First of all, I hope everyone made it home safely. It's 5:00 and I just got back to Athens, OH. I was in the car at 5:30 after the game. 90 was treacherous and 79 wasn't much better. If the faceoff was at 1:30, the game would not have made it.
For whatever it was on TV --like it or hate it -- this event was unbelievable.
The tailgate was very cool. Now it's not uncommon to see a group of guys tossing a football at an event like this. But pulling into the parking lot, we noticed more than one group of kids in Lafontaine jerseys and Lemieux jerseys playing street hockey with goals/goalies. Some of these kids were no older than seven, and some were no younger than 25.
Walking into the stadium, I quickly made my way up the ramp to turn corner and catch the first glimpse of the rink. I turned to the rest of our group grinning ear to ear, this was clearly going to be nothing short of incredible.
As we made our way to our row in section 313 we were greeted by patches of Pens fans,.When we finally got to our seats I turned around and looked up. From our row back I could see nothing but a sea of black and gold (and baby blue). This never felt like an away game. Our seats were located behind the Pens bench.
My "Goosebumps" Moment of the game:
Suddenly, we hear bagpipes and become terribly confused. Then without any announcement other than their own presence, a Pipe and Drum band march their way out of the tunnel, followed by two symmetric lines of white and baby blue sweaters. Their paths diverge and they continue to make the long trek to the ice for warmups.
This probably doesn't translate well to the reader, and I would have thought it an odd idea if I had read it beforehand. But it was a neat effect and set the tone for the evening.
Chants Heard throughout the evening (in chronological order):
"Bring Back Jimmy Paek"
"Flyers Suck" - Which Sabres fans joined
"You're a jagoff" <-- I usually would not condone this one, but the dude deserved it.
Then several others that I can't repost
And of course, Let's Go Pens, Conklin , Tang and Crosby.
Our section was particularly loud and drowned out the Sabres fans who were sitting near us. But I have no idea how well that relayed to the rest of the stadium. I did hear a couple of very impressive "Let's Go Pens" chants from across the stadium.
I can't rave enough about this event, folks. I think everyone there can tell you that they felt like they were 12 again. A lot of planning was involved, but it didn't take away from the purity of the idea -- the game.