What do you do when your team is in the Stanley Cup playoffs but they aren't playing at home? Simple. You go to the home arena anyway and watch the game for free up on the big screen. Yeah, that's right. MSG for FREE. We also got towels for FREE. We sat in cushy seats way down by the ice for FREE. Eddie's friend Big Puma sent us on this little FREE excursion to the viewing party, and party party it was, complete with John Amaranti singing the National Anthem in person. Also in person? The boom guy who slipped on the ice and fell over as he sang. Ah, falling. It's the funniest thing in the world.
Between periods, the entertainment team--one of whom is an Asian chick who I think was on a reality show at some point in time--kept us occupied with interviews of old players. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand one thing that they said, but it was nice that they were there. Also between periods was a mini-hockey game played by very tiny people, some would call them children, who could skate and score better than I ever could. One of them was really good at face-planting, but he was still eons better than I could be. The game was my kind of game--no stopping, constant scoring, lots of falling, everybody wins.
It was like a real game. There was cheering. There was booing. There was some cursing. There was a fight in the stands. There were really, really long lines at the concession stands. There was dancing and singing. There were people making enough commotion to get themselves up on the big screen when there was no hockey action going on. There was a guy in front of us walking around with an inflatable Stanley Cup (which we later found out was fifty bucks, which is pretty hefty for something that could double as a poolside toy).
This guy was there. It made me happy. I'm not sure why.
More importantly, there were contests. They had a few people come out to center ice to slide a puck into a small slot seemingly miles away. One guy did it and won tickets to some game. Another contest was based on randomly choosing seats to see who could win a family gift pack of tickets. Every time they called a seat number, we were like, why isn't it ours. Then after we'd moved over two sections to see the screen better, we heard the announcer announce not only the section we'd been sitting in, but the seat that one of Eddie's friends had been sitting in. We all looked at each other. Ummm, he would've won the tickets.
It was like some odd hockey version of Final Destination. Moral of the story: don't change your seat.
And on the way out, my wish to steal the balloons that were waving in arches along the seats became a reality for someone else. Some dude found a way to cut the balloons off of the railing and take them with him. There he was, big doofy man, with a big doofy bunch of balloons trailing behind him. The security guy followed him for a while but then came back, mumbling, I'm not gonna fight with him about balloons. Heh heh. I wonder if he made it to the train.
The only aspect of the night that was disheartening was my dream of riding a zamboni still being a dream. All these little kids get to ride it. Why can't I? We're all about the same size. They're out there for quite some time. It's actually a bit of work to ride the zamboni. Those kids are forced to wave the whole time. You can see that when they stop waving, the driver leans over and whispers something. Then suddenly, the kids are back to waving more frantically than ever. I think I'd excel at that, and the driver wouldn't even have to remind me to do it.