - including a handful of 303 pics from around NYC as well as tonight's game at The Rock), and settling down with a tiny bag of Utz.

The Prudential Center is a rather amazing arena to say the least.  It's two blocks from the Newark-Penn Station, making it oh-so-accessible, and bright and spacious and rather inviting inside.  Every NJ high school hockey team seemed to be represented by their jerseys on the wall of the main lobby, Thomas Edison is currently represented along the walls as Jersey's "first celebrity", so there's good ol' local history being celebrated in the main lobby as well, and lastly...the food!!! Premium Nathan's hot dogs, fries, name-brand burgers, giant super-pretzels (where did those go?? I miss them so!), etc., adorn the eateries.  I got a large soda in a souvenir cup for $5.75 and of everything I just mentioned, that was the only thing over $5.  That's what I'd like to see in Sommet - more catering to the local community that supports it: the local breweries (Yazoo, Blackstone), local or even regional snack brands (Brim's, Bartlett, TN or Golden Flake, Birmingham, AL) in the eateries, high school jerseys from the GNASH league and hockey jerseys from MTSU and UT and whatever other colleges are attempting to finally include the sport into their program, have more information available regarding local city-league ice and in-line hockey teams, and perhaps even get local artists who happen to be hockey fans to help marketing create new fan-made campaigns.  Just sayin' - Prudential gives even award-winning arenas like our barn stiff competition (and blows Madison Sqaure Gardens to bits out-right) - we got free Devils hats to boot.  Funny thing is, the crowd was just as empty as MSG on a Wednesday night - looked 2/3rds full at best.

Thanks to StubHub, I was able to score seats that were maybe $20 more than what I had to pay for nosebleeds at MSG through TicketExchange...and ended up on the 2nd row from the ice.  Thank you, StubHub (an eBay company - no, they don't pay me to say that, I've just been an eBayer for ten years and they're great)!  The game began and continued not unlike the one in Manhattan:  our first two goals came from Cal O'Reilly and Jordan Tootoo while our goals against came from defensive breakdowns.  The first, strangely enough, came from our two North American Olympians, Weber and Suter.  Suter didn't stay with his man and Pekka came out just a bit too far.  The 2nd, I can't remember completely - I was too busy answering texts about folks catching SPC's very own Stephanie holding up the 303 sign we made for the trip on TV at the 1st intermission.  Once again, we see our boys tied with the opposition with the same score at the top of the 3rd - this time with the opposition with more SOG. Then Kovalchuk shot one from the high slow to begin the "3rd Period Implosion" with his first goal as a New Jersey Devil (which resulted in many of those free hats being tossed onto the ice).  Bad and/or questionable penalties taken (Stephane Auger was on the ice, so that's a given these days), and the usual... the D hanging Pekka out to dry.  

With Dan Ellis posting cryptic humor on Twitter regarding what could happen before today's pseudo-trade-deadline roster freeze that happened earlier today, and the way the team seems to play better in front of one goalie and not the other, it's difficult to pin-point what went wrong and where to actually point blame.  New Jersey is a defensive-minded team, much like the Preds, but it's a team that comes to give its all with each and every game, and to make sure they protect the brother in goal, whoever that may be, but when you have a stand-up class act such as this in net [see picture to the left] would make your mother curse your existence if you left him down.  How can we resolve our goalie situation once and for all - or at least give our Protectors of the Twine 60 minutes of confidence instead of...well...anything less?  This is something I hope Poile and his Shadow Cabinet will discuss during the Olympics break, perhaps talking some of those Canadian olympians to try out some sweet tea and gravy one weekend off, to realize that Nashville is a great place to raise kids or hook-up with country-pop starlets: something for every type of NHL player!

Lastly, the Devils fans were quite loyal, but once again, Preds fans proved to be some of the most die-hard.  I ran into Pred Ed, a few locals (Shaun/Shawn/Sean - whose father confessed that he was the only Predator fan from New Jersey, though two others passed by when he was telling us this...and we all got a picture together - which will be up next week), and a few other familiar faces from 501 Broadway whose names I don't personally know, but whose faces I could pick out in a line-up.  Even though we had a loss, we all had a great time at The Rock and we held up our 303 sign in the face of adversity.  If anyone got screen caps of the game and caught us holding up the sign around our goal area, send us a screenshot to seepuckcity(at)gmail(dot)com to be included in our SPC New York Takeover post. 

The main Devil's Den (their pro-shop that they have a handful of around the arena) had some rather amazing items to purchase, and what with my odd feeling of familiarity and even a bit of comradery due to the system we play and the whole possibility that they were close to becoming the Nashville Devils way back when, I picked up a shirt that I'm sure isn't available outside of the arena, a shirt that puts Rangers' fans in their place, a shirt with a style of humor likened to that of those in Section 303...enjoy the following: 

Let's hope these leaks are stopped up come Pittsburgh.  I'll most likely be watching the game once again at The Blind Pig before heading back home, to Hockeytown South, to Nashville.


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