GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 14: General view as the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes face off to start Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 14, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
I keep trying to writeup a postgame for everyone, but I just keep wanting to talk about how great the experience was rather than about anything that actually happened. So I'm just breaking it into two so I can get to the actual events here in a few. This is more just stream of consciousness so bear with me.
The entire experience of my first NHL Playoffs game was amazing from start to finish. As a Phoenix Coyotes fan since they came here, but a real hardcore follower since about 2004 this was my first taste of what the Playoffs were like. Besides watching the early playoff teams I've never attended anyone's playoff game. Everyone talks about how amazing it is. Everyone is right. Would I be saying that if we hadn't won? I have no idea thank goodness. Let me just run you through my playoff day.
I left work and went straight to to the local party and costume store. I wanted to find one of those plastic Jason masks, but no dice. No white wigs, no white masks. I thought this store was far enough from Coyote central. I guess I was wrong. Striking out in the Whiteout material department I headed home to get my ticket, jersey and to put up the preview etc. I figured that If I had nothing else at least I had my jersey and white Coyotes hat going for me. So I left at about 5 our time for a 7pm game, got to the arena already excited and remembered that I had a pompom from the beginning of the year Whiteout to bring with me in the trunk. There I also found the white fleece blanket given away earlier in the year. Instant Coyotes cape. Though tying it around my neck was a little choking.
I began my trek to Westgate from the Red Lot at University of Phoenix Stadium I saw a few fans here and there, but it was early. As I approached the front of the arena though there was an odd gate up that wasn't normally there that led to a big fenced in pregaming area. There were beers, dogs, souvenirs, facepainting, all kinds of stuff. There were even guys walking around with Real live Coyotes on leashes. They were white ones too. Awesome. I met up with FFH member TimmyHate, who got married in Tucson last week and came up for the game. He actually lives in New Zealand and follows the team from there. How cool! From there we went back to the arena area to Meet up with MPallen and GhostofLink who were sporting colored hair and MPallen put his Coyotes Tattoo on display. We went inside, walking through the giant inflatable Coyote head at the main gates, got our T-Shirts and split up from there. There was still nearly an hour left til game time though.
I walked around to see everyone that was around, people were doing face painting, had simple white outfits or elaborate costumes. Lots of capes, masks, tons of howling fans. It was already fun and we hadn't even started playing yet. I met up with the patio crew for some quick chatting about the festivities and then headed up to my seat on the attack 2 upperdeck. I still had 15 minutes or so, but I just wanted it to start. The guy in the seat next to me came prepared. He was rocking the ear plugs which would have been a great idea. Luckily I didn't have his seat though as there was a 10-11 year old wing fan next to him with his dad. That also could have been why he had the ear plugs.
More waiting until they started announcing the lineups. I was looking forward to a new intro song and video, but got the same one. That's okay because the Fans cheered harder than ever for it. Ilya Bryzgalov got the biggest cheers when the line ups were announce and there was a big howl at the end of the Anthem.
The game itself was electric. From the puck drop to the last horn the crowd was totally into the game. The "Let's go Coyotes" were loud, (The "Detroit Sucks!" bits may have been even louder.) The crowd was chanting HOWARD! HOWARD! for extended periods of time. Everyone was really into it. After goals there were High-fives, tons of cheering, camera positions shaking. Just amazing. The maybe 750-100 Red Wing fans couldn't even be heard through the boos when they scored. The last 2:30 of the game were excruciating. Just counting down the seconds. hoping and prying that we held the 3-2 lead. Everyone went nuts when we won. Luckily I'm all rested up to do it again tomorrow.
Then I come home just to find out that we've been featured on iDesk for #ThrowtheSnake, have the most comments we've ever had in a single day and that the blog side of things is just gigantic. What else could I have possibly asked for out of my first Whiteout day? Not much. I'm looking forward to Friday being just as great.