Wednesday, April 11, 2007

End of Regular Season Rink Report, Part I: Southeast Division

Southeast Division

Atlanta Thrashers @ Philips Arena 3/22:
Building: B-. Super nice building, but the funky layout makes it a pain to walk around since there's only one real entrance.
Seating Area: B-. Very unique layout inside, however, upstairs, the angles aren't steep enough, and they leave the lights off.
Atmosphere: B. Everyone here loves their Thrashers, and are loud about it, with decent amounts of chanting throughout.
Concessions: B+. There's a huge food court next to the grand staircase, but upstairs the food is sparse. Good prices though.
Hospitality: B. Same as most other SE buildings, they aren't used to SJ fans, so no hate, but the "Sharks suck" is still here.

Overall Grade: B. Nice arena, definitely unique and therefore memorable. The layout inside, however, isn't the best, as sitting upstairs behind either net means sitting in the dark, and behind one of the endzone screens. The giant "ATLANTA" out front let's you know what city you're in, and the baby blue Thrasher jerseys everywhere let you know you're in Blueland. The Thrashers host their first ever playoff game on Thursday, and I'm sure it'll be quite a scene for all those in attendance.

Carolina Hurricanes @ RBC Center 3/24:
Building: A-. Very wide walkways, very easy to navigate, however, I didn't get to explore upstairs so I can't evaluate up there.
Seating Area: A. Nice, symetrical upper and lower bowl, nice, wide seats, and pretty decent sightlines, and they're red, too.
Atmosphere: A. EVERY caniac wears something Hurricanes, not to mention tailgates prior to the game, and loud during it.
Concessions: NA. Due to me being on TV and such, I wasn't able to check out the concessions much, but I had a good soda.
Hospitality: A. The only place where I got no negativity at all, was given complements on my Irbe jersey, and were just nice.

Overall Grade: A. Probably my favorite building/atmosphere combo on the trip (Edmonton was a great atmosphere, but poor building), I would love to attend another game out here again. These NC hockey fans love their 'Canes, and aren't shy about it. At the same time, they're respectful of opposing fans being fans of opposing teams in their building, caring just about hockey, as it should be. Kids playing hockey in the parking lot, awesome.

Florida Panthers @ BankAtlantic Center 10/31:
Building: B+. Relatively normal sized, lots of glass the only real downside are the multiple concourses.
Seating Area: B. Good steep sightlines upstairs, big emphasis on sitting downstairs, one of the larger lower bowls I've seen.
Atmosphere: C. The few fans that there were on this night were loud and decked out in Panther Garb.
Concessions: B. Several bar areas, even more food court areas, great selection upstairs and down.
Hospitality: B. In South Florida, they don't see many Sharks fans, so they weren't mean at all, cept for that drunk Ranger fan.

Overall Grade: B. Beautiful building, great concessions, and a cool entrance to the team store in the lobby (giant panther head), it's a shame that this place has to be in the middle of a swamp. One step outside, even at 10:00 p.m. and the weather makes hockey the last thing that comes to mind. The few thousand that cheer for the Panthers night in and night out are good fans, it's a shame they can't draw more in such a great building.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ St. Pete Times Forum 10/29:
Building: C+. Nice and huge outside, nice and huge inside, but it was impossible to find the damn escalator.
Seating Area: B+. Even with room for 19,500, the Pete has great sightlines everywhere, even way up in the rafters.
Atmosphere: A. Constant chants from loud, energetic, knowledgable, properly outfitted fans. In Florida, no less.
Concessions: C-. Not a very large choice of food, but a large drink was only 3 bucks.
Hospitality: B+. Only spoke to one Lightning fan, but he was very nice and complemented my team on a good game.

Overall Grade: B+. A great building, great fans, and a wicked loud horn. A fun place to watch a game, despite sitting in a plastic chair. Some good eats nearby, and with the poor concessions, it might be the best way to get rid of that hunger before or after a game.

Washington Captials @ Verizon Center 2/21:
Building: B-. Beautiful outside, funky inside. Pretty decent sized concourses, but pretty barren at the same time.
Seating Area: B. Nice, symmetrical upper and lower bowls, and a pretty decent view. All purple seats though?
Atmosphere:B-. There weren't many people in attendance, but they cared and paid attention, and that's what matters.
Concessions: C-. Nothing special, just the normal food. But they did have kinda cheap beer (5 bucks for a 16 oz cup).
Hospitality: B. The main Cap fan interaction was with the mascot, Slap Shot, who way upstairs just to whack me with his tail.

Overall Grade: B-. Nice building, centrally located in the Chinatown Area of DC. Metro runs right under the arena, tons of food and drink around the building, and, if you didn't know to look for the Booth, you'd walk right by it. The Caps fans deserve a good team, and when this current team matures, the great fans here will come back. They could use a bit more food options though, inside the arena, for those with mid-game munchies.

Next up: Western Conference, Central Division


Blogger dflinn said...

I've listened to your bit on the radio quite a few times, and I must say that your blog is much more impressive. Without wanting to be mean I'd like to say that you're wasting the opportunity which KFOG is giving you, because you aren't approaching it as professionally as you should if you are serious about wanting to get into that line of work. I realize that it's difficult to get up a couple of hours ahead of time so that you're properly prepared for your spot on the radio, but that's part of the job. I suggest that you ask about getting copies of a couple of Mike Krukow spots from the KFOG crew and listen to them as a way to prepare yourself for how to handle the call.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Scott Knaster said...

I don't think there's a problem with lack of preparation. I think Jess has quite a bit of material ready. But he needs to keep improving on his "radio fluency", speaking in sound bites and fitting in to the format that KFOG provides him.

Agreed about Krukow providing a great example.

(Yes, I'm biased about Jess.)

6:09 PM  

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