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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The NHL Weekend Roadie: Halloweekend

The 2010-2011 NHL season is upon us, boys and girls. It’s time to start thinking seriously about hitting the road – perhaps to follow your favorite team on a road trip, or maybe to see a compelling matchup in person…or, if you’re like the OGA Boys, you probably want to see at least one game in every NHL barn. We’re working on getting our “NHL arena passport” stamped, and you can, too!

Unless you’re independently wealthy and have plenty of free time on your hands, you’re not going to hit all 30 NHL arenas in one season. You can chip away at your goal, however, by checking out The NHL Weekend Roadie. In it, we offer our suggestions for a road trip for every weekend of the season. We’ve already covered weeks one (too late), two (hurry up!) and three (still a little time!). This week, we’re looking at Halloweekend, the fourth weekend of the NHL season.

The itinerary:

NHL Week Four (Thursday, 28 OCT – Sunday, 31 OCT)

Thursday, 28 OCT: Phoenix @ Detroit – This roadie begins on Thursday, as the NHL is dark on Halloween. The second meeting of the season between these two clubs should be a good one (they meet in Phoenix on 16 OCT for the Coyotes’ home opener). After losing to Detroit in the playoffs last spring, Phoenix would like nothing better than to beat the Red Wings in their own building. The rest of the free world would probably enjoy it, too.

Friday, 29 OCT: Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh – Hey, it wouldn’t be a true “roadie” if you didn’t drive anywhere, right? Get up early, hop in your rental and hit the road to Pittsburgh (285 miles, approx. 5 hours drive time). You’ll surely be hungry when you get there, so do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to Primanti Brothers for your meal-in-a-sandwich fix. If you’re not in a sammich mood, try Pierogies Plus for some old-school, Eastern European comfort food. After you’ve stuffed your face, head over to the brand-spankin’-new CONSOL Energy Center to watch the Penguins take on the cross-state rival Flyers. This will be their third meeting of the season (Philly spoiled the Pens’ debut in their new arena, defeating Pittsburgh, 3-2, on 7 OCT).

Saturday, 30 OCT: Nashville @ Detroit – After you awaken from your food coma, drive back to Motown (still 285 miles, still about 5 hours drive time) for another game between division rivals. Detroit’s aging stars strive for one more shot at the Cup, while the young Nashvillians look to topple the (Red) Wing Dynasty. If you’ve regained your appetite by the end of the game, follow the crowd to Lafayette Coney Island for a chili dog (or three).

Sunday, 31 OCT: No NHL games today. Go home!

HOTELS - As always, we recommend checking Hotwire.com for your accomodations. Currently, a three-star hotel room in Downtown Motown can be had for just $59 on Thursday night, while a comparable room in Dearborn (a short drive from the Joe) on Saturday night will set you back $74. (Note: While staying in Windsor, Ontario is a cleaner, safer alternative to Detroit, rooms there are slightly more expensive and you'll need a valid passport to cross the border.) Friday night in Pittsburgh, a three-star room near the airport is currently $49, while three stars downtown will cost you $86.

FOOD - If the choices mentioned above won't work for you, check out either Roadfood.com or this Diners, Drive-ins and Dives-related website. The OGA Boys have eaten at over half a dozen establishments featured on Triple D, and we've never been disappointed.

TICKETS - Great seats are still available for both games in Detroit, either through Ticketmaster or season ticket holders. While the Pens-Flyers game is sold out, plenty of season ticket holders are willing to sell.

GETTING AROUND - Even if you fly into Detroit, you'll need to rent a car to get to Pittsburgh and back, so check Hotwire for deals. As long as you're paying for it, you might as well get your money's worth. If you want to avoid the hassle of arena parking, however, try Detroit's People Mover. At just $.50/ride, it's a very reasonable option, and it'll take you right to The Joe. While not as convenient as Detroit's People Mover, there's a T Station just two blocks from the CONSOL Energy Center.

The last NHL Weekend Roadie in the month of October will get you three games in three days - one in a brand-new arena, and two in an aging classic. You can catch some great hockey, eat fantastic food, and still be home in time to go trick-or-treating Sunday night.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.

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