As some of you may have noticed from the photos I posted from my own wedding, I am a hockey fan, and not just any hockey fan, I am a die hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan. I know what you’re thinking, and no I did not become a Penguins fan when Sidney Crosby was drafted, I’ve been a fan for about 25 years now. I don’t know why, but I can guess it had something to do with Mario Lemieux (in my opinion, the best to ever play the game).
So why am I telling you this? Well, for my wedding gift, Robyn got me, well us, a pair of tickets to see the Penguins play in Columbus this past weekend. We would have gone to Pittsburgh except it’s as difficult to get Pens tickets these days as it is to get Leafs tickets. I am also a fan of Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, so I figured it would be nice to see him play as well.
So we hopped in my car and set out for Columbus. I thought we were going to go via Buffalo, but my GPS said to head for Detroit, so we did. It wasn’t until we neared the border that I realized I had “Avoid Tolls” selected as a preference on my GPS (otherwise it always tries to get me on the 407). We ended up driving an extra hour because of that…whoops.
The drive there was fairly uneventful, so lets get to the hockey :). We made our way into the arena early so I could watch the warm-ups and try to get some pictures. I couldn’t believe how many Penguins fans there were. There were at least as many Penguins fans as there were Blue Jackets fans, it was like a home game. I made my way to the glass in the hopes of getting a few photos, and much to my surprise, I managed to squeeze in and take some photos through what I call the “Hockey Hole” a cutout in the glass designed specifically for Photographers. I never imagined I’d get to do that.
Back in my seat I was happy to have a bunch of Pens fans around me, though there were a few Jackets fans too. The Penguins got off to a good start and scored 4 goals in the first period, with 2 goals by Paul Martin, one by Mike Rupp, and the 4th by Sidney Crosby with a pretty deflection on a point shot. That goal was Crosby’s first point of the night and kept his point streak alive. The Penguins carried the play for the majority of the game and came out with a 7-2 win. Crosby ended up 2 goals to give him a 6 point lead over Steven Stamkos in the NHL scoring race. It was an awesome game to be at, and I’m glad we made the trip.
Our drive home was a little more stressful than the drive down as we had to drive through some near whiteout conditions. We saw a couple cars off the road, but I never had any trouble with the roads. I’m just glad I got my snow tires put on last week. Enough with the writing, here are some photos from the trip (it’s a little Sidney Crosby heavy)
The Border wait time was about 25 minutes, but only because the border guard took off for 10 minutes for some reason.Ya, I had too get a picture of this. Only in America eh?The view from our hotel, we stayed at the Hyatt and were not that impressed, I booked a King sized bed and they gave me 2 doubles.Nationwide Arena as seen from our 10th floor room.Sidney and his terrible moustache, but it’s been good luck, so I imagine he’ll keep it for a while.Chris Conner, he’s tiny, but he’s like a cannonball out there, I like his style of play.Max Talbot, now that’s what you think of when you imagine the face of a hockey player. He’s one of my favourite Pens, and scored the Cup winner in 2009.Marc-Andre Fleury is back on his A-game, and I’m happy to see it.Kris Letang gets interviewed by FSN Pittsburgh’s Dan Potash.Brooks Orpik, another one of my favourites, he has pretty much the scariest eyes in the NHL, and can hit like a truck, beware of Brooks Orpik.The Blue Jackets have Timmies in their arena, ya that’s pretty sweet.The Jackets slogan is “Carry the flag” and this guy was doing just that.Fleury makes a big save to keep the game at no score.Alex Goligoski and Mark Letestu go to congratulate Tyler Kennedy on a goal he scored from his knees,I’ve seen this chili on tv before, but never imagined the size would be that big. It’s a heart attack potion for sure.Crosby draws the attention of 3 Blue Jackets and then feathers a pass between all of them.Max Talbot needs a new stick.Mathieu Garon makes a save, you can see how my view was partially obstructed by the glass, it sucks for pictures, but we had no problem seeing the net.Crosby battles for the puck with Ethan Moreau and wins.The sign is referring to the 14 game point streak Crosby entered the game with, he left with a 15 game streak.Crosby scores off a pass from Chris Kunitz.The boys celebrate Crosby’s goal, his 2nd of the night.These girls cleaned the ice at commercials, they actually did a good job.The view from our seats.Mike Rupp and Jared Boll fight, it was a good one, and I don’t think I could declare a winner.Rick Nash, one of my favourite NHLers, carries the puck into the Penguins end.Fleury show us how Transformer-like he can be.Sidney in Motion.And the Pens Score again!!!Tyler Kennedy (TK) makes an attempt on goal. Garon made the save.Jan Hejda take a one timer on goal.The Jackets fans celebrate one of 2 goals on the night.Craig Adams trips Jared Boll and gets away with it.Crosby tells Goligoski what he wants done next time.Max Talbot takes a hit in the neutral zone.The final score.The boys celebrate a win with Fleury.Heading out of the arena after the game.A downtown building was lit up to say Happy Holidays.The refection of a Penguins jersey in our hotel room with the city in behind.These were the driving conditions for a good part of the drive home, not too quick.As we crossed into New York State, the weather cleared up and I took this while driving by.Buffalo had some snow from the other day, but luckily none during our drive. When we got home, we found no snow had fallen, but I look outside while writing this and I can see that, that’s about to change. I think we’re in for a lot of snow this year.