2011 Winter Classic recap

Winter Classic Game album | Alumni Game album

The Winter Classic is quickly becoming the Super Bowl of the hockey world. I couldn’t make it to Buffalo for the first Classic game and the last couple years I would watch the game but I was never “into” it. This year with Pittsburgh hosting all of that changed. I’ve been to a lot of high profile hockey events in my days and will say that this was the most incredible ever.

I walked over from town on a night filled with a mystifying fog lingering over the rivers. With the lights of the bridges and city glowing it was a scene reminding me of a Crow movie. As I passed PNC Park the tailgating began and what a party these people were having! The amount of hockey love was amazing! Still the vibe didn’t hit me until I reached Heinz Field and walked through Spectator Plaza. Knowing this is a growing event I appreciated what was there but could see how the NHL could have dominated a lot more floor space.

Signature Sandwich Face-off
In a first for the Classic, Aramark pitted the signature sandwiches from the Washington Capitals (The Fury) against the Pittsburgh Penguins (Kielbasa Grinder). Its no secret that I am obsessed with the sandwich but I was severely disappointed with the offering at the Classic. The meat was dry, the cheese was hard and there was barely any sauce. Somehow it won though so kudos for that.

The Game

I went to the game with my nephew Ben. We have started making it a tradition going to important Pens games together and this was another one to chalk up. Our seats were in 147 which if you go there for any other event don’t exist. If you’re watching the Steelers game its the open end section of the south end zone. Seats were incredibly tight (dude next to me was 180lbs and barely fit) but the view was absolutely amazing.

Besides the Caps winning 3-1 the game was hard hitting and amazingly fast given the poor ice conditions. Officiating was mediocre which we’re use to and probably to the disappointment of HBO/NBC you didn’t see much from Crosby or Ovechkin. At the end of the game neither team shook hands, they just left the ice. I have a severe hatred for the Philadelphia Flyers but the joy I see in defeating the Caps grows every game. Pens fans hate Philly because that’s history. Its just what you do. Caps players and their fan base hate anything Pittsburgh and I LOVE it. It makes for a healthy obsession with my team.

In between periods were short sets performed by Hinder, The Clarks and Styx. Styx? yeah I guess they thought it was a Steelers game. The bands sounded great but that happens when everyone does the lip sync.

What I wasn’t crazy about
You take the good, you take the bad and… that song is now in your head. You’re welcome.

  1. Heinz Field needs upgraded. It was great 10 years ago but I’m still pissing in a trough, your concession stands don’t take credit/debit cards and your Nacho Grande is 2 cups of cheese? Your sound system crackles and the video was 3-5 seconds off of the audio. It was worse than watching TV and listening to the radio. Lame.
  2. Alyonka Larionov – who hired this girl? The most basic video segments and she fumbled over all of them. You called the band “The Styx”? Were the cards in Pittsburghese and you couldn’t read them? You’re not that cute. What a joke
  3. The Franco Harris/Jerome Bettis shootout – Who’s idea was THAT debacle?
  4. rain – mother nature you were a pain in the 3rd.
  5. Cell coverage – my phone showed 4 bars and 3G coverage but I couldn’t upload anything and twitter was impossible. Its worse than Consol Energy Center. Verizon should spend more money on coverage than on advertising being a top sponsor.

The weekend was absolutely amazing and I will never forget the hockey love that took over the north shore.