As first detailed here, this is one in a series of articles where I visit an arena to take in an NHL game from around the league. See, I’m just like you. I’m the common fan. Sometimes I’ll be sitting on the glass, and other times I’ll be in the upper echelons of the barn I’m visiting, but any way you slice it I’ll be soaking in the sights of arenas around the league.
Earlier I made my first visit this season to the Verizon Center to take in a Caps game.
The first place I stopped before going into the game was Clyde’s. If you’ve never heard of Clyde’s directly, you know of it indirectly. There’s a famous song named after their appetizer menu. Maybe the most amazing thing about Clyde’s, however, was the picture above the bar of Hall of Famer Rod Langway over the bar:
Instead of an amazing action shot of “The Minister of Defense,” this picture instead goes for the epitome of how I think of Rod Langway. If you’re going to go to the trouble of commissioning a massive oil painting of a HOFer, don’t you want to get him in a better light than lazily stick checking someone while being barely involved in the play? Note how there are two other defenders who would’ve gotten the player if Langway hadn’t? Maybe the best part is how the puck is bouncing off to the right…Langway is immortalized at Clyde’s, in oil, getting a hooking penalty. Nice.
Security into the barn was tighter than most NHL arenas. Once inside, though, the building was nice and clean, and aside from the few choke points where people get to the upper bowls from the main concourse easy to navigate. We got to our awesome seats which were four rows off the ice. Who was sitting against the glass? None other than Wheel of Fortune’s own, Pat Sajak.
The gameplay was fierce, the main thing that stood out was just how fast Alex Ovechkin was in person and up close. Between periods I had a chance to walk around to check out some of the food stands and gear for sale. My visit to the VC’s gift shop was a highlight. They had some of the standard stuff, but check out this nifty Ovechkin bobblehead:
Let me zoom in on this one:
THEY MADE THE BOBBLEHEAD WITH A MISSING TOOTH! Hats off to the folks at Forever Collectables.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the fans. The fans were in it until the end and were really loud. Louder than most places. The decibel meter was shown throughout the game, but I don’t think that’s the reason that the fans were loud. I think they just love their Caps.
All in all a really nice building.
Top 5 things about the Verizon Center
1) The fans
2) The fact that the fans scream “RED” when the word is sung during the Star Spangled Banner
3) Counting Olaf Kolzig jerseys; there are more than you’d think
4) The Caps jerseys, in general. The oldest ones are classic, the flying eagle ones are terrible, and the new ones are among the league’s best
5) The “Regular Season Eastern Conference Champions” banners are hilarious
Final grade: B+
Want to debate a list? Follow me @bluelineboomer