More than just the Chicago Blackhawk roster changed over the summer. So too did their home. The 300-level of the United Center went through a rather significant facelift over the past few months. Here are the most noticeable changes you’ll see:
— Many of you, including those who watched Saturday evening’s game on television, noticed the giant lettering inside the rink, which refers to the “Madhouse.” On one side of the rink, giant, glowing red letters read, “Welcome to the Madhouse,” while lettering on the other side says, “Madhouse on Madison.” I went to an NHL game, and a high school gymnasium broke out. I’m not sure who’s responsible for the amateur-hour lettering, but it’s time to let him climb up to the rafters and remove it all himself. And, yes, I’m assuming it was a man’s idea; I don’t believe a woman is capable of that.
— Similar lettering – in color and style – appears throughout the 300-level concourse. Many of the concourse walls have been painted or covered in black, too, so the entire area has a very nightclub feel. Throw in hundreds of new, larger flat screen televisions – replacing those small monitors that sat to the side of concession stands – and it feels like I should be on ecstasy and asking older women to dance.
— All the concessions are new as well. It appears this is due to a new vendor, Levy. Nonetheless, each stand has a different look, new options and, of course, new prices. I’ll give you a hint as to which way the price change went…
— Perhaps the most publicized change is the new Madhouse on Madison bars. Two open air bars have been installed across the ice from each other. The bars give 300-level ticketholders the opportunity to have a drink while watching the game, as there are no barriers between the bar area and the ice.
— Many other large screens were added to the concourse area as well. At least two large collections of television screens, measuring perhaps 20 by 10 feet, will entertain those in the concourse area.
— Finally, and perhaps most important, concessions have been added behind sections 302 and 333. The concessions serve basic food and, of course, libations. This will greatly aid those who sit in those sections to purchase booze in a timely fashion – not sure if that’s a good thing.
Along with the concessions are flat screen televisions which serve to help standing room folks and others at the concession stands see the play. The televisions sit above (about) the 14th row and picked up the Comcast feed on Saturday, which meant the screens showed penalty replays – something the mid-ice jumbotron never does.
*On the Farm*
–The IceHogs went 2-1 through their weekend death march between Ontario and Ohio.
On Friday night, Corey Crawford made 38 saves but it went for naught as his team was unable to dent twine. Rockford dropped the game 3-0 to the Hamilton Bulldogs. The game was scoreless until the half-way point of the third period. Then five minutes later, the Bulldogs had all the insurance they would need scoring three times within that span.
Saturday night, the IceHogs rebounded with a 3-0 win over the Lake Erie Monsters. Nathan Davis scored almost seven minutes into the game on assists from Evan Brophey and Richard Petiot. Then, halfway through the third, Davis scored again, this time with assists from Akim Aliu and Brophey again. Mark Cullen added an empty netter to seal the win. Crawford made 16 saves in the shutout.
In a Sunday matinee, the IceHogs went back to Ontario; this time getting a 5-3 win over the Toronto Marlies. Akim Aliu started the scoring with his first goal of the year. Trailing 2-1 in the second, the IceHogs exploded for four goals coming from Daryl Boyle, Rob Klinkhammer, Bryan Ewing, and Jake Dowell. Pete McArthur added two assists and Dowell had an assist to go along with his goal. Back-up goalie Joe Fallon collected his first win of the year stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced.
–The Belleville Bulls had a rough weekend getting pounded by the Sarnia Sting on Friday, 9-4. Shawn Lalonde scored a power play goal in the beatdown. On Saturday night, the Saginaw Spirit beat them 8-3. Lalonde notched a power play goal in that game as well.
—Kyle Beach was held scoreless in the Spokane Chiefs Friday night 5-2 win over the Prince Albert Raiders. On Saturday, Beach opened the scoring in the Chiefs 4-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. In the second period, Seattle’s assistant captain Sena Acolatse picked a fight with Beach. As a result, Acolatse received an instigator penalty and a 10 minute misconduct to go along with the fighting major.
—Byron Froese had a goal and assist in the Everett Silvertips’ 5-3 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Sunday.
—Dylan Olsen made his NCAA debut on Friday night for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. He notched an assist on a power play goal and was a +1 in their 4-3 win over Lake Superior State. 2009 3rd Round Pick Dan DeLisle also made his debut for UMD. He was a -1 with three shots on goal. In Sunday night’s 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan, DeLisle and Olsen were held scoreless.
–2009 2nd Round Pick Brandon Pirri has played in three games for RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) with a goal and an assist.