March 18, 2015
This was one of the games I was looking forward to the most – a battle between two of the NHL’s best teams, two original six teams, and a game played at Madison Square Garden. The “Garden” is technically the oldest “rink” in the NHL, but after undergoing a $1 billion (yes billion) renovation 3-4 years ago, it’s like a brand new facility. And what a beautiful facility! Marble floors in the foyer areas, wooden slats in the rafters, gorgeous lighting, and a spectacular wraparound jumbotron, with slight convex curves on all four sides. There are plenty of ways to watch the game (and replays) on monitors or screens, including rows of screens which adorn the lower seating in the second level.
The “Garden” crowd is like no other. Vocal, boisterous, and coarse at times, their passion for the game shows in the way they cheer, and also the way they jeer their team when they’re not performing to expectations. At the time of this writing, the Rangers entered this game tied atop the league standings with three other teams, so the Rangers fans have a lot to cheer about this season!
Opening face-off, a picture taken at each game attended so far!
Liam Neeson was spotted in the crowd, and in regular (albeit not cheap) seats, and not in a luxury suite. He appeared to be quite “taken” with the game!
Former Rangers player Brad Richards returned to New York to play his old teammates for the first time, and while there was a very nice tribute to Richards, the crowd turned sour when Richards scored the lone goal of the game, a tightly contested game where the goalies stole the show.
Despite the fact that I didn’t get to see the Rangers fans celebrate a single goal, I would have to say that Madison Square Garden was more than enough to make this hockey game an incredible experience!
I’m off to Florida tomorrow, and I’m now going to put some serious miles on my trip odometer. In the first six cities visited, I amassed a grand total of 1150 miles travelled, getting from game #1 to game #6, but in the next five days, I will travel over 4,500 miles, going from New York to Miami, then Tampa Bay, Dallas, Phoenix, and then to Edmonton, my home base, to reenergize with family and friends for game #11.