I wanted to relate my experience with the Snow Storm Game to see if anyone else thought that the conditions about the arena were as deplorable as I thought they were.
As a point of reference I am a member of the 334 club (and have the tag to prove it) and have no regrets about trekking to Continental Airlines Arena that day. We had 5 guys in my SUV and it’s the only time I have ever seen cars abandoned in the middle of the Turnpike, but we made it in. Once we got to the Meadowlands Complex the conditions were not bad at all when compared to the weather, and we were able to park and walk into a well plowed and shoveled arena. I had no complaints about the conditions relative to what the maintenance staff could get done, and frankly it is one of my ALL TIME devils moments. The game, the experience of the journey with my friends, and the class with which the Devils handled the 334 of us that showed up made this a memorable experience.
Last night on the other hand was a polar opposite experience, and I do mean POLAR. I was cautioned several times to not take the train because they were going to suspend service, but I did anyway and have no regrets. Penn Station was well plowed and shoveled before the game and after, but clearly no one thought it important enough to take any action between the train station and the arena. With the exception of the area immediately around the arena, the sidewalks between the Rock and the station were treacherous, and had not seen a shovel or salt. I get it, it’s a blizzard, and we should expect that things may not be perfect, but not only were the sidewalks in bad shape, there was not one employee out there even making an attempt at it. Not one Shovel, Not one snow blower, not even one employee was in sight. I did see the city of Newark plows doing the streets, thank god, because you had to walk in the streets to make it to the station.
Now the Devils will say that the area between the facilities is not there problem, but isn’t it? Shouldn’t they make sure that their patrons can get into and out of the arena safely? If there were people out there making an effort I would not be complaining, but I did not see one person on either end of the trip, and feel the Devils failed miserably in this regard.
I also didn’t agree with them sending home most of the concession employees after the game started. For those that weren’t there, MOST of the concessions were open and working somewhat to capacity before the game, and then supervisors came around and started shutting them down and telling any employee that had to take Mass Transit that they could go home ( I heard it myself). They were there, we were there, and they couldn’t come up with a better plan? They left very few stands open, so if you wanted to miss the entire game you could in theory get something to eat. Again, I get it that it was a snow storm, and if they had never opened the concessions fine. The employees were there, the concessions were open, 4000 PAYING fans were in the house, it was just a poorly managed event, and that’s what I’ll remember.
So I’m interested to know if the loss amplified my criticism or if anyone else thought that the job done around the arena was less than a fighting effort. Maybe that’s the point, that the on ice effort has infected the entire organization.