The hometown Nashville Predators were taking on the visiting Buffalo Sabres in a game that caused much confusion amongst the crowd seeing as how both teams have the same jersey.
As always seems to be the case for professional sporting events I go to, the home team lost. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller got the shutout, but the real star of the game was Preds' goalie Pekka Rinne who faced 40 shots and made several diving saves.
I had the camera with me, but it was hard to get sharp shots from the top of the arena with my zoom lens. I was VERY impressed with the Sommet Center. Although my seats were but a few rows from the top, I could see the game very nicely. Hockey is a great game to watch live. TV kills it for me, largely because of the commercial breaks. Flow is crucial in enjoying hockey. Live, things zoom by quickly and even though it's a fast-paced game, it's easy to see the puck and follow what's happening.
I was surprised by the number of Sabres fans in attendance. In fact, the "Let's Go Buffalo!" cheers were louder than the "Let's Go Predators!" chants. If that doesn't say volumes for the future of hockey in Nashville, perhaps this picture does:
The picture wasn't taken between periods or before the game. It was smack dab in the middle of the second period. In most of the sections, particularly in the middle part of the arena, there were tons of seats to be had. The uppers were solid and much of the bottom bowl was filled (although there were noticable pockets of empties) but the middle-of-the-road spots were sparse. My theory, without any scientific backing, research or any sort of credability figures this is where the economy has hurt the team the most. The wealthy folks will always be able to fill the pricey seats and the not-so-wealthy will gobble up the value seats. But you're left in the middle with some seats that aren't cheap but they're also not spectacular views. The result: Lonely Guy sleeping alone in the corner of Section 111.
First Hamilton was itching to get a team, now Quebec City is back in the mix, one might want to start taking bets on which southern US team is going to be packing it in first and heading back to Canada.
The crowd was treated to a celebrity. Santa Claus tried to disguise himself in a Predators jersey but when you sit right behind the bench, you need to understand the video cameras and the cameras of those in attendance are going to capture you (pardon the horrible photography). Check him out in the front row with his big beard.
Finally, here's a POV shot from the hair of the guy in front of me:
My adopted hometown Oilers are in Nashville on Monday but I'll be off to the Grand Old Opry for a biggish concert. It would've been ironic that I almost caught the Oilers on the other side of the continent before seeing them at their own home two hours away from my house. But it simply wasn't meant to be, I guess.