March 15, 2015
It was tight to make this game, but it wasn’t supposed to be so. The game was originally scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start., for which I booked a flight to arrive in Pittsburgh around 11:30 a.m. About two weeks ago, I found out that the game was rescheduled for an earlier start (for broadcast reasons), moving the puck-drop to 12:30 p.m. For a change fee of $200, I changed my flight to an earlier departure time, which would get me in to Pittsburgh around 9 a.m. When checking in at the airport this morning, you can imagine my surprise when they told me that I was put on standby, despite the fact I paid for a full fare ticket. (My wife, who is travelling with me for the first six games of this trip, was quick to offer her boarding pass in the event “standby” became “no fly,” but the thought of splitting up our flights was not very appealing.) Thankfully things got sorted out at the gate, but it was a reminder how much the successful completion of this trip (making all 30 games) is at the mercy of the airlines, weather, etc.
We ended up getting to the game with time to spare, and after settling in at the Consol Energy Place, we immediately observed what a beautiful arena facility it is! The arena is located on a hill, which gives it some charm, and like most modern arenas, there are large window areas, which provide natural light to the entranceways as you enter the building. The jumbotron was massive and impressive, with crystal clear resolution on its four screens.
The concourse areas are wide, and there are many areas with lots of elbow room during the intermissions. The shot of me looking at the beautiful mosaic of Mario Lemieux was taken during the first intermission, as is the photo of me talking to arena staff about my trip, and the two photos of my trivia contest subject, who scored 7 out of 10 on my hockey trivia questions. And once again, these four photos were taken at the intermission of a hockey game!
Food choices are bountiful, with offerings of sushi, gourmet carved turkey on a bun, pulled pork, as well as the usual arena fare.
As we settled into our seats, my wife suggested that I tweet from my #30g30n handle, and to include a picture she took of me standing beside a cardboard cut-out of Sidney Crosby. (Which actually looks like a cardboard cut-out of me.) About ten minutes later, she spotted my tweet on the jumbotron, and was able to take a picture of it on time! Very neat to see the speed of social media, for which up to ten days ago, I did not even have a twitter account. (Or Facebook page: 30 games 30 nights.)
As the game started, there were two non-hockey things which stood out in comparison to the game the day before, a game in which the Flyers beat the Wings by a score of 7-2. The temperature inside the Consol Energy Place was probably five degrees warmer than in Philadelphia, and the decibel level of stop-in-play music was about 10 decibels lower, the latter more comfortable for my aging ears! Getting back to the hockey, it should have been predictable that the Wings would come out flying, especially after their one-sided loss the day before.
While the Penguins outshot the Wings by a margin of 43-25, they lost the game by a score of 5-1. The shot clock did not reflect puck possession or scoring chances, and while I’m not a professional hockey analyst, I would suggest the Penguins did not create enough traffic in front of the Wings net. And I would also add that most of the Penguins shots were from the perimeter areas, or shot directly at the Wings crest on the goalie’s jersey!
Off to game four tomorrow, and after two planes, and one train to make the first three games, I’ve rented a car to make the trip to Buffalo. (This is the “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” part of the trip.) And not to get too far ahead of tomorrow, I’m starting to get very excited for the Bruins game, which takes place on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve “survived” a “Friday the 13th” first game, an “Ides of March” third game, so a St. Patrick’s Day 5th game should bring me the best of luck for the balance of my travels!!