So, I went to my eighth Avalanche hockey game of the regular season last night (ninth Avs game total, counting the preseason one in Vegas, and twelfth hockey game total, counting the three I went to in California).
I will now provide a list of the things I enjoyed about this game.
1. The crowd. It was amazing. I have not been to an Avalanche game with a crowd like that in years. Legitimate years. I wasn’t really surprised to see a lot of people there, because they were playing the Vancouver Canucks, a team with a lot of bandwagoners right now on account of them going to the Stanley Cup finals last year. What warmed my heart though was the fact that the nosebleeds were packed – with Avs fans. And the lower levels were packed. With Avs fans. The ratio of Avs fans to Canucks fans was nowhere near embarrassing. It was like old times, it was deafening, and it was seriously beautiful.
2. The Avs got some power plays! Oh, so your team has had some bad officiating recently? Your team has had a bunch of non-calls? I bet that sucks. Does your team have six games this season where they got literally zero power plays? No. Not unless your team is the Avalanche. No other team has more than three games without a single man advantage. So DON’T try to relate to my Ref Rage!!!!!
Seriously, the Avs have not been getting the respect the refs give other teams this season, and it was never as clear as it was in that game recently against the Flames, where Ryan O’Reilly got his freaking nose broken because of an uncalled high stick. We would have gotten a four minute power play (because when there’s a serious injury and/or blood on a penalty, you get two minor penalties instead of just one) and we could potentially have won that game in regulation. But no. Nothing. And we had to win it in overtime. So the Flames still got a point. I’m (quite obviously and, in my [correct] opinion, justifiably) still angry about it. But the point is, we got a lot of power plays in this game, and guess what? We scored on two of them. So at least we know our power play unit still functions correctly.
3. Beforehand, I got to go to a wine tasting. And there was also some food there. This is because I was an attendee at this event:
Before you ask, no, I did not actually wear heels. Why would anyone wear heels to a hockey game? You could die walking on the steep stairs in that arena if you had heels on. (Sorry this picture sucks so bad, the lighting in the nosebleeds is not the greatest and Instagram can only do so much.)
Really though, the wine I had was great. It was a white wine and I forget what it was called, which is really upsetting me at the moment. I also met some awesome lady fans and hung out with them for a bit, and they told me it was a good thing I was nice, because before we were introduced they were discussing how they could best mug me and steal my jersey. (Which, admittedly, is awesome.) The entire event was on the club level of the Pepsi Center, and I’m pretty sure I could live there. I mean… look at this view:
And from the other side of the balcony:
Zero complaints. Oh, I also almost won a zamboni ride in a raffle. If I had been two people behind in line, I would have gotten it. And I should have mentioned that I also had a chance to get my picture taken with Erik Johnson, but I didn’t. Because… well. Um. This is awkward. I mean, I like Erik Johnson and all. As a player. And I wish he wasn’t injured right now. But. Yeeeeah.
4. I got on the jumbotron during warmups. Okay, let me just tell you something. Being on the jumbotron is awesome when you are trying to get on the jumbotron. When you are just standing there trying to watch warmups and take pictures and suddenly someone tells you you’re up there, it is really uncomfortable. And weird. And actually awkward. “Awkward” is an overused word. I’ve already used it too many times in this post. But it’s very appropriate right now. After the girl in front of me told me I was up there, I looked, I turned and smiled and waved, and then I tried to get on with my life… but I was still up there. And then I was still up there. And then… I was still up there. And I was like, really camera guy? Really, producers of in-game entertainment? Really? REALLY? Can you not see that I am DONE with being on the jumbotron? Anyway. That happened, and I got a paragraph out of it for my blog, so.
5. Semyon Varlamov got an assist. Varly is the goalie. It was awesome.
6. There were Mini Mites in my section! Mini Mites are the little kid hockey players they sometimes get to play during the intermissions. One kid was getting grilled by a non-Mite friend after his adventure during the first intermission and he was asking him about the “puppy” down on the ice with them – i.e. Bernie, the St. Bernard mascot. It was so great. They are adorable. They also all fell asleep before the third period started.
7. I got a free mousepad on the way out. Yes, people still use those. “People” being me. And I really needed a new one.
And now, the things I did not like about this game:
1. They lost. Blurgh.
2. It went into overtime. I have gone to five games this year that went into overtime. FIVE. Five is a LOT. Five is TOO MANY. I am SICK of overtime games. I’m also pressed because this is the first OT game I saw them lose in person, and just. Blurgh. We still got a point, though, so that’s important. We’re not going to make the playoffs, but still. At least we can pretend. But it’s frustrating that the Avs always seem to lose in front of really great crowds like that. Seriously, it felt like a playoff game in there, and it was brutal watching that Canucks goal happen in OT. It was like the entire building deflated.
3. Everyone around me was dumb. The guys on my right were talking about food literally the entire game, the couple on my left apparently didn’t know that much about hockey or just didn’t care, because they didn’t cheer for anything that happened, and the guy behind me just kept screaming about beer. “How do they keep it frozen down there when it’s so WARM in here?!” said the beer guy. He also thought they were going into overtime after the second period, I guess because he hasn’t seen the new NHL playoffs ad that informs you that hockey games have two halftimes.
Anyway… in the end, it was definitely one of the more memorable Avs games I’ve gone to. And now I can officially say I’ve gone to see the Avs play every team in their division. Took me a really long time to get Vancouver in there, but for a long time Avs/Canucks tickets were really expensive because of how heated the rivalry used to be.
Finally, here are a few warmup pictures.
I love when I accidentally get the puck in there.