I was back in Rochester for the four-day holiday and went to go see the Sabres play Carolina on Saturday Night in Buffalo. They played rather awful as they could not get anything going the first two periods and then just exploded with five goals in the third to win 5-1. Ryan Miller (USA! USA!) was awesome making some great saves to keep them in it and then probably made one of the saves of the year towards the end of the second. This led to a DOUBLE standing O by our crowd. It was great to get back to see the Sabres play as it had been almost four years since my last game there.
HSBC is still one of my favorite arena experiences in the league as it truly is a great place. A couple of the new features I saw included “The Aud” bar in one of the concourses. Really cool, nostalgic hang-out area to drink and relax during the intermissions. The scoreboard was new to me as well and I honestly did not like the design of it. I find the circular scores around the board unappealing. The video is spectacular and crystal-clear, but man has it become a distraction. It seems any dead-time during the game, they fill the board with fan shots and everybody in the arena is fixated with the scoreboard. Also the pricing structure is annoying with four levels of prices based on the day and game, plus the Sabres have added pre-paid parking along with prices for how close you are to the arena. Booo. I know everyone is going this route, but its still sad to see. Lastly, it was nice to see a few of the new banners in the building. The 2007 division/presidents trophy banners and a couple new retired numbers (Gare, LaFontaine).
HSBC Arena is at the top of my list, but we are tentatively planning a New Jersey Devils game December 12, so we will see how the relatively new Prudential Center stacks up.