| Hockey Odyssey -
By Jess Knaster
It wasn't the blowout expected by many fans,
but the Sharks got it done. Riding the rookies and the goalie, the Sharks were
able to get a win against a team and in a building that just a couple years ago
haunted them. Ryane Clowe got his third of the year, and recent call-up Joe
Pavelski his second, and Vesa Toskala played a solid game, stopping all 29
shots he faced, giving the Sharks back-to-back shutouts.
Despite the good overall record, people wondered if the Teal could take their
successful play on the road. The offensive minded portion of that question was
quickly answered (two minutes in), when Clowe banged a puck home that seemed to
deflect off a Blue defensemen and just trickle through the legs of Manny Legace
(LEG-asee, hah, that's funny). The rest of the period saw a tight battle, as
the Blues got one of their few great scoring chances, a Petr Cajanek shot
tipped by Blue Captain Dallas Drake that rang off the post so loud, someone in
Kansas City went to their door to see who was there.
The Sharks wasted no time in the second doing the job again. This time it was
Rookie Joe Pavelski, playing in just his third NHL game, beating Legace just
six seconds in to their first powerplay of the night, and just over a minute
into the period. From there on, it was just up to Toskala to play solid, and
solid he played, for his second shutout of the season, and second on the road
(the first one came in Columbus on Oct. 25).
The Scottrade Center (formerly the Savvis Center, and the Kiel Center before
that. How rare, a building has the horrible name hat trick, in only ten years
no less) is a diamond in the rough. Not a knock on the City of St. Louis, but
the buildings that surround the Scott are not exactly new in nature. The
outside of the building is very reminiscent of the building in Nashville, with
an elevated bowl protruding up from the rectangular base of the structure.
Covered fully in silver, with glass in the front area, this building looks like
a spaceship, ready to take fans to hockey from another dimension (a heckle I
actually heard on this evening towards the Blues). The inside however, is a bit
From the beautiful facade outside the 'Trade, one would expect a pretty
state-of-the-art arena inside, however, from the relatively dark concourses, to
the exposed wires and pipes that would make one think of a basement or a cellar
(the actual thing, not the figurative place where bad teams are), to the old
style clocks with the kinda green/yellow painted planks that turn or flip to
change numbers (there's probably a technical term for this style, but I'm a fan
of hockey, so I'm clueless), even to the 1991 contest between the Sharks and
Blues at the Cow Palace being shown on the TVs throughout the building before
the pregame skate (take a wild guess who won), walking through the doors might
cause one to think that they've stepped into (... The Twilight Zone).
The food in the Scott is nothing stellar, with all the standard fare available.
The only brand name I came across were the golden arches of McDonald's
(thankfully they weren't painted silver in honor of the Gateway Arch that
stands just down the street). Behind my section and stretching over a few
others is the Top Shelf, an eating / bar area consisting of a gathering of
concession stands. The unique draw to this area are the widened entranceways
and raised upper seating, allowing those who are in the Top Shelf to watch all
the action from the comfort of their bar stools (either peering through the
large openings to the ice, or the giant TVs that hang in the area.
The seating is nothing unusual, except for the blue and purple seats (they look
pretty cool, but don't exactly match any of the tenants). I sat in the lower
rows of the 300's, in the lip of the top deck, so my sight lines were pretty
good. The building seemed small enough that even in the top rows, the
visibility would not be effected.
A good game (for fans of the fins, that is), and a pretty nice
building/experience ( I wasn't heckled because there was no one there to heckle
me. Announced attendance [wasn't announced, that's a clue to how low it was] in
the newspaper listed at 8,600 something) equal a good start to a road trip that
is only going to get tougher. The back-to-back continues tonight here in St.
Paul against the Wild, a team that is tough to play, and even tougher at home
(gametime 5:00 pst).
On a side note, it's really cold here in St. Paul, 15F degrees at 3 in the
afternoon as I'm writing this. Usually in SJ, it's colder inside the arena than
outside, it'll be nice to sit in a building where it's 30-40 degrees for a
couple hours before walking across the street to my hotel when it's supposed to
be 8F (windchill 0 F). Welcome to Winter, Population: Really cold California
Go Sharks (Go sunshine)
Contact Jess at
blog Sharks Hockey Odyssey
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