Wednesday, October 7, 2015

20 (or so) Takeaways from NHL FaceOff 2015 and the Flames/Canucks Game

Credit: Candice Ward - USA Today Sports

Well, that was something.

The Calgary Flames did not start 2015-16 well, losing 5-1 to the visiting Vancouver Canucks! But who cares? They always lose on Opening Night, and NHL FaceOff was in town! I was there, and I actually managed to get up on-stage, being the very important person that I am (or maybe just because of luck). Anyhow, we were partying all night long (in this case meaning eleven)!

Here are twenty-or-so takeaways from the night.

- Fort Calgary. What a great venue for NHL FaceOff. Honestly, very few people were there (maybe two thousand?), but as a result, there was tons of room to move around. Plenty of great kiosks were present.

- Probably my favourite kiosk was Honda's. They had a great game where you could shoot foam pucks into the back of a new 2015 Honda CR-V, a chance to meet Joel Otto (which I did), a cell-phone charging station (which I used). as well as a Plinko-style game where you could win Tim Cards. Hey, speaking of Tim Horton's...

- Tim's was everywhere tonight. They had free hot chocolate and coffee for those chilly 'uns; there was a stand with unlimited hockey cards; and, speaking of hockey cards, you could get a personalized card with your name and picture and everything on it. Sweet!

- A main sponsor was Pepsi. I was drinking a Coke. Tee hee.

- Speaking of sugary goodness, I consumed approximately eight Oh Henry! bars over the course of the night. Oh Henry! also had a kiosk up with a mini-stage where you could answer trivia questions. My best streak: 18 in a row. Plus, Jamie Macoun was there. Another autograph and picture!

- Theo Fleury was there, also, greeting everyone who walked in to the event with a handshake and a picture. Cool guy - I complimented his music.

- Don't even ask me about the music. It was shrill and annoying.

- My highlight of the night was probably when I was chosen to go up on the big, main stage. My task was to race against another, older guy to put on a bag of hockey gear quickest. His bag contained pants, shoulder pads, gloves, socks, a jersey, and a helmet, as did mine; however, his jersey was a Flames jersey, while mine was of the Canucks' design. To make a long story short, I won. My prize: a custom pair of $300 skates, "courtesy of Reebok and the NHL". Very cool.

Now, as for the actual game (these were written live at Fort Calgary):

- Yikes.

- Kris Russell looks out of his element today. Can't seem to make a pass.

- Dougie, no more penalties in this game, or else I will... I will be angry.

- 1-0 Canucks. I forgot that Jannik Hansen was still playing.

- And, it's 2-zip. Nice pick out of mid-air by Sutter.

- JIRI HUDLER! First goal of the 2015-16 season for Calgary!

- Ooh, this lady says that there's a contest going on, and that I'm going up on stage. This is the most excited I've been all night.

- That was fun.

- I sure hope that I spelled my e-mail address right on that form.

- Back to the game:

- ...

- Ouch. Five seconds left, and it's 3-1. Second intermission.

- They're chanting "We Want Jonas" here in Fort Calgary.

- Alex Burrows scores. 4-1. Hey, this Samsung tent looks cool. Hey, there's Boomer and Warrener!

- I guess that the Canucks just scored again. Craziness, I wasn't paying attention.

- Dougie Hamilton's in the penalty box again. I may scream.

- It's 11:30 already?

In short, I had a great time at the 2015 Molson Canadian NHL FaceOff. The atmosphere was electric, the booths and kiosks were very cool, and it was just an overall great experience.

Now, if only the NHL would bring the All-Star Game back here...

Best Flame of the Game 

Jiri Hudler scored the Flames' only goal tonight, and was one of the only Flames out there who looked actually "into it" at points during the game.

Also considered: Johnny Gaudreau, LW; Michael Frolik, RW

Worst Flame of the Game

Kris Russell had an atrocious game tonight. He couldn't make a pass, he was fighting the puck, and he couldn't find a way to break out of his own zone effective at any point in tonight's game.

Also considered: Dougie Hamilton, D; Karri Ramo, G

The Verdict:

Tonight's game wasn't the best Flames game I've ever seen, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, here. They never win on opening nights, and their new acquisitions will need time to adjust to the Flames' system. Also, the atmosphere was fantastic, and I got free skates.

I had fun tonight. Isn't that what matters?

Game Score: 3/10
Event Score: 9/10

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