Opening Night

Taking the train from DC to New York yesterday, you could see the trees getting tinged with gold as we got farther north. With every mile the weather was getting more conducive to hockey. Train travel was the only mode of NHL transportation back in the days of the Original Six, and you can’t help but conjure up memories of those hockey days gone by while you’re en route to a venerated arena in an Original Six city.

The city of New York is buzzing with baseball at the moment. We checked into our hotel rooms last night just in time to see the Mets close out the Dodgers in Game 1 of their NL Division series game. When we got back from dinner, we looked for the Yankees game, only to find it had been postponed because of rain. The lone bummer of the night was learning that our hotel does not have Versus, therefore no NHL hockey for us on Wednesday.

Saw the highlights, though. Could the Sabres have come up with worse uniforms? Terrible, just awful. Uniform numbers on the front are bad. I don’t like anything about those duds, just a complete disaster, IMO. Makes me hope the Caps get it done right when they get around to changing things up, and it also makes me nervous about the new “superhero” sweaters that are said to be in the offing for next season.

The hockey sweater is a beautiful thing. And it’s not broken. Doesn’t mean the powers that be won’t start trying to “fix” it.

After a quick shower and some subpar room coffee, we headed over to MSG for the morning skate today. The Rangers don’t have their morning skates here, so there was no chance to catch up with Brendan Shanahan, Aaron Ward or any of my other favorites from that room.

It was nice to stroll down the hallway to the Rangers’ room and see the photos of the championship teams of yesteryear and some of the individual photos of stars and coaches of days gone by. Of particular interest was the team photo of the 1932-233 Stanley Cup champion Rangers. Among those pictured were forward Gord Pettinger, a great-uncle of Caps’ left wing Matt Pettinger, and Lester Patrick, grandfather of Caps president and minority owner Dick Patrick.

What a feeling to be back in a hockey rink for a day-of-game morning skate. The sight of the players on the ice and the sounds of their skates on he surface, the pucks hitting sticks, boards, posts and net, and the sound of the players chattering and joking with each other. All of these are a panacea, easily able to overcome bad coffee and the lack of breakfast. The best part is that there are 81 more days like this to look forward to. At least 81.

Now it’s less than an hour until the puck drops and we watch the season unfold before us. A win tonight would make that three-hour train ride back to the District go by a lot quicker.

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4 Comments on “Opening Night”

  1. Doug Says:

    I’ve never read a blog consistently, but I’m going to keep up with this one. Why? It offers a view you almost never get. I enjoyed the description of the train, hotel, and sights and sounds of the game-day skate. This blog offers potential to go beyond the game and get at the culture of the game, which I find interesting. Keep the unique angles coming!

    Now, what’s this “superhero” sweater thing? I once wrote the owner and pleaded for a return to red-white-and-blue, and even suggested a compromise: Keep the logos and sweater, just change the colors to those used in the US flag. (There are too many black sweaters out there, and it’s WASHINGTON DC for goodness sake!). I think I even provided Pantone color references. But anyway—what is the rumor of uniform change? (BTW, agree re Buffalo sweaters—the blue is darker than the pants, and on and on).

    Thanks for a nice blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. Absaraka Says:

    Well, OK, yes, this is Washington DC, but to we really want to end up with the same color scheme as the Nats?

    Heck, the Caps and Nats almost have the same mascot as it is. I’ve said elsewhere that there’s only room for one eagle mascot in this town. And IMNSHO, Slapshot could kick Screech’s tailfeathers with one wing tied behind his back. Might make for an interesting grudge match, but I digress. I repeat: Do we really want to end up with the exact same color scheme as the Nats?

    If it’s got to be red, white, and blue, that’s fine, but at LEAST emphasize the blue. Blue’s already one of our colors right now, and the Nats seem to be trying to corner the market on red in this town.

    And I’ve heard a vicious rumor from multiple sources that there are going to be sweater changes all over the NHL next year, not just in Washington. They shouldn’t be trying to fix something that’s not broke, but you know the how the NHL can be sometimes.

    Just please, Gary, if you’re reading this, NO PLAID!

  3. Doug Says:

    I agree, Absakara—emphasize the blue definitely. I daresay event he old Caps road sweater would have looked nice in blue as opposed to red.

    I don’t know much about the mascots (I’ve been transplanted to Ohio for many years). Is “Screech” an owl or something? And here’s something to ponder: Are the Nats’ hat sales suffering at all? I suspect just about half the population doesn’t want a hat with a “W” on it….

    But anyhow, I too hope we don’t see plaid or checks or wacky sublimated blends. In fact, it would be useful if somebody told goaltenders that no one in the stands can make out the intricate airbrushed designs on their masks. Better to have bold patterns with big patches of solid color. But that’s just me.

  4. bobby Says:

    are you sure about that?

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