Manchester Monarchs 4
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
As hockey season at Sprint Center comes to a close.
Ok, so I admit that is a bit of a smart ass subhead, but what have you come to expect from me?
Let me first start with my rambling random thoughts from tonight’s game. I’ll try to come up with a coherent post after I’ve put some more thought into it.
Here is my experience at Sprint Center tonight.
-Parked on McGee street about three blocks from Sprint Center FOR FREE!!! This is the great thing about living in KC. Walking three blocks is an inconvenience to most Midwesterners. Most would rather pay $10 than walk three blocks.
-Took my three block walk and hung around the P&L before the game, had a couple of beers, some wings and waited for my hockey watching buddies to join me. This made it 100% better than all those years I went to Blades and NHL preseason games at Kemper Arena. I was able to choose from a variety of bars, have a beer and walk to the game. It was great.
-Had a scalper try to sell me a ticket to the game for $40. He said face value was $60. I laughed and in the end paid considerably less than face, if it really was $60.
-Sprint Center is great. It looks great from the outside. It looks great on the inside. The concourses are wide. The concessions stands are well-run. The bathrooms are clean. However, I don’t quite understand the fascination with the QuikTrip inside the arena.
One concession stand will have a manageable line, maybe two or three people in front of you, and at the same time the QT will be PACKED. WTH? QuikTrip is good, but it isn’t in the same league as WaWa. If I were a bazillionaire, I would not just bring an AHL team to KC, but I’d also open a WaWa and blow QT’s doors off.
-The crowd was underwhelming. The upper deck was curtained off. The lower deck wasn’t full.
-If we are to believe Tim Lieweke and/or Paul McGannon, which I don’t, and this was a showcase game for KC, then we didn’t show very well. In a Jim Baumbach Twitter post, Paul McGannon tries to spin tonight’s game by saying that part of the reason for low attendance was because Greinke was pitching tonight. That’s funny. I’d be willing to bet that the fact that the lowly Royals were playing the Red Sox, in the Sox only appearance in KC, had more to do with having fewer hockey fans than Greinke pitching. My guess would be that those native New Englanders who went to see their “Sawks” only appearance in KC are also hockey fans. But, silly me for thinking something so….logical.
The Royals had 21,228 at the game. If that number were 30,000+ I would say that affected hockey attendance. 21,228? No.
-This was strictly an AHL game. Seriously. I haven’t counted them up. I’ll spend some more time doing that later. However, of the 36 players that dressed for tonight’s game, I’m going to guess that 50% of them were AHLers.
Random thoughts on the game.
-Jonathan Quick played goalie all 60 minutes for the Kings. This guy is really, really good. I was impressed with him last year and I’m even more impressed this year. The Kings have a true #1 goaltender and Team USA has a future #1 keeper. Seriously, I think he could be Ryan Miller good someday.
-No Anze Kopitar for the second year in a row. If AEG is trying to promote Sprint Center, wouldn’t you think they would get their franchise’s best player to play in at least one of the two preseason games inKC?
-No Jack Johnson. He was hurt last year, so I get not seeing him then. But, I was severely disappointed he didn’t play this year.
-No Dustin Brown. Shit. I like watching him play in the late night NHL Center Ice game.
-Drew Doughty is still 19. He certainly doesn’t play like it. He’s a future All-Star.
-I’d put Trevor Lewis at center on an NHL team before I’d put any of those stiffs the Islanders tried to pass off as centreman.
-I like Wayne Simmonds. I liked him in last year’s game, too. He had a Gordie Howe hattrick. Two goals and a fight (a fight he won).
-The PA announcer called Teddy Purcell “Terry” when announcing the starting lineups. First, if AEG ever puts on another NHL game in KC they better hire Steve Bell (Garrett) to be the PA announcer. I’m sorry, hockey in KC isn’t hockey in KC without Steve Bell saying “Are you ready for hockey tonight?”. Second, Teddy Purcell impressed me, too. I really like him. His versatility was especially interesting considering he scored while playing the point on the powerplay.
-The Islanders played one guy that impressed me. Josh Bailey. That’s all. The rest of those guys were journeymen.
-The KC hockey crowd gets it. They cheer at the right time. They were engaged in the game as much as they could be considering the team the Islanders had on the ice, well, sucked. If tonight’s game featured a “hometown” team like the Blues or the Blackhawks or the Wild or maybe even the Stars or Avalanche, the crowd would have been bigger and a bit more engaged.
The funniest thing that I read was that the Islanders were playing in front of 10,000, which should have made them feel right at home. Well, not these guys. They played in front of about as big a crowd as they are going to see in Bridgeport.
Finally, I love Sprint Center. I loved hanging out downtown before and after the game and seeing hockey live.
However, I can’t “keep the faith” as noted in a comment to another post.
I can’t keep something that I don’t have. I simply do not believe that a NHL team will ever come to KC. As Jim Baumbach noted on a Twitter post, KC responded tonight with a giant collective yawn.
This town may “deserve the best”, but the best we can expect to have in this town is the American Hockey League. I don’t see any reason why we can’t have an AHL team playing in Sprint Center while we wait for this quixotic pipedream of a NHL team to come true.
We saw an AHL game tonight. You think the hockey fans in KC are complaining?