As I said in my previous game review, we missed the NM Ice Wolves game on 2/15/2020 because we were traveling to Glendale, AZ for the Capitals vs Coyotes game. Earlier this year when I sat down and decided to see what teams I liked in the NHL, I came out the other side liking both the Capitals and the Penguins. Hilariously, it turns out they’re rivals, which… well… that somehow makes sense for me, so I’ll take it! (For anyone who saw my HockeyTV interview, our interviewer was giving us crap saying we’d be rooting for the Coyotes because my husband said “Eww Flyers” to him earlier in the evening. Ahh, sports rivalries.)
Anyway, we had decided to find a game close to us and our options were to go to Denver or Glendale. This time of the year, it’s safer to go toward Arizona, so I piddled around on the schedule and it turned out hubby and I were off for his birthday the week the Washington Capitals were playing the Arizona Coyotes. Fortuitous! And thus, a trip was booked and off we went bright and early in the morning on the 15th.
We ended up taking an Uber to and from the arena as it was just as cost effective as parking there would have been and was far easier than parking some random distance away. Turns out I’ve literally been in front of this arena before, long before I cared about hockey. This amuses me in many ways. Not the least of which was that we ended up eating where I’d eaten that last time I’d been standing in that exact spot.
The arena is very nice and I love the setup. Bathrooms were easily accessible and there were plenty of stalls to cover the amount of people so even the smaller intermission than I’m used to with NAHL made it easy enough to go. There’s a lot of food options and overall it was just lovely.
It was exciting getting to be under the same roof as so many big names, so close to so much heavyweight talent. Watching them warm up, I got that same giddy feeling I get before a NAHL game when it’s been a little bit between games. I let myself do what I do with the NAHL games, which is usually just pictures during warmies and then during period one and into period two, then I have to put it away before the halfway mark and just watch the game itself.
A few things I noticed was at first Ovi was definitely covered like he has been the past few games, everyone paranoid that he’s going to hit the 700 mark in goals on their game. It left him hanging back a lot more than he usually would have been and I think it’s messing with the team dynamic a bit, which is unsurprising given he’s their Captain. The Coyotes eased off a bit and gave him some breathing room and he did take some shots on goal. It almost worked a few times, but sadly he didn’t hit 699 or 700. I noticed Orlov board someone ass-end first, which was hilarious.
Granted, the Caps lost, but I feel like it was a great experience for us to have and it was fun. But if I’m being honest… I like my NAHL hockey games more. I think a lot of it has to do with the NAHL boys fighting for their ability to make a career out of hockey and it has a sense of desperation and need that the NHL lacks in that respect. That said, I did like going and would totally go to an NHL game again. I’d like to see the Penguins at some point and actually am planning on seeing the St Louis Blues if it lines up with when I’m in town this coming October. So… we shall see!