POSTED ON Tuesday, 29.11.2011 / 10:30 PM

Some of us here at canadiens.com love The Mighty Ducks trilogy more than we probably should. Few days go by without at least one Flying V, Gordon Bombay or District 5 reference around the office, so when we walked into the Anaheim Ice Center for practice on Tuesday morning and saw the old purple and green banner hanging in the classic wood barn, we couldn’t help but think of those epic battles between Charlie Conway and the Hawks. The only thing missing was some dramatic morning fog rising off the ice…

This is the first trip to Anaheim for the canadiens.com staff, so we put out some feelers on Twitter to see where our fans in the Golden State suggested checking out. We got an overwhelming number of suggestions to check out ESPN Zone, so that’s where we headed. What we didn’t know was that ESPN Zone is located right in the heart of the Happiest Place on Earth. Is there a better way to spend a Tuesday night than by chowing down on churros with Mickey, Goofy and the gang? Let the memories begin, indeed!

We worked up an appetite during our stroll around Downtown Disney and headed to Tortilla Jo’s for some Southern Californian Tex-Mex. When we spotted official Expert Balloonologist, Travis, whipping up some impressive balloon tiaras, bicycles and mermaids for the kids around us, we started to wonder how hard it would be to get our own custom-made balloon souvenir. Less than a minute and a half later, we came away with a pretty sweet inflatable CH – just in time to enjoy the homemade guacamole. Ah, the magic of Disney!



Watch the making of the inflatable logo here.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 24.11.2011 / 7:24 PM

What visit to the City of Brotherly Love would be complete without a trip to the Rocky statue? The two-ton, 10-foot tall bronze statue of fictional boxer Rocky Balboa was originally installed atop the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (also known as the Rocky Steps) for the filming of Rocky III. It would later be removed when the debate arose over whether it really constituted “art” to have a giant bronze statue of a person who never really existed, created by an actor that wasn’t even really from Philadelphia associated with the city’s premier art museum. Years later, the statue would be returned, and now sits on a pedestal next to the base of the steps; a favorite picture op for fans of Stallone’s six-movie saga. In the 10 minute span we checked out the statue, almost a dozen pictures were snapped, with subjects doing everything from imitating the statue’s pose, to climbing it, to pretending to punch it in the abs before running up the famous steps.



Dating all the way back to 1920, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest of its kind in the United States. The route stretches 2.25 kilometers – although Americans would tell you 1.4 miles – and features giant floats, giant balloons, giant marching bands and giant pretzels should you happen to get hungry. Montrealers get the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to look forward to every year, but in Philly they pull out all the stops for Thanksgiving and people jam-pack the streets to get the best possible spot. If you’re planning on checking out the 2012 edition but are worried you might not get the best view, do what this family did and create your own makeshift scaffolding from two ladders and a couple of planks of wood. The picture below was taken by us around 11:00 a.m. The father perched on top of the ladder claimed he had been sitting there since eight.


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 23.11.2011 / 6:30 PM

Let’s talk turkey. While we Canadians may have already feasted on our traditional Thanksgiving bird back in October, our American neighbors are just getting to it now. The good news for all Hurricane-supporting members of Raleigh is that they never have to wait for the holiday season to roll around to chow on a massive turkey leg – they just have to make it out to a ‘Canes game. While the Bell Centre may boast its share of hot dogs and nachos, the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina has been serving up giant Flinstone-esque turkey legs for years. Roughly the size of a football, this hunk of meat checks in at 1,050 calories. Truly the carnivore’s sporting snack of choice.



Pre-game festivities at the RBC Center revolve around arguably some of the best tailgating in the NHL. While the party is supposed to officially kick off about three hours before the start of a match, it’s not a rare sight to see beers cracked and barbeques fired up long before then. No strange looks were tossed our way when we wandered up to the first tent we saw wearing suits instead of Hurricanes jerseys. Instead, the only question we were asked was in the true spirit of the American holiday season was, “You boys hungry?” Inside the arena the crowd was warmed up before the pre-game skate with the classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving playing on jumbotron for all the early arrivals to enjoy.



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POSTED ON Thursday, 17.11.2011 / 7:00 PM

Searching for the perfect gift for the diehard Petteri Nokelainen fan in your life? Look no further than the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island – the spot to pick up the ultimate Nokelainen gift package (after already securing his No.15 Habs jersey, of course). Drafted 16th overall by the Islanders in 2004, the Finnish pivot spent the first 15 games of his NHL career in Uniondale, NY before being traded to the Boston Bruins. When we spotted his limited-edition No.29 game-worn jersey for sale while walking through the concourse, we just couldn’t resist…


Full disclosure, the photo below wasn’t taken on November 17, 2011. It was actually snapped during our first visit to Long Island last season when we discovered the most delicious thing about the Nassau Coliseum: the official Islanders cupcakes. We searched high and low for these tasty blue and orange treats before puck drop on Thursday night but were told by a member of the concession team that they were no longer available in the arena. Consider this our official petition to bring them back – or at least put a tray of them in the media lounge!

We’ve heard of using cheerleaders and Ice Girls to help market the game, but this one is a first. We here at canadiens.com are all for equal opportunity employers, so hats off to the Isles for thinking outside the box by hiring what we can only assume is the first-ever skirt-clad Ice Dude. He seemed to be doing more posing than actual ice cleaning, but give him full points for style. You go, boy!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.11.2011 / 1:30 PM
Turning out show posters since 1879, Hatch Show Print is hands-down the oldest working poster print shop in the United States. The shop’s main area is a massive open room with 132 years worth of colorfully designed, vintage, handmade posters looking down from the walls at the thousands of visitors the business welcomes each year. The parts of the wall that aren’t covered in posters are lined to the ceiling with drawers and shelves housing the hundreds of letters and hand-carved images that are used to complete a poster’s design.

Every poster is then hand rolled through the press as many times as there are colors in the design. It’s said that putting up show posters that aren’t individually hand-made is bad luck for the artist – helping the tradition and turn-of-the-century style of Hatch Show Print stay alive and well. Their designs still mainly focus on country musicians with recent work having been done for Shania Twain and Trisha Yearwood, but they’ve also created posters for the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and The Beastie Boys as well as Nike and Jack Daniel’s. As the Hatch Brothers once said, “Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms.”

If you plan on visiting Nashville and happen know anyone whose spent some time in the famous Tennessee town – ask them to recommend you the best spot to grab a drink and get a taste of the city’s nightlife. Chances are they’ll send you to Tootsie’s. A Nashville staple dating all the way to 1960, Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge has seen some of the most famous country musicians on the planet pass through its doors in the 50-plus years since singer Tootsie Bess bought and renamed the already purple-painted establishment after her favorite flower.

Boasting a legendary list of early patrons the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Faron Young, Hank Cochran, Waylon Jennings and Patsy Cline, Tootsie’s is even reputed to have launched the career of Willie Nelson after one of his performances at the bar. Showing no signs of slowing down in the new millennium, the line to get into Tootsie’s for some live music had already stretched halfway down the block by 10:30 p.m. on Friday night. The place was still packed and the live music still pumping when we visited again at 10:30 a.m. the next morning.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 10.11.2011 / 10:50 AM
 We’ve all probably owned a bobblehead figurine of some kind or another at one point in our lives. There are a lot of them out there. Most professional athletes have one modeled in their likeness, and these days most big-name celebrities do too. Politicians… not so much. But that didn’t stop the Phoenix Coyotes from adding a little something extra to their “Armed Forces Appreciation Night” by offering the first 10,000 fans to arrive at Jobbing,com Arena a free Arizona senator and former presidential candidate, John McCain, bobblehead figurine. Look for McCain to be on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop as the Coyotes host the Habs at home. Maybe a political-figure bobblehead night at the Bell Centre will be next…Looking at the most recent polls, it's doubtful.

Considering how huge a football field is, it’s probably the last thing you’d expect to get up and move. But that’s just what the Arizona Cardinals’ field at the University of Phoenix Stadium does on a regular basis.



Made of real grass, the field needs its share of natural sunlight to thrive and so the architects designing the stadium mounted the whole field on rails, allowing it to glide right out of the building into a lot where it can get all the light it needs. Business Week classified the stadium as one of the 10 most impressive sports installations on the planet.

Another odd fact about the University of Phoenix Stadium is that it doesn’t even have an actual university to go along with its name. Being an online institution of learning, there are no sports teams to represent the school in it’s own stadium.
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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.11.2011 / 3:21 PM

There are very few organizations that can boast the tradition and championship pedigree of the Canadiens. Counting 24 Stanley Cups and three different dynasties over the course of a 102-year history, the Habs are one of the most storied franchises in professional sports. There is, however, one team in particular that can rival Montreal in the winning department with 27 World Series titles, so we headed over to The Cathedral – Yankee Stadium itself – to check out the House That Ruth Built.

Ah, New York. It’s hard not to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. What better way to take in the action than by standing right in the middle of it all? Enjoy our own canadiens.com version of Where’s Waldo by spotting the Canadiens fan proudly sporting his Gionta jersey amidst the chaos of the Big Apple.

Picture any holiday movie and few scenes are more enduring than smiling skaters hitting the ice at Rockefeller Center. We’re still a few weeks away from seeing the 74-foot Christmas tree lighting up the plaza, but despite the 3°C temperature, the ice still looked pretty perfect to us. The sight was almost enough to make us wish it was snowing. Almost…

It takes a lot of guts to strut into an arena sporting a visitor’s jersey. When that arena happens to be Madison Square Garden, it takes guts and a big group of friends to have your back. That explains why Cote-Saint-Luc-native-turned-New-Yorker Zack Nemes (back left, in 1915-16 jersey) called on some of his buddies from back home to make the eight hour trek to the Big Apple to catch the Habs-Rangers game in person. That’s a pretty good little crew you’ve got with you there, Zack – although we still wouldn’t suggest starting any “olé” chants as you make your way out…

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2011 / 3:21 PM
When the Habs hit the road to visit a Canadian city, it's never hard to spot a plethora of bleu-blanc-rouge jerseys in the crowd. Just a two-and-a-half hour jaunt from Montreal, Ottawa has always been an ideal road city for Canadiens fans looking to root for the visitors. Friday night will mark the team's first visit to the nation's capital this year as the Sens continue ringing in their 20th anniversary in style.

Six decades after seeing the Sens leave the league in 1934, Ottawa finally saw the NHL return to the city in 1992. The expansion Senators hit the ice at the Civic Centre for the very first time on October 8 that season, posting a rare 5-2 win in the inaugural game against none other than the Canadiens. There's no time like the present to settle the score...


Inaugurated in 1996, the Palladium-turned-Corel Centre-turned-Scotiabank Place ice has been proudly sporting the franchise's spiffy 20th Anniversary logo since the start of the season. In a few weeks, that logo will be replaced by another celebratory decal as the Senators get set to host the NHL All-Star Game this January.


Known for welcoming visitors to town with open arms, there's no road arena Habs fans would rather invade than Scotiabank Place when the Canadiens come to town. Located inside SBP, Bert's restaurant is the next-best spot to catch the game in the city. If the thought of braving the November chill isn't appealing, might we suggest Bert's Barbados? Sens owner Eugene Melnyk's sister establishment in the Caribbean broadcasts every Sens game live - we can think of worse things in life than watching hockey while sipping mai-tais by the beach!

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POSTED ON Thursday, 27.10.2011 / 3:57 PM
There’s perhaps no better rivalry in pro sports than the one between the Canadiens and the Bruins. We here at canadiens.com know it isn’t easy being a proud Habs fan living deep in enemy territory. We’ll stop at nothing to give our fans the best possible viewing experience, so we set out to find the best Habs-friendly spot to watch a game in Beantown. It turns out, there aren’t many. Instead, we headed out to some of the city’s most famous sports bars to test the waters for our fans here in Boston ahead of Thursday’s tilt.




First up, we headed to Jerry Remy’s across from Fenway to take in some of the pregame action on the dozens of TVs that make up the restaurant’s famous “Screen Monster”. With no bad seat in the house, it’s a sports fan’s dream. Unfortunately, no Habs fan sightings so we hit the road to continue our search.



After asking our Twitter followers for help finding a spot for Habs fans to watch the game, we got a few suggestions to try The Four’s and see what happened. Located across the street from TD Garden and with the Bruins “Believe” logo proudly displayed on the window, we had a feeling we weren’t going to be welcomed with open arms when we walked in…




Success! The Four’s didn’t earn Sports Illustrated’s “Best Sports Bar in North America” ranking by accident. A veritable museum filled with Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins memorabilia, The Four’s also had a Yvan Cournoyer No.12 jersey on display by the front entrance. After spotting legendary Bruins blue-liner – and St-Laurent, QC native – Raymond Bourque dining in a booth, before noticing Habs fans Simon and Gautier proudly sporting their Canadiens gear before heading to the game themselves, we knew we were in the right place. 

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POSTED ON Thursday, 20.10.2011 / 12:37 PM

If you happen to be a fan of massive explosions and buildings being levelled to the ground, you might find yourself a tad disappointed. There are no plans to blow up or implode the Pens old home, Mellon Arena. Instead, the historic building also known as the Igloo, will be deconstructed piece by piece, right down to the last girder. The sledgehammers began swinging to start the job on September 16, 2011.

 

In the NHL, just like in any other sport, it’s not uncommon to see a slew of inspirational phrases and mottos posted around arenas and stadiums. In Montreal, for instance, the words, “Working together, Winning together, Growing together,” hang above the door to the Habs Bell Centre dressing room. But just like players need inspiration, their support staff does too. That’s why every time the Zamboni drivers at the Consol Energy Center get set to head out onto the ice, they’re reminded of their own quest for excellence by a sign reading, “Flood like a champion today.”

 
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