Well, we lost (but got a point! Huzzah!) but it was a great deal of fun. As I mentioned above, I went to the "House Party" at HSBC Arena for $5. Final number was 11,000+, but it seemed far lower than that. The Buffalo Police & Firefighters beat the Alumni team, 8-4, and one of those police/fire guys skated REAL well; I'm surprised this guy isn't/wasn't at least in the minors. Richard Smehlik looked bored, but Darryl Shannon looked like he was having a blast, and even Yuri Khmylev showed a bit of spark. Fred Stanfield skated hard too; impressive, considering he's 64 years old! Funny moment: one of the police/fire guys had a penalty shot, so Shannon and a few other Sabres threw their sticks in his path. He missed it, of course. Should have done that a few more times, considering the final score.
The arena got the AM Radio feed of Rick Jenarette and Harry Neale, which got a HUGE cheer. Rick also said hi to the arena a couple of times, which, next to Kotalik's shootout goal, got the biggest cheer of the night.
I hadn't been to the arena in about 7 years, so I was really amazed at how good the picture on the new HD scoreboard looked from just about anywhere. It was general admission for the party, so I was around the 100 level until the 3rd, then headed up to the 300's. It's funny; I've been in other arena's that hold about the same amount of people (18,000+), but it seems really tight at HSBC. They really pack 'em in; I wonder if that's a small carry over from the old Aud.
The game: both teams looked really good, but Buffalo looked their best defensively since the Philly series. A TON of good back-checking, which pretty much the entire region wishes they would do more. I'm all the more impressed how well everyone played, considering the elements. The crowd looked insane for a hockey game, and I hope they do something like this annually, just move it around a bit. This was a huge win-win for the league, and I'm hoping ESPN devotes more than their usual 30 seconds of NHL coverage to this. Melrose can just shut the hell up.
Though I'm a bit annoyed about Must Syd TV (heh), I can understand it, especially given the final outcome. I just would have liked a bit more balance. Regardless, it was great for the region (financially as well), and a lot of fun to be a small part of.
Sorry for the rambling. I had fun.
Edited by ceedj, 02 January 2008 - 01:20 AM.