10/23 sharks 3, COLUMBUS 0
On a starting side note, this morning was like Christmas. Snow outside, and a great package waiting for me to open. However, the snow was sparse and didn't stick, and the package was my suitcase that Southwest decided to find and deliver to me in the night.
The downtown portion of Columbus is really starting to thrive, and many thanks can be given to the arrival of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their building, the Nationwide Arena, is exactly what the name says, a very big building. So big, in fact, there's a whole district named for the arena. The arena is home to several restaurants, a large parking garage, and a large condominium tower that houses many if not all of the Jacket players. Once done exploring the surrounding areas, it's time to check out the arena.
From the outside, Nationwide looks to be as big as an airplane hangar, but once inside, it's clear why. The building is a very comfortable place to be; so comfortable, in fact, that there is a lot of extra stuff inside beyond the seating area. Connected to the rear of the arena is the Jacket practice facility, home to youth leagues and free skate times as well. There is a bar, aptly named the Arena Bar and Grill. The concourses are super wide, as to accommodate the 18,000+ crowd as they enter and leave the building. There is a hat tank, where all the hats from Blue Jacket home ice hat tricks live. The tank has many hats in it (six tricks' worth), but seems empty as it is such a large tank.
The seating area itself is very reasonably sized, as there are very few, if any, bad seats in the house. Downstairs in the corner houses the most comfortable seats in the house; 4 leather recliners, sponsored by GMC, well named "The Driver Seats".
The entertainment is as plentiful as any other city. The pre-game sees the Mountain Dew-minator, a tank-like vehicle with a t-shirt cannon attached, drive around the ice, firing into the crowd. I happened to be lucky enough, just sitting in my seat, to have a shirt shot right at me, that I caught pretty easily (thank you baseball and hockey). There were the basic games, the Donato's pizza shuffle and the quiz (Sugardale's Famous Dogs), intermission entertainment of the Future Jackets, and the seemingly more popular scantily clad girls with ice skates and shovels who keep the ice smooth and fast during official's timeouts (a very silly spectacle in my mind, don't you get any ideas Greg [Jamison]).
The game itself was a tale of two stories, based on which color you were wearing. A Shark fan would tell you that last night was a great game, seeing the Sharks dominate all levels of play, from the physical aspect on O and D, to the yet again solid power play. The added joy of a 5-on-5 goal, Vesa Toskala extending his winning streak and getting his first shutout of the year, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic ("Pickles") getting his first NHL point coming on the day of the announcement that he will stay in the NHL and spend the year in San Jose. And it was a good day to wear teal. A Jacket fan would tell you that this game was just another in the saga of the Gerard Gallant era, a coach who apparently is not liked too much by Jacket fans, and this game was just another showing of his lacking ability to inspire his troops (even though Sergei Fedorov made his season debut last night) and allow them to gain any chemistry. Thereby he is showing his prowess as an NHL head coach to be seriously poor and signaling his should-be- imminent firing (phew). When they weren't busy booing, and personally heckling the team and the coach for the poor effort on the ice (the cameras caught Gallant in a shouting match with a Jacket fan behind the bench sharing words that rhyme with "puck too").
Today sees me hang around the capital city of Ohio, heading out to the hands-on museum in town, COSI, and then to a restaurant/pub to watch Game 3 of the World Series (go Tigers). Tomorrow is a flight to Detroit by way of Chicago O'Hare, for a 7:30 EDT rematch against the Red Wings, looking to avenge their 5-1 loss last week at the Tank at the hands of the Boys in Teal.
Go Sharks (go Tigers)
It may be a bank, but this name is pretty gosh darn accurate
Hmm, I think there might be a few cities (29?) that would dispute that claim
The hat trick tank, home to 6 Blue Jacket hat tricks' worth of caps
CBJ at center ice