Thursday, September 12, 2013

Join the Battle

Editor's note: I was lazy and never finished this post in the 6 months after I went to the game, so it should have come out in March, or April at the latest.

Welcome to Columbus, we've got windows

So, it’s been FOREVER since I’ve been to a new (NHL) arena, and even longer since I’ve posted.  Like, seriously a year.  Yes I’ve kept myself busy during the lockout, and I did get to the Hawks home opener, and I only had to pay one of my arms for the tickets.

But I’m still heading to all 30 NHL arenas, so next up is Columbus Ohio, which is surprisingly the largest city in the state.  Here is where the Blue Jackets play, in their last year in the Western Conference.  I’m sad to see them go, because the Blackhawks beat them so many times.

First, going to Columbus gave me a chance to get acquainted with Tim Hortons, who doesn’t have any locations in Chicago (I’ve asked them why already).  I may have been to Timmies 3 times in 2 days...maybe.

That's right, there's a Timmies IN THE ARENA, it's almost like Canada all over again

Now, I got to Columbus at about 9 AM on a Saturday, and the Greyhound station was pretty much right in downtown.  And it was dead.  Honestly, I passed 3 Subway restaurants that weren’t even open during the weekend.  The CVS in downtown didn’t open until 10, the only thing that was open was the Timmies, it is so lame.

Ok, so once everything opened up, I wandered around Columbus, eventually landing at Target, cause that’s where all the cool kids go when they’ve got nothing to do for hours.  Upon arriving, I discovered that this Target hadn’t been redesigned since the early 1990s, ok... (I wish I had a picture).  So there was about 30-40% Blue Jackets gear there, with most of the rest being Ohio State stuff (as one of the largest and most storied college teams, it was to be expected).  Otherwise, the time in Columbus was pretty uneventful.

Columbus has a promotion where students can get tickets to games the day of for incredibly cheap.  I got my 100 level ticket for $25, which is unheard of cheap.  Like, sooo, cheap.  Plus I get free breadsticks if I go to Papa John’s in Ohio.  This is part of a problem (obviously not for me particularly, because cheap tickets are nice).  Columbus has had attendance issues ever since their entry into the league.  In 2013 they were 28th in the NHL, obviously not a good number to be at.  While their attendance is sure to go up with their entry into the new Metropolitan division, along with coming off a great season in 2013, I think a lot of the new people coming into Nationwide Arena will be cheering for their division rivals.  Hopefully the team’s recent success and strong future will encourage Ohioans to come out and see the Jackets in the future.

Nationwide Arena is very nice, it seems to have been designed in a similar manner to Phoenix's building, which itself is a good arena. As mentioned before, I was in the 100 level for this game, though in one of the highest rows of the level.  The view was good, and it was one of the lesser views in the building.

The game was so long ago they were using green practice jerseys.
The game was a tight, low scoring affair, which wasn't surprising, given that one team was in contention only because their goalie was superhuman, and the other was pretty listless and weak all season.  And by low scoring, I mean the game went to a shootout 0-0 (also my first shootout in this hockeysee).
Sergei Bobrovsky continued his Veznia-caliber season by not only shutting out the Coyotes in 65 minutes, but both of their shootout attempts as well, and the Jackets won 1-0 in a game that actually had importance for both teams involved.
Does your team have a cannon? Didn't think so
The Jackets closed out the season on a good run, but couldn't crack the top 8 and make the playoffs.  This upcoming season they will, as mentioned before, play in the tough Metropolitan division with the likes of Pittsburgh, New York (both teams), New Jersey, and the Capitals, so making it to the postseason is by no means guaranteed.

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