Well, after being a Wild fan for 4 years, I finally got to see them play at home and it was everything I hoped it would be. I'll just bullet point this thing because I'm fried after a very long day:
- I still think "Let's Play Hockey" is a little cheesy, but it was awesome that the local Aeros players go to do it. I'm sure that was cool for them.
- Clutterbuck had another STELLAR game for me. The guy just makes me so proud to wear his jersey. Not a lot of dudes you can say that about game in and game out. He got the first goal, he was scrappy and fierce all night, he CRUSHED some dude right in front of us. Damn. I love that kid.
- And for whatever reason, I've always wanted to hear that goal announcement in person: "Scoring forrrr MINNESOTA..." and it was as gleeful a moment as I expected AND the first one was Cal's, so it was that much better. <3
- It was also great to meet some folks, like Wild Road Tripper and a T3I reader who has the most amazing collection of Wild game-worn sweaters and equipment... you wouldn't even believe it without photos. I'll have to do a story on him sometime. What's cool is he didn't know who I was but said, "You aren't one of those media types for the Aeros... like Ms.Conduct..." Haha. Cool! I love meeting passionate Wild fans who keep up with the Aeros through us!
- My seat was primo for goalie watching and I got to see Backstrom be awesome but also Halak be NOT awesome. Just a tough night for the guy. Backstrom is on another level though. His puck awareness is just off the hook. I don't even... It's like the thing is talking to him. "Hey Backy! Over here now!"
- NHL hockey is weird. It's so... smooth. I'm so used to watching the AHL with its slower pace and rougher edges. Much like it's good to have the players here, giving them a sniff, stoking the fires of ambition, I think it's good for me to see the NHL in person sometimes to be reminded of where the Houston guys are in relation. And reminded of what incredible athletes these guys are. Just warriors. Except for Havlat, who I still think is overrated.
- The Xcel is just... well... it's a hockey palace. It's fabulous. The glass is clear, the lights are bright, the views are extraordinary, the seats are comfortable. It's a monument to fans as much as to the game and I understand why people are so proud of it. It deserves a good team. It has one right now.