mixing travel, visiting friends & watching hockey is pretty much my favorite thing to do in my spare time, and the latest installment of this continuing series (jersey'10, st.louis'09, deadmonton'08, MSP'06, MSG'05, sweden'04), took me to tennessee to catch the flames and the preds last night, with one of the coolest hockey-loving chicks i've ever had the good fortune to meet.
it was way back on a shoot in toronto during the spring of 2006 (when the flames were playing the ducks in the playoffs) that i met her, and we bonded over our love of the sport ---also the fact that she's adorable and funky and straight up inspiring, and somehow understood my forsberg fascination (lol). she returned to nashville at the end of the job and i never thought we'd speak again... until the following season just before the flames were ejected from the playoffs, when she called out-of-the-blue to congratulate my team on a game 3 victory (documented here in a saccharinely sweet tale). *grin*
anyhow. over the course of the past three years, we've discussed this potential visit ---and it got to the point recently where i couldn't overlook how genuinely captivating her sons are, and how much i truly wanted to spend a little bit of time with her family.... oh, and as if it wouldn't be perfect to check me out some nashville and catch a game to boot...
but i know you really want to read about the arena.
the best thing about the bridgestone arena is simply that it is in the heart of the city's downtown. it's literally across the street from the honky tonks on broadway, around the corner from the grand ole opry, and it backs onto the country music hall of fame. it's a cool looking rink from the outside, and pays homage to the city's musical history with the enormous radio tower-looking spier out front. and like i mentionned about the xcel and prudential: you don't ever realize what a dump the saddledome is until you hit a venue like this: open concept concourse and beautifully finished (ie: a looong way from concrete, ducts, and dust). on the other hand: it was effin' cold in there, and the skaters took the ice through a kinda awkward 'pred-head' (pictured here above the "megatron.")
as for arena snacks (aka: mikeH's favorite part), i once again hit the jackpot. my friends didn't have any specific treat in mind as "the penultimate," though i'm told that in the club section there's some better items than there are on the public concourses. as we headed out in search of refreshments, i asked a dude in a preds jersey what he suggested. he suggested we don't eat at the bridgestone... ;) when cornered for an actual answer, however, he immediately came to "bbq nachos." for real ?! oh yeah... SO good. nachos with nacho cheese, pulled pork and bbq sauce and pickled jalapeños on the side. eff. i would eat these anytime. omg, i'm hungry just thinking about 'em.... ;)
....and while i don't generally post pix of myself over here, i see i've done it in the past so i'll just make this really tiny and mostly unrecognizable. while i had mentioned that i really wanted a photo with gnash (the second best nhl mascot after harvey, IMO), i didn't imagine myself chasing him down. enroute to foraging, however, the elevator door opened and there he was !! ha ! he didn't want to be seen with a flames fan, but eventually relented thanks in no small part to the pleading by my gorgeous friend.... ;) what a kickass night. AND the flames won !!!!
to sum up: a good time was had by all, and the flames went to OT/shootout for the fourth time in my five away game experiences, and the prophecy/blasphemy gio jersey remains undefeated.... SO fun.
[many, many thanks to A&T for housing me and showing me a wonderful time, and their little dudes for making me laugh my butt off. xox]