Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Solid Weekend!

Another road trip was in store this past weekend. This time it was the annual "Boys Hockey Weekend." The destination this year was Pittsburgh to see the Penguins (Crosby, Staal and Malkin) take on the Washington Capitals (Ovechkin and Semin). We left early Saturday morning and hit the road full of excitement. (We= me, Tim Maassarany, Mark, Greg and Jordan). We crossed at Buffalo and headed down I90 towards Erie, PA. We stopped at Bob Evans for lunch and enjoyed the all-day breakfast. (Tim had never been before.) After filling our stomachs we resumed the drive to the Steel City. With the guys in the back watching DVD's, we drove through the mini snowsquall and made it to our hotel. Now that we were in Pittsburgh, it was time to experience the city. We decided to check out the Carnegie Science Center, specifically the sports pavillion. It was pretty sweet, they had this station that measured the speed of your karate chop, your reaction time, your 100-metre dash time, your hockey skills and balance (25 feet up on a steel beam).
Tim Maassarany and his super-fast karate chop.

Mark balancing on the steel beam

After the fun at the sports pavalion we went back to the main building and enjoyed the imax experience. It was a movie on a dome screen so it's like you're actually there. The movie was called "Hurricane On The Bayou" it was about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, and how the erosion of the wetlands made the hurricane hit the city harder than it would have 50 years ago. I was actually a little disappointed, I expected it to be about the hurricane, but it was more about saving the wetlands of south Louisianna. Don't get me wrong, it was still pretty cool.

After the movie we were pretty hungry so we made our way over to PNC Park (where the Pirates play) and a restaurant called Atrias. This place looked so fancy inside, nice burgundy curtains, fancy brass fixtures and dark wood tables, but the dress code was non-existent. (Most people were wearing jeans and polos) The food was really good.

Tim Maassarany enjoying his burger

Sunday we got to sleep in after an exhausting night of learning at the Science Center, and then made our way to Mellon Arena (aka: the Igloo) for the hockey game. We arrived 2 hours before game time expecting to be able to go in and walk around, check out the team store and enjoy everything a Penguins game had to offer. What we didn't know was that they don't open the doors until 1 hour before the game. So for the hour we waited outside the arena we played 20 questions, and I took a survey of people and what they thought of Mark's (no so cool) ear cups. Once they let us in we headed for our seats and stumbled upon this guy doing free caricatures. Needless to say free is a good price so we stopped and had ours done. We then headed up to our seats. In the nosebleeds, but still with a very good view of the ice.

Mellon Arena (aka: The Igloo). ***Useless Trivia: It was originally a concert hall, and has a retractable roof***

Mark (with his ear cups) and Tim getting their caricature done.

Tim & Jordan excitedly watching warmups.

It was another sellout in Pittsburgh, a packed house to see their playoff bound team. It was actually a pretty decent game, good scoring chances at both ends, Sid and Alex playing well, the fans getting excited with every hit. We even got to see a penalty shot (he hit the crossbar). Final score: 3-2 for the Penguins. Tim and I were both hoping for a tie because we wanted to see a shootout, but no such luck. After the game Tim chased down Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, so we could take the cliche group photo. Once we left the game it was time to hit the road and head home. We stopped for dinner at the Cracker Barrel, where Tim & Mark paired up in an attempt to beat Greg in a game of checkers... No such luck (Greg is a genius). I can't really tell you what happened after dinner because I fell asleep in the car and Greg drove us back to Canada.

The group shot with Iceburgh (The Penguins Mascot)

A fierce game of checkers.

Overall, another solid weekend. Now the planning for next year's trip begins!