Hockey players have off nights, and after watching my beloved Lightning sleepwalk through three straight losses in which they were outscored 13-2 by the three NY area teams, I guess I'm entitled to one too. It's late, and I'm in need of sleep.
I trekked out to the Nassau Coliseum expecting a letdown after experiencing two glitzy arenas in Montreal and New Jersey. Traffic wasn't too bad and I arrived about 6pm. Parking was only $7, which is way cheaper than any other arena so far, so that put me in a cheery mood. And I got a front row spot about 30 yards from the front door. From a distance, the Coliseum resembles a UFO that has landed splat in the middle of suburbia. I felt like I had stepped into a time warp for the night. When I get to Big D. tomorrow, I'll explain what I mean, 'cause in a retro sort of way, I really enjoyed myself in the building.
The Lightning came out energized as Coach Tortorella (who my girlfriend Heather has a secret* crush on) put enforcers Andre Roy and Nick Tarnasky out for the opening faceoff, and they looked good until late in the first when Marc Denis let in what looked like a softie to me. And that's all the Isles needed as they cruised to a 4-0 victory. Former Lightning forward Rusty Fedotenko tallied for the Isles, and he seemed so excited in his intermission interview. Like most Lightning fans, I'll always love the guy who scored both goals in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, no matter where he plays.
I got a looney e-mail the other day from some conspiracy theorist claiming that I wasn't really going to any of these games, I was just Photoshopping myself into postcards of each arena. After looking at this picture from tonight's Islanders game, I can't argue with the dude! As soon as I get to Texas, I'm taking this camera back to Target and trading up for a better one.
I have a 7.15am flight to Dallas as I begin my stretch of 22 flights in 23 days. Here's my schedule from now on....wake up while it's still dark, catch a plane, rent a car, beg the girl at the hotel desk to let me check in early, try to nap, write my blog, find a ticket for the game, head to the arena, sample hot dogs and a new brew, head back to the hotel, then wake up while it's still dark and do it all over again. Think of me as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (but without the pockmarks on the cheeks).
*Not so secret any more!