The title says it all.
Just to bring people up to speed, I headed out to the East coast on Saturday to visit some family and catch at least a few of the Kings’ games as they headed through the Philly/Washington area.
Monday night at Wells Fargo Center the Kings took on the Philadelphia Flyers, and what a game it was.
This blog wasn't just about the game though, I planned on it being a more all-inclusive blog about the area, the fans, and the game. So here are just a few impressions I had about the aforementioned things.
Personally, after having gone into the den of the lion, Flyers fans are misunderstood.
They are passionate, extremely passionate, if anything. I know that the fanbase has a bit of a bad reputation, but I wasn’t treated poorly, laughed at, insulted, or even looked at in any form of disgust. And yes, I was wearing a King jersey and beanie and celebrating every goal and good play. In most instances if you are respectful in an opposing building then the fans will reciprocate it. I can’t say that the fans were anything other than just solid hockey fans.
I was squeezed between two very different types of fan in the lower bowl of Wells Fargo Center. On my left was an entertaining duo, who were so self-deprecatingly humorous about their team I couldn’t help but laugh. On the other side was a Flyer’s season ticket holder who lived and died with every moment of the game. He was a friendly fellow, but every mistake by the Flyers he groaned at, and every good play they made he praised. In a whole I feel like that perfectly encompasses what I experienced. They are a unique fanbase that is EXTREMELY hard on their team.
Every bad pass, every poor powerplay, and every aimless shot or clearance was lambasted by the crowd. A rain of boos and groans accompanied said plays. However, they were equally as enthusiastic when the play was good. Every breakout up the ice was accompanied by the fans standing up in anticipation, every powerplay opportunity felt like a potential overtime winner.
Quite simply, it was a fantastic atmosphere due to just how passionate these folks are.
Don’t at all be deterred from checking a game out at Wells Fargo center due to horror stories about the Philly faithful. They are a passionate fan base, and if you show respect for the game and the their team while there it’s a great place to catch a game.
The arena is average in its appearance and somewhat unassuming. The team store is a little cramped, but there are numerous kiosks out on the concourse. The concourse is pretty easy to navigate, not too narrow, but certainly not as spacious or grandiose as Staples Center. I think as Kings fans we are a bit spoiled in the arena category of things. Staples is one of the nicest arenas in the world no doubt. There are some cool things here though, like what seemed to be a full service pub called P.J. Whelihans.
It looked like the bar existed and Wells Fargo Center was built around it actually. Pretty cool place to grab a beer and some food before the game. There were also a ridiculous amount of food selections at the arena. Specialty fries, cheese steaks, poutine, chicken places, bbq, and pieces of pizza the size of your head. No, I’m not kidding about that last one.
Prices seemed pretty standard for your arena food and beverage. Which is part of the reason why I ate outside the arena. Who could pass up a Philly cheese steak from a hole in the wall place in the industrial district?
I was extremely impressed with the sports complex the stadium is in. Every sports stadium in the area is right there. The parking lots of the Eagles stadium, the Phillies park, and the Flyers arena are all intertwined. Multiple entrances and exits are available to fans, and the major freeways are right off the parking lot. It makes for easy access and easy leaving aside from the inevitable traffic upon exit.
There are too many places to eat area almost. If you like Italian or sandwiches you need to go to Philly. It’s insane how many deli’s and family owned italian restaurants are in the area. We checked out Tony Luke’s right around the corner from the stadium and the food was absolutely fantastic. Honestly, the best sandwich I’ve ever had (Chicken Italian for those wondering).
And if you are a history buff like myself, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s former residence, Penn’s Landing, and the Declaration of Independence House are all about a 5-10 minute drive from the area of the stadium. Most of the attractions are free, including a tour of Independence Hall. Just be careful about parking around the area. Philly has an awful reputation for confusing parking signs and incredibly stingy cops and ticketers. Be it by a combination of stupidity on my own part and utterly ridiculous street signs…let’s just say we owe the city of Philly some money now.
What a game it was. Ebbs and flows, back and forth, great hockey really. It was a little rough from both teams at times, but it was also exciting stuff.
From the King viewpoint, I felt Alec Martinez, Jeff Carter, and Tanner Pearson had particularly strong games. Martinez continues to be a force since being reinserted to the lineup, and I was left with a memory last night of him laying out on two consecutive blocked shots on a big third period powerplay. He also notched another assist. That brings his point total to 16 on the season and nine points in his last 11 games. He is the primary reason the Kings have been scratching Matt Greene on a regular basis lately. On the opposite side of things, I called out Voynov mid-game for playing one of the worst games I have seen him play this year. Right after that he made a strong play at the blue line which led to Dwight King’s game-winning goal. That being said he still had a game where it looked like he fought the puck. All night.
And can we talk about that three-post shot by Lecavalier? I’ve never seen that in my life. Ever. What are the odds? That should be worth something simply for the unrealistic and astronomical odds of that happening like it did. Hockey gods smiled upon the Kings in the instance. Kings also got blown away in the face-off circle. It was incredibly noticeable. Giroux ate the face of just about every King centerman, and Couturier was strong as well. All in all, given the adversity they faced in the third period, the bad bounces, and the struggling power play, the Kings got away with two points against an EC opponent. Big win.
Now, as I look outside at the snowy winter weather currently dropping snow on the East coast, we look forward to the Washington Capitals. From my standpoint, hopefully it’s another great experience in an opposing building.
Thanks a bunch Philly fans, you get an A in my book.
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