So it turns out, I didn’t need all the layers I brought to Pittsburgh – not by a long shot. But boy did those ponchos come in handy! At one point, there were big fat rain drops splatting onto the vinyl, so I can only imagine what the ice must have been like. As one Caps fan commented, all those years of playing on the soft ice at Verizon Center paid off – our guys knew what to do on the slushy surface.
Kudos to Pittsburgh for hosting a great event. It’s actually a very pretty city, with the bridges and views of the river. Heinz Field is gorgeous. It makes me realize what a dump FedEx is … and the fans were generally very nice. Sure, there was the occasional comment about the “Crapitals” but it was all pretty friendly. Probably helped that we were in a Caps section – Caps fans were out in force. In fact, a Pens fan sitting three rows in front of us kept looking around for someone to celebrate Geno’s goal – no takers.
Having been to all of two Winter Classics, I would recommend the NHL look at football stadiums as opposed to baseball stadiums. The shapes of the ice rink and the football field just work better, as opposed to a rectanglular ice rink on a baseball diamond. We had terrific seats at Heinz Field, but it seemed like most of the seats had decent sight lines. That wasn’t the case at Fenway where basically no one could see anything. I also liked the fan area at Pittsburgh better.
However, I don’t think the crew in the ‘Burgh was quite as ready with souvenirs and swag. In Fenway, there was a stand every three steps, with lots of options and fun items. Here, the one stand I saw was overrun and out of stock. The people working there were overwhelmed and started to get snappy. We were told to get in two lines which we did. But then when I got to the front, I was berated – you need to get your shirts first, then get in line. Okay, but no one told me that. In the end, I ended up with an oversized t-shirt for G and a (child’s) medium for me. Good to know that I can squeeze into a kiddie shirt, only the sleeves are a bit short …
None of the minor hiccups mattered, though. We left with a win, and that’s what counted. Now I’m really excited to watch the final episode of 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic.