Right Wing Conspiracy – 18 OCT 2013
Right Wing Conspiracy is a weekly column about hockey, with the odd hockey-related conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. The NHL Weekend Roadie is a periodic feature of RWC, appearing throughout the season as good road trip opportunities present themselves. Whether your goal is to visit all 30 NHL barns or simply catch a game or two while on vacation, the NHL Weekend Roadie has a trip for you.
Meeting the New Neighbors
Last week’s installment of the NHL Weekend Roadie featured back-to-back contests between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. This week, we go back to Columbus for a leisurely two game/three night/one arena roadie, with an optional bonus game for serious hockey fans. Head up to Ohio’s capital city in early November to watch the Blue Jackets meet their new (Metropolitan Division) neighbors:
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7: NY RANGERS @ COLUMBUS. Often, you’ll hear the American Civil War referred to as “pitting brother against brother.” The first meeting of the season between the Rangers and Blue Jackets will bring to mind that long-ago conflict, as Columbus has four ex-Rangers on their roster, while New York could dress up to five former Blue Jackets on this night. As if that wasn’t enough, this will be Rick Nash’s first game back in Columbus since he was traded to New York in July of 2012 (assuming he’s recovered from the concussion he sustained October 8 against San Jose). These clubs were trading partners repeatedly over the last couple of years. Now that they’re in the same division, expect that to stop…and a rather intense rivalry to develop.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8: BONUS GAME! There are no NHL contests within realistic driving distance of Columbus tonight, so take the day to enjoy all that the city has to offer: The Columbus Zoo is world-class, but if animals aren’t your thing (there’s something wrong with you, but whatever), a trip to COSI - the Center Of Science and Industry, a hands-on science museum for kids of all ages – is a must. Friday night, get your hockey fix with a college game as Ohio State hosts Niagara. Get a glimpse of the future of the NHL, as OSU boasts six NHL draftees on their roster – two each from Ottawa and Chicago, and one each from New Jersey and Carolina. Also, you know what’s great about college hockey? NO TRAPEZIOD! Plus, when the marching band takes the ice between periods, things go horribly wrong in a hurry (okay, I might’ve made up that last part).
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9: NY ISLANDERS @ COLUMBUS. This will be the Isles’ first visit to Columbus this season. The teams met on Long Island October 5, with the Jackets taking two points in a 3-2 shootout win. Expect John Tavares & Co. to go all-out in an attempt to even the series, as the race for a playoff seed in the Metropolitan Division will be intense; we’re talking razor-thin margins here. As Columbus learned last season, every point, every single game, counts.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10: GO HOME.
HOTELS – Hotwire currently has some great deals on rooms in Columbus for November 7-10: A three-star in the vicinity of OSU is just $56/night right now, while a four-star hotel in the downtown Columbus/Arena District/German Village area is a very reasonable $104/night.
FLIGHTS - Believe it or not, good deals on airfare are available even at this late date. A search on Airfarewatchdog.com turned up round-trip tickets from New York to Columbus for just $228.
FOOD – Columbus is full of good eats, from the Tip Top to Schmidt’s to the German Village Coffee Shop, and more. For monstrous burgers, walk into (and roll out of) the Thurman Cafe. For recommendations from the locals, check out Urbanspoon Columbus.
TICKETS – Plenty of great seats are still available through the Blue Jackets website, starting at $37.
GETTING AROUND – A rental car is highly recommended. The good news is, if you’re coming from a big city (New York, Dallas, etc.), you’ll find Columbus traffic to be a breeze. It’ll make you want to move to Columbus. Seriously.
There you have it: Two games in three nights between the Columbus Blue Jackets and their new division mates, the Rangers and Islanders. With an optional college game in the mix. Great food. A relaxing four-day NHL Weekend Roadie in Columbus – a truly great place to visit, and a great place to watch hockey.
Follow Matt Pryor on Twitter: @BigTex1926.