Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pominville, Arizona

Jan. 18, 2010: Glendale, Ariz.
Buffalo Sabres 7, Phoenix Coyotes 2

I usually try to see my beloved Sabres in San Jose on their rare West Coast swings. This year I tried something different: instead of driving the Nasty Nimitz to San Jose, I flew to Phoenix. It allowed me to burn a soon-to-expire Southwest frequent flier ticket; helped me deal with a case of cabin fever; and advanced the HockeyWanderer mission of experiencing sports in exotic environments (hockey where cactus are native).
It was also a great value proposition. Thanks to the dubious economics of the NHL in Phoenix, I got a seat three rows from the ice for less than $35, even counting the Ticketbastard fees.
As a Sabres fan, I was not alone. In the parking lot, on the concourses, in the stands, the blue jerseys were everywhere. Well not everywhere; there were more than 6,400 empty seats, (see photo) so jobing.com would have been pretty empty without the Buffalo diaspora.
Surprisingly, or maybe not, a lot of those Buffalo fans were rocking Tyler Myers jerseys. He thanked them with an early goal. Sabres fans had a lot to cheer as the game quickly got out of hand, largely because of Ilya Bryzgalov's shaky netminding.
The population of Pominville increased by two on the night, but fans in the arena thought it was three because the PA announcer never publicly corrected the scoring on a goal that was corrected to linemate Hecht. So a load of hats got thrown on the ice -- how often does that happen to a visiting player?
Anyway, jobing.com was a nice enough place to watch a game, at least being able to sit below the phalanx of luxury boxes that curse modern sports arenas. It also enjoys their blessings, such as free flowing concourses, and short lines for concessions and bathrooms. (The low attendance must help.) Unfortunately, it is not actually in Phoenix; it's a fairly long drive out to Glendale, which may well be one of the Coyotes' problems.

Fan-friendly touch: free parking!

Leading economic indicator?: The 'Yotes can't even sell ads on one of their Zambonis.

Token observation about the actual hockey game: Myers is good. Scarrry good.

Game reports here and here.