In the time-honored tradition of the LA Kings giving great stuff to the NY Islanders for free… we recently had the opportunity to hook up two of our favorite NY Islanders bloggers (thanks to Can-Am Sypder!) with free tickets to Wednesday night’s Coors Light™ Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium.

So here are Keith and Dan from Lighthouse Hockey to share their experiences of attending a cold-weather Coors Light™ Stadium Series. Suckers!!!

NHL Stadium Series III: The Quest for Fire

Keith: The New York/New York version of the Stadium Series was quite a spectacle. And by “quite a spectacle,” I mean cold.  Not 65 in LA cold, but cold enough to make CeeLo Green wear a coat made of mammoth fur.  We’re talking day-old penguin droppings.

Dan: I had a few fears going into the game:

  1. That the Islanders would, as they are known to do, embarrass themselves on national television.
  2. That the mixing of tens of thousands of Islanders and Rangers fans would result in a snowy, replica jersey-clad prison riot.
  3. That my ride from the Bronx back to my home in central New Jersey after the game would resemble the ordeal of The Warriors.
  4. That it would be kinda cold.

Turns out only one of those fears would come true. What started as a fun adventure on a crisp evening became a battle of man (and woman and kids oh god why would you bring a kid to this) versus the elements, all to watch our perpetually disappointing team disappoint yet again.

In visual terms, before the game everyone was this:

and after the game, everyone was this:

Keith: The unfortunate part of this event is that this same cold sucked the life out of my phone and the backup battery I brought, leaving us with just a few photos.

Here’s an Islanders fan that wore a goalie helmet onto the train.

And here’s a real-life NY subway during our commute.

And this is 1/1000th of the bedlam to get into the stadium at 7pm.

Dan: By the time we got our tickets and got to our seats, half of the first period was over. Fortunately, not a single thing happened. In a “normal” Islanders game, being down 2-0 in the first five minutes is always a possibility, so maybe the weather was a blessing in disguise.

Here are some pictures, taken before my fingers filled with Slurpee blood and went limp. The venue and view are pretty spectacular as long as your eyes haven’t frozen over.

Keith: Possibly the most amazing part of this game was that it led Isles and Rangers fans to be (mostly) civil to each other for much of the night.  Generally, there are fights and loud yelling and the like. Maybe it was just too cold for aggression, but it seemed like the two fanbases were actually talking to each other.

Dan: After the first period, fans were “treated” to a performance by rotund falsetto/Sunglasses Hut investor CeeLo Green, who in turn was “treated” to very loud booing by everyone.

Keith: The unification in booing CeeLo was an added bonus. He slagged the Islanders a bit, then he stunk the joint out. You usually only see performances this bad in MST3K re-runs.  So he was booed mercilessly.  (Which is really the best kind of booing IMO.)

Dan: I had no idea why that many people would hate a pretty harmless pop jester like CeeLo that much. But after seeing him cater only to Rangers fans, lip-synch (I think) his own songs, butcher Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” like he was at a boozy bachelorette party and wear a coat that probably required the slaughter of many endangered species, I now understand.

Keith: CeeLo disagreed vigorously. But at least he left.

Photo: CeeLo Green with the only people that didn’t boo him at Yankee Stadium:

Dan: From the second period on, the game was mostly a blur. Brock Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead, prompting a scattered cheer from the Islanders fans in the crowd and a deafening, “Who the hell is Brock Nelson?” from everyone watching at home. (Fun fact: Brock Nelson is pretty good). The Rangers tied the game about a minute later, reminding everyone that they were, indeed, watching an Islanders game.

After the period, we found a warm spot near near a water pipe and huddled around it like Depression-era hobos. The second intermission entertainment was a Beatles cover band who wanted “everyone to get up and twist.” Anyone still able to twist must have had a BAC of over 0.8 or was willing to risk breaking a hip. No thanks.

Back up for the third and we had a Moulson Index™ Flash Flood Alert. Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who played pretty well, had been challenging shooters extremely aggressively all night and practically slid into the Harlem River to block a Dominic Moore shot. Former King Dan Carcillo scored into an empty net what would be the game-winner for the Rangers, the first ever NHL goal scored outdoors by a gorilla.

Keith: The game was a little choppy, and as I probably mentioned pretty cold. So it was tough to pay good attention to it.  The Isles lost, but they do that all the time, so no biggie.

Dan: After the final buzzer, both teams shook hands, or so I saw on Youtube because we got the hell out of there at that same time. The walk back down the 47 miles of ramps was incident free aside from this familiar message:

Somehow, this guy wasn’t run over by a Can-Am Spyder motorcycle.

This guy whistled the accompanying song at least a dozen times on his way back to the subway. I gotta him credit. For him, “Potvin Sucks” isn’t just a powerless, antiquated and nonsensical gloat. It’s a philosophy, a way of life. He said to someone, “I want to spend my hard-earned money on a brand new jersey that disparages a Hall of Fame player for a single 30-year-old event that even the victim is cool with. And even though it’s only applicable to one team – and one that often damages itself more than any other team ever has – I’m making this empty chant the central focus of how I choose to spend my spare time.” Kudos to you, sir. You went all in and you showed ’em.

Keith: The game was was an experience I’ll not soon forget as our blogger brethren got together to see our team participate in a first time event.

We would like to thank the good folks at Can-Am Spyder for the opportunity to be a part of such a historic event despite the fact that our path’s never crossed.  But we did what we could with some modeling work to help sell the Can-Am Spyder/NHL brand.

(Chris, Keith and Mark from Lighthouse Hockey)

Dan: Unfortunately, I gotta call the Islanders Stadium Series a disappointment. The weather was much too harsh to allow you to take in the full scope of it. The Islanders’ playoff hopes, already on life support, were denied two crucial points. Coming two days after the first Yankee Stadium NHL game and a few days before the Super Bowl meant that no living person outside of ticket holders and die-hard NHL fans even knew the game was going on.

But the biggest letdown was coach Jack Capuano NOT EVEN WEARING A COOL OLD-TIMEY HAT BEHIND THE BENCH. C’mon Cappy.

Where’s the Battle Level?

At least Nabokov came ready:

Seeing an NHL game under a baseball stadium’s lights with 50,000 people is definitely an unforgettable moment. That being said, even though a lot of people complained about the Kings-Ducks game at Dodger Stadium, trust me when I tell you that the NHL needs to play more outdoor games on warm, comfortable California evenings.

Thanks to The Royal Half and PumperNicholl for giving us a chance to see the game and warn people that no matter how prepared you think you are for an outdoor NHL game in the northern part of the country, you are not.

Keith: PS: Thanks for Moulson and Hickey guys!

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.