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Monday, October 20, 2008

Premature Nostalgia

Barely home a few days and the Frozen Pill already misses the big OGA Hockey Road Trip. I am sure, like the Colonel and Big Tex, thoughts are already formulating for next year's sojourn. But I cannot help but think perhaps a mid-season mini-road trip may be in order. Ah, we'll have to run that one by Mrs. Pill before I spend too much time dwelling on a strategy...

Well, to help me (more than you), I will post some pics and thoughts on the recent OGA-outing to the Northeast for 5 games in 5 days at 4 Barns. In addition to seeing some great hockey, we met great people and saw some wonderful scenery. Most of it by design. Not all.

Some thoughts on Day One...

Big Tex, Big Tex JR and Frozen Pill flew out pre-dawn and were thereby transported to the post-modern Statue of Liberty known as LaGuardia early in the day, having plenty of time to play whilst awaiting the Colonel's arrival on a separate flight.

A shuttle to the hotel in Queens (across the street from the soon-to-disappear Shea Stadium), three purchases of Metro Cards (for the week!) and a train ride downtown found us in Manhattan, ready for business.

We made the most of the time (and the good fortune of timing) to head to the big NHL Faceoff 2008 Fan Festival at the NHL Powered by Reebok store at Rockefeller Center. It was a fantastic event and packed. Very helpuful employees and all very nice. I highly sugest a stop-by if you have business in the Big Apple.

After shopping like those Sexy City girls in a shoe-store, Frozen Pill and Big Tex JR left with some handsome NHL Store bags full of treats for the family and wears for the new season. We cruised the city a bit and then rode the train back to Queens to meet up w/ the Colonel whose flight had arrived.

A quick dinner at the Pine Restaurant with some apps, Buffalo Wing action, and sandwhiches and we were ready for another subway ride downtown to the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Like a small city unto itself, the Garden blew us away. We were fortunate enough to meet some fellow hockey fans after switching from the 7 Train to the E and were able to walk in and get the tour of the Garden with Vito and Savy (see previous post for more info, but thanks again, fellas!)

Also, see Big Tex's previous posts for the OGA take on MSG, but I will simply say there is probably no other barn in the sport that feels like this on. There are Hockey Gods who live in the building and you can feel their presence when you enter. When the Blue Shirts hit the ice in front of the home crowd, I felt truly blessed to be there...and we were able to sit amongst the true fans up in the blue seats. If this is a restaurant review, the Atmosphere stars are maxed out here.

In addition to a great game and the incredible vibe, when the Rangers came skating onto the ice at the beginning of the 2nd and 3rd periods with the Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up' blasting on the speakers, well, I just thought perhaps the Frozen Pill had stepped through the Pearly Gates of Hockey Heaven and was ready for my 'fuhgetaboutit' baptism.

Until, of course, after the game we were mobbed by Spongebob and Spidey.

OGA trekked it down to Time Square after the game and a slice of pizza. You know you are in Gotham when Spiderman hits you up for change. Seriously.

My own Spidey sense told me his super hero disguise was in need of some repair. I cannot imagine Spidey gets many nights off in NYC.

OGA called it a night and started the subway/train switcheroo back to Queens. The next day would see OGA walking bock after block (over 40 of them!) at breakneck speed to take a rental car thru mid-town Manhattan. After a brief run-in with Captain Tourrett's, a couple of tunnels and a 4.5 hour ride down to the Phonebooth, we chased the Chicago Blackhawks to Washington DC where I would be reunited with the team that introduced the Frozen Pill to hockey.

Next post - a recap of OGA Road Trip, Day 2...

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