Tuesday, June 2, 2009
SCF Game 3 Pregame
Welcome to the Igloo.
So this is where the Penguins play, huh? I thought the place was blown up in Sudden Death. Alas, it remains and really is quite the nice arena. As I mentioned back in Detroit, Joe Louis seemed like a warehouse crossed with the Nassau Coliseum. Mellon Arena just feels like a 70s-era arena - and there isn't anything wrong with that. It has that unique hockey atmosphere that I remember lingering in the old Commack Arena (even though it was a flea market when I was growing up). The seats are old and worn here, the place sucks from a tv and luxury point of view but the best way I can sum it up is that it is just a hockey arena. Then again, with all of the hundreds of steel cables hanging down from the roof, it may also host American Gladiators or the sequel to Beyond Thunderdome. But tonight it is the venue for Game 3 of the Cup finals and fans are already sitting outside tailgating. How cool. That is the one bad thing about the Garden - you have to hit some overpriced bar to pregame.
As for some other pregame notes from the Red Wings - I like them better than the Pens:
*Kris Draper feels well enough to play but leaves the decision to Mike Babcock. I know this because I went into the locker room with my trusty recorder and played reporter. it has been a long time since I did that and I forgot the unique smell of hockey locker room plus reporter sweat. Not pleasant.
*Draper, however, and Kirk Maltby are the consummate professionals. They both took a lot of time to make sure they answered everyone's questions, no matter how many times they had to answer the same basic query.
*Draper's daughter did these cute drawings for many of the players, and they had them taped to the wall in each of their lockers. The pic is the one hanging in Johan Franzen's spot. Very sweet.
*Maltby made a great point about trash talking - the Wings didn't really play the Pens this season and are only two games into the series so they don't have much ammunition yet but it will get ramped up as it goes along. But he was also quick to note that the Wings don't have any one guy who really is a talker - no Sean Avery or Steve Ott (he mentioned both by name) - and that Nik Lidstrom doesn't do that kind of thing.
*And I was correct yesterday - I did see Victor Hedman. The top five prospects for the draft are in the house. I stepped into a scrum around Hedman and asked him what he thought of his visit to Long Island: "It was nice, it was nothing what I expected. It was much nicer, I mean, it reminds me a little of back home with all the trees and the beach houses so I really liked it." Amazing how he didn't mention the Coliseum. Maybe Garth Snow is smarter than he looks and kept the kid away from the black hole of Hempstead.