Sunday, November 12, 2006

11/11 sharks 2, PHOENIX 1

Behind goals from Steve Bernier and Patrick Marleau, and a great relief performance by Vesa Toskala, the Sharks escaped the desert with a 2-1 victory over the 'Yotes. Last night was Evgeni Nabokov's game to start, however, when a Mike Zigomanis cross-check on Nabby early in the first period resulted in a stiffened neck for the goaltender during the first intermission, Evgeni was done for the night.

Built in the middle of the desert, the Arena (formerly Glendale Arena) is like an oasis. Surrounded by a gigantic district in the making, the Westgate City Center, the Job (or possibly the Url?) is surrounded by restaurants, shops, a brand new football stadium next door (the University of Phoenix Stadium, yes, named for the UoP, the online university), and a very large condo/apartment tower currently under construction. Palm trees aplenty, this building is very different looking from any other one I've encountered thus far. Whereas each NHL building pretty much looks like an arena from the outside, the Job has a very modest paint job, one of brown and green, that would make one think it is just another building, maybe housing restaurants or apartments or a mall, but surely it's not an arena (that must be why nobody comes to Coyote games, hah).

A giant rectangle, the Job has a very interesting layout inside. Rather than have a concourse that conforms to the oval of the rink, the Job has six entrances, one on each corner of the building, and one at center ice on each side. Each walkway is a straight line, nicely painted to reflect the colors of the Coyotes and the Sting (National Lacrosse League), dark red and sand. The lower walkway is not as large as some of the newer buildings, however, it does have the common entranceway to the seating as the concourse sits at the top of the open air sections, with standing room behind it.

The concessions are nothing special, with standard fare; hot dogs, pretzels, burritos. They do have one brand name food, however. In one corner, there is a hot wing stand, brought to you by the wonderful people at Hooters. Nothing says cold weather sport like spicy chicken and half naked women in bright orange short shorts. Upon entering the Job, that is a very noteworthy piece, as the AC is turned on ice age high, creating a very cold, welcoming atmosphere everywhere in the building.

The seating is nothing stellar, two levels of seating, with two mini levels of luxury boxes in between. Each corner has one of these "tower" things that seem to be popular in the newer arenas. The only real unique element that I have yet to see in any other building is the upper level. Just like most other buildings, the Job has escalators to take patrons to the upper concourse. However, upon reaching the top, it shocks many first timers at where the concourse is. Just like the lower level, the upper concourse is above the seating area, putting it just a few feet short of the rafters, and over patriotically close to the flags that hang from them (you could see the veins on the Maple Leaf). To accommodate, the stairs are much steeper than most other upper level stairs, but, with handrails, it's not too bad.

In all, I really like this building. Out of all the ones I've been to thus far, besides the Tank, this one might be my favorite. There are but three downsides to this building for me: 1) Neither the upper nor lower level have signs inside the seating area that say which section is which, causing much confusion to non-season ticket holders; 2) That freakin' howl. Once every power play, twice every goal, and every five seconds when that little kid sitting right next to your ear decides to show mommy what sound a Coyote makes. As long as the Sharks can continue playing well in this building like they did last night, then I won't have to cry too much; and 3) The lack of cabs. With the Job being out in Glendale, the taxi service is not regulated. Just for Phoenix, and "Greater Phoenix". Now, maybe it was horrible just because it was a Saturday night. Maybe it was because there was a Suns game and a race in town that night. Or maybe it was just horrible because that's how it is. Whatever the reason, I, along with several others, waited on Maryland between 91st and 95th (take notice now, cabbies, that's where I'll be each time) for more than an hour to get taxi back to the hotel (called at 9:50, got a cab at 11:15, was supposed to take 25-30 minutes). At least it wasn't cold or rainy, but it still sucked. Ok, rant over.

On a much better note, Sharks have secured themselves another .500 road trip, the third in as many trips as they've had this season. Monday sees them back at the Staples Center to face the Kings at 7:30 PST, no doubt looking for some revenge. Following that, the Sharks fly to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

I'm off to the NFL game today. The Dallas Cowboys are in town to take on the Arizona Cardinals; expect a post on it tomorrow.

Go Sharks (go incompetent taxi drivers who drive by when people are waving at them)

Blurry outside shot of the Job.

Before you think that there weren't many people here, it was intermission. There was actually a lot of people there.

Ten years in Phoenix celebrated on ice.

Coyote Country. AWOOOOOO.


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