Note: We’ll take a look at the late game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings tomorrow morning or early that afternoon.
In the mean time, let’s take a gander at the three games that finished at a more reasonable time for non-West Coasters.
Buffalo 4, Atlanta 1
After a discouraging five-game losing streak, the Buffalo Sabres got off the hook in a big way with a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. After keeping the team in games but coming up short during most of the team’s 0-4-1 streak since a season opening victory, Ryan Miller had it easy in this one. The Vezina Trophy winner only faced 18 shots, setting aside 17 of them. You certainly cannot blame Miller’s counterpart, Chris Mason, as he stopped 38 out of 42 shots to claim the game’s third star.
Columbus 3, Anaheim 1
Well, the good news is that the Blue Jackets won this one while both Rick Nash and Steve Mason came to play. The bad news is that less than 10,000 people showed up to see it, making that the smallest crowd to attend a Blue Jackets home game. Read all about it here.
Chicago 2, Vancouver 1 (SO)
Even when Roberto Luongo plays well, he still cannot seem to thwart the thorn in his side known as the Chicago Blackhawks. He made some great stops on a 31-save night, but couldn’t stop a single shootout attempt as the Blackhawks handed Marty Turco his fourth consecutive win. During that winning streak, Turco stopped 136 out of 144 shots for a 94.4 save percentage. So, yeah, let’s forget about a goalie controversy in Chicago for a while.
The Canucks must be a little worried about their depth scoring, as their only goal came from one of the Sedin twins again (Daniel on the power-play in the third period).
A more reckless pun maker might even say they’re too “twindependent” but I’m far too sophisticated to make such a joke. Naturally.
In this increasingly fragmented and confusing world – not to mention a fledgling economy – getting a good deal is about more than feeling smart. Sometimes, it’s just a flat-out necessity.
Just the other day, I saw the Dallas Stars advertise their delightfully pun-based promotion “Ott-toberfest.” It’s a pretty cool deal, as fans who cash in on the opportunity can get two tickets in the snazzy Platinum section, two T-shirts celebrating the beloved pest and two drinks (I assume non-alcoholic) for $99.
(Full disclosure, though: after evil “convenience fees”, taxes and fairly ridiculous shipping charges, I passed on tickets that really ended up costing $120+ for better seats at about $80 thanks to ticket re-seller Stubhub.com. Ultimately, you have to search around on sites like Stubhub for good deals, but that’s often the best place to go.)
Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette tracked down some of the NHL’s most appealing package deals. If you’re in one of these markets, you might want to seize the opportunity to take your family or friends to a high-level hockey game at a reasonable price.
Tampa Bay: The Lightning is offering a Family Pack for all regular-season games. For $56, you get four tickets, four hotdogs and four sodas.
Islanders: On Long Island they have a Birthday Celebrations package in hopes of attracting young fans and their parents. For $199 you get eight tickets in the upper mezzanine, along with party invitations, a visit from Sparky the mascot and a customized birthday picture on the scoreboard.
A visit from Sparky the Mascot? I had to look this one up, but apparently the Islanders’ mascot is a dragon (as you can see from this article’s main image). I’m not really sure why, but dragons are pretty awesome, so I approve. It’s too bad he doesn’t have some kind of fabric-based flame coming out of his mascot mouth, but that’s just nitpicking.
The Ducks and Blues have their own “performance based incentives.”
Anaheim: The Ducks have a Victory Pack promotion in which you can purchase two tickets to four games starting at $172. For each one of those games the Ducks win, you get two free tickets to another game.
St. Louis: A new promotion dubbed “Every Game Counts” allowed Blues season-ticket holders to pay 50 per cent before the season and the other 50 per cent only if the team makes the playoffs. The Blues have made the playoffs only once in the last five seasons.
Interesting stuff. Here are a few other tips to find good deals.
- Ticket re-sellers such as Stubhub – Again, I know I already mentioned this, but the savings can be huge. A few years ago I was able to land tickets to a Ducks-Sharks playoff game for about $40 per seat. Sure, the game wasn’t even sold out, but that’s still a spiffy deal.
- “Student Rush” packages – It’s a bit of a risk since these deals often are only available about an hour before game time, but merely having a student ID can earn you big savings on tickets.
- Less popular games – You’re going to have to pay marquee prices for marquee players. If you want to see the Blackhawks, Penguins, Capitals or Red Wings, it’ll cost you. If you’re a real hockey fan, you should be able to find a deal with an “under the radar” team; maybe you’d prefer to see the Vancouver Canucks if you’re in a non-traditional market or a game involving a lesser known division rival. Any hockey game can be highly entertaining … just look at that goal Brent Burns scored for the normally yawn-inducing Minnesota Wild.
Anyway, those are some hints to find good deals on hockey tickets. Don’t forget minor league teams, either. You’d be surprised how fun a CHL, AHL, QMJHL or whateverHL league can be. Plus, you can get better seats for less money.
Feel free to share some of your favorite deals, tips and tricks in the comments.