3 October 2009

NHL Premiere 2009 in Stockholm – Day One

Detroit Red Wings 3 – 4 St. Louis Blues, 2 October 2009

I’m both incapable and too lazy to (a) do some sort of informative travelogue thing illustrating the delights of Stockholm, or (b) provide an insightful write-up of the game itself, so

The following is merely a fairly unfocused stream of observations and highlights from my attendance at Friday night’s game at Globen Arena in Stockholm, plus a fairly unfocused stream of amateur photographs. (Yes, I wasn’t sat that close. I will see if I can get closer to warmups for game two.)

  • It was probably a mistake to take my chances by waiting to eat once I was inside the Arena. A ropey burger, a huge vat of crisps (potato chips, for the hard of English-speaking out there) and a Coke is standard Arena fare. Not really worth 153kr though – I might rethink my strategy on Saturday…

  • The 100kr programme is nice enough, but I’m a few decades away from being able to understand most of it. Who could argue against it saying Roman Polák “är stark som en oxe” though?

  • Similarly, I’m not sure I followed much of the pre-game interview with Red Wings über-Euroscout Håkan Andersson, but he seemed like a decent bloke.

  • Interviews throughout the evening were conducted by a coach-turned-TV host (apparently) Niklas Wikegård, who couldn’t resist poking fun at the American announcer’s pronunciation of his name (Why-ker-guard rather than Vee-ker-gord).

  • There’s some sort of huge luxury box/restaurant area on my left in the Arena, with a curtain that can be pulled across to cover it. Not in use tonight, but sure to be used when New Jersey and Columbus play here next year.

  • Hearts in mouths for Blues fans as injury-on-skates Carlo Colaiacovo performs a slow-motion stumble into a team-mate and down to the ice during warmups. He turns out to be OK though.

  • Very pro-Wing crowd (a lot more Wings jerseys in evidence around the city before the game too). Lidström and Zetterberg win the popularity contest by a long way.

  • On the Wings’ first goal, referee Bill McCreary sets a perfect pick (maybe throwing in a slight hold too) on the ox-like Polák, allowing Kris Draper to burst to the net untouched.

  • The Wings’ second goal is a short-handed breakaway for Kirk Maltby, nicely finished. These kids Draper and Maltby have some good speed. They could stick in this league.

  • Ville Leino should score some goals this year if his wrist shot is that good.

  • Chris Mason keeps the Blues in the game in the first period then completely robs Johan Franzén in the third to preserve the lead.

  • Markus Näslund is among the celebrities shown in the crowd at one point – he strangely looks bored out of his mind, chewing gum. An expression no doubt honed while playing on the Rangers’ powerplay last year.

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