My First NHL Playoff Experience

As I noted a couple days ago I got some tickets to the St. Louis Blues playoff home opener against the Vancouver Canucks.  I’d never been to a playoff hockey game, but I love live hockey and I love playoff hockey.  It’s a match made it heaven, right?  Unfortunately, there was trouble in paradise.

I’ll start with the good:

Okay, now onto the bad:
This isn’t bad necessarily, but it was weird, so I can put it in here.  As I walked out to my car to go pick out my girlfriend I noticed that my right front tire seemed a little low.  I picked up Jen and headed to a gas station where I began to fill up my tires.  As I had the air gun going a guy parks his car, gets out, and started rattling off something about colognes and perfumes and who knows what else.  He asks what kind of cologne I usually wear.  I tell him that I don’t really know, but I’m kind of in a hurry.  (Keep in mind that I’m trying to fill my tires while we’re talking.)  He sticks some cologne under my nose and asks how it smells.  I tell him it’s nice, but I’m not really looking for some cologne at a gas station.

He tries some more cologne.

It also smells nice.

He says something about “wholesale” and “bargain prices.”  I tell him again that I’m not in the market for cologne.

Because I’m talking with this guy I’m not able to fill up my back right tire before my 75 cents expires.  Is this foreshadowing of some kind?  Oh yes, I think so.

Anyway, we get on the road and our ETA is about an hour before faceoff.  It’s not raining very hard, but it’s hard enough to make the pavement extremely slick, so we passed several accidents on the way.  It really wasn’t a very fun drive.

When we are about 25 miles from downtown St. Louis, my car starts shaking violently.  This makes me nervous.  Then the check engine light comes on.  This also makes me nervous.  The car starts pulling to the left.  More nerves.  I’m in the process of passing a semi, so I can’t pull over immediately and the shaking gets worse.  I slow down and manage to get off the interstate.  Luckily this all happens next to an exit, so we’re are able to roll into a gas station.  I get out of the car and sure enough, my left, front tire is completely blown.

I’m not real sure what to do at this point, because I don’t think it’s safe to drive on those crappy spare tires on the interstate and we have a two hour return trip after the game.  I ask the gas station attendant where the nearest tire place is and he says they’re all closed on Sunday.  Awesome.  Then he thinks better of it and gives me directions to a Wal-Mart that’s probably 10 minutes away.  He’s not a whole lot of help.

Luckily, I have a Garmin and it tells me where about six closer Wal-Marts are.  We head down the outer road at a snail’s pace and limp into the Wal-Mart tire center.

$89.93 later, we’re back on the road.  Unfortunately, this ordeal has set us back by an hour and a half.  We miss the opening 15 minutes of the first period, including the first Blues goal.

The rest, as they say, is history.  The Blues gave up soft goals and couldn’t solve Roberto Luongo.  It was painful to watch.  In fact, I don’t really feel like talking about it much.

We did have a guy behind us who yelled either “HIT ‘EM!” or “LUCKY SAVE!” during or after every play.  He was very similar to the “IN THE FACE” Guy at the Big 12 Championship except he was much less amusing.

I guess I can’t say it was all bad, though.  We were sitting in the free food seats at the Scottrade Center, so I had probably $40 worth of food while I was there.   It made me feel better about my tire, at least.

Overall the experience was memorable, if nothing else.  I can now say I’ve seen playoff hockey.  I would put it up there as one of the most intense sporting events I’ve ever seen, so if you ever get the chance, I’d take the opportunity.

3 Responses

  1. That’s because you didn’t see the Schleuderball National Championship!

    But seriously, I’m glad you made it there and back safely and I’m sorry about your Blues losing… the silver lining? The NFL Draft is in five days!

  2. [...] The first one was a normal Royals-Blue Jays game and they’ve continued all the way up to the flat tire at the Blues playoff game, with many in between.  We’ll get to some of the better ones in a [...]

  3. [...] took the two hour jaunt down I-70 to St. Louis only to find that I had…you guessed it…another flat tire.  Luckily, this one wasn’t completely flat and I was able to make it all the way there [...]

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