Sad state of affairs

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I’m already on record saying I like this arena a lot, and I’ll even go so far to say the surrounding area around the Prudential Center isn’t nearly as bad as people have made it out to be.

With that in mind, you can’t be encouraged by what you’re seeing tonight: patches of empty seats and even empty sections on a night when Martin Brodeur has a chance to win his 500th game, when Scott Gomez is returning to face his former team, and of course, when two fierce rivals like the Rangers and Devils are playing an important division game in a beautiful new building.

I’d love to see hockey succeed in Newark. But if you can’t sell out on a night like tonight, you’ve got problems.

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43 Comments

  1. Yeah, I’ve been living here since September, there are a good handful of mildly respectable places.

    -The more I am seeing of Staal, the more I am beginning to truly appreciate what a great and intelligent player he is.

  2. Sam,
    I agree 100% and I do tend to mock it occasionally. It would be so good for hockey in general if they could get some more fans in the building. How are ticket prices? Maybe they have to lower prices. Just get people in the door!
    I’ll go if I get free tix and the rangers aren’t playing that night.

  3. And there would be more emptyness if not for the droves of Rangers fans.

    Looks like another uncalled elbow to Prucha’s head by Vishnevski this time.

  4. we win again.
    solid effort.
    Jagr played maybe his best hockey this year.
    the knicks suck so we better win it all.
    marc stall is the man
    duni is the man
    YOUTH IS GREAT!!!

  5. I have said this from day one. I live in NJ and the Devils have never understood who their fans are or that they compete with NYC for the entertainment dollar. Building an arena in Newark and expecting their fans to take mass transit was just plain dumb. Devils fans are middle class dads with their families. They aren’t going to Newark and they aren’t taking mass transit. If they had built the arena in Parsippany or Bridgewater where several major NJ highways converge, they would have enticed their fans to come. In fact, Bridgewater would have opened up the middle of the state to them. Those people really don’t have a team to go to. The arena in Newark is a political move that will NEVER work. Devils will be out of the state in 5-8 years.

  6. Yeah, Staal looks real good. Not sure why Malik ever need play again in a Blueshirt. Trade him for picks or pucks.

    Winning is so much better than losing. I don’t think that can be said enough.

    As for Newark, I’ve heard that there are actually some really great Portuguese restaurants and bars in the Ironbound.

  7. the nhl spin machine keeps on rolling…this gem was taken from the AP article on nhl.com

    “It was the Devils’ second sellout in six games at their new home arena, both losses.”

    If it was really a sellout, it looks like these fans wisely stayed home.

    btw…the chants for Henry was icing on the cake…great night

  8. Chris F – there are excellent Portugese restaurants in Newark and not far from the Rock. Head south on Rt 21 and turn left under the railroad tracks and they are all over there. But those aren’t going to draw hockey fans and families in cars to Newark.

    No one wants to leave the arena at 9:30 and sit at traffic lights before you can get to a highway. If they had built it where there was direct access to the NJ Turnpike, that would have helped. Or take a train from Newark through East Orange at night to get to the outer suburbs? No thanks.

  9. maybe the location does not matter but the Devils just do not have the tradition and have very small fan base period…

  10. It was a big mistake building an arena in Newark & it was predictable that no one would go there. Most of the Devil’s fan base is in Bergen couny, Passaic county, Morris County & northern parts of Essex county. Nobody is going to take mass transit to a hockey game in Newark. If the Devils were so interested in urban renewal, they should have built the arena in Paterson. That’s right in the middle of the Devils’s fan base & would have neen acceptable.

  11. The cost of tickets prohibits any person with a casual interest in hockey from attending a game in Newark. The only people who attend are avid fans and corporate types, Not a good mix.

  12. Just got home from The Rock via mass transit (I commute to Hoboken every day, so popping out and back via Newark Penn was a snap for me).

    It was an easy and safe walk from Newark Penn, the arena has nice wide concourses and everything was very shiny. Had dinner at the restaurant and it was decent, though our waitress sucked. For the $70 it cost each of us (for the buffet! – though there were a fair amount of drinks had and we tried our best to clean them out of Beef Wellington) I’m not going to bother for the 1 Feb or 19 Mar games I also have tix for. Either I’ll hit a local bar or deal with the crowds at the internal bars.

    The worst was the seats. For $100 (Sec 128) they were MUCH higher up than I expected and were VERY narrow. 2 of the 3 guys that I went with have let themselves go a bit in their late 30s, married with children, etc., and it was a tight squeeze. They’re not “fat” and they had a problem. Hell, it was snug for a fairly smal guy like me (though I fit into the above category too).

    Fortunately the game made up for it. Great crowd, I’d call it 60/40 for the Devils, but they got quiet by early in the second. Saw about 3 fights break out after the 4th goal and there was an awesome HEN-RIK chant after he stopped the breakaway. (Curious if that made the air.)

    All in all, looking forward to 1 Feb.

  13. A little bit of the HEN-RIK came across on TV.

    I was reading the earlier posts just now – good prediction Rob!!! Too bad you couldn’t tell us the goal scorers. ;)

  14. Lots of Blue there today in the stands. We paid $60 for our seats on StubHub.com … real tickets were 10 bucks. Could be because it was limited view (Row 1 of a 200s section had a railing in the way and I had to bend half the game or lean forward).

    The fans in the high sections were rowdy and crazy. We moved down in the 3rd period and it was much more sedate. But they have good psychos up top, no one down below.

    Devils fans were chanting “1994!” which apparently is how many seats they sell on a normal basis.

  15. Great game,
    The team is really starting to dictate the flow and tempo of the game. Staals goal was pretty as was Dawes.
    Dubinski is just starting to look Awesome. Starting to wonder whats gonna happen once Callahan and Straka come back? Cause this team is starting to dominate and I’m not sure I want many or any changes at this point.
    LGR

  16. “Jagr and the Kids” LIVE from The ROCK!

    Jagr completely dominated tonight. So did Staal.

    I also like how Dubinsky plays. He can hold on to the puck under extreme duress and always makes a play. He rarely makes mistakes.

    How about those kids.

    Jagr got the first star? Somewhere Robby Bonfire is having a fit and calling Mel Gibson about a conspiracy theory against Dawes.

  17. Spraystop:

    Thanks. I actually live in Los Angeles, though I’m from NYC. It’s rare for me to get home. and i\ve meant to check out those restaurants for a while. Next time, maybe I’ll try and come when the Rangers are playing at The Crude and grab a bite…

  18. I’m hearing that the ticket prices, just as they are at the Nassau Coliseum, are the biggest problem with filling these arenas. There isn’t a good ticket to be had for less than $50 in Nassau and I expect it’s probably even more expensive at the Rock. I know these teams are trying to make ends meet but charging these prices in this economy will never work.

  19. Doodie Machetto on

    “I’ve heard that there are actually some really great Portuguese restaurants and bars in the Ironbound.”

    Yeah, Newark has a very large Portuguese population.

    As for the empty seats in Newark, it’s the ticket prices (in addition to lack of fan interest). They have some upper level seats(not many) that are comparable to the 400s, but then their next level of seating is out of control expensive. Those fringe fans that may want to go to a game or two will be dissuaded by the high ticket prices.

  20. I couldn’t be happier to see the failure of this arena before my eyes. It’s not the devils that I can’t stand – it’s their fans. And not selling out a game when your goaltender could have become only the 2nd player in NHL HISTORY to record such a # is the icing on the cake. They don’t care. They don’t know. 3 cities for this franchise and it still doesn’t work.

    SPRAYSTOP – nice assessment of the location. I drive through BW everyday – but the traffic is so bad already in central jerz that it’d just be a bigger mess.

  21. I lived in Newark for four years. It wasn’t the best experience of my life, but I will admit the city is slowly getting better.. just stick to the business part of town, and you’re fine.

  22. Funny, after the Gionta breakaway Sam (Rosen) said that the crowd was chanting for Gionta when clearly it was for The King.

    I will never visit The Rock. The Devils can rot for all I care.

  23. Funny thing about Jersey (actually not funny) but I remeber going to play-off hockey on a whim whe I lived in NY.

    I heard tix were still avail. for the game that night… game 7 Devils vs. Sabres… Brodeur vs. Hasek!!! So i went home grabbed a friend and we headed down… bought tix and saw a great goaltender duel. I think there had been 2 or 3 shutouts in that series already.

    Sad that a team like that couldn’t sell out then and is having an even harder time now.

  24. Couldn’t agree more. As a Ranger fan, I want to see hockey succeed in Newark, and create more strong local rivalries. But as someone else pointed out, the Byrne never sold out entirely either.

    That being said, with all the empty seats there, I can’t wait to be in the stands the next time the Rangers are in Newark. Easy trip there for me on the trains. Ranger fans are going to turn that place into MSG West. I love that!

  25. Empty seats at The Rock and million of people in Canada praying for their own NHL team, definitely a sad state of affairs. The saddest part is that in a few years when they decide to expand the NHL cities like Vegas and KC will get teams and Winnipeg, Hamilton and Quebec will be left wanting.

  26. It’s going to take several years before the Devils and their fans get comfortable in their new arena. As a big fan of the Denver Broncos in football, I have seen the same situation when they moved from the old Mile High Stadium to the new one. A stadium or arena needs some time to build up an atmosphere and history to get “cozy” for fans and players alike.

    Of course, nobody knows if the Devils will be in NJ in a few years. Their fans ought to be ashamed of themselves for not being more numerous and louder than they were last night. How could there have been so many patches of unoccupied seats for such a game? Do the Devils fans know that after so many years of dominance, their team has begun the inevitable downhill slide (like the Rangers in 1998)?

  27. The prices at the new arena are ridiculous. They advertise tickets under $35, but you can’t get them and there are very little. The only tickets that have been available to any game are $95 each. There is no way I am going to pay $200 to take my son to a game, when we can watch it in HD.

  28. prices are absurd. the best seats are a fortune and the luxury boxes and bars are offlimits unless you are a season ticket holder. I will never forget opening night against thebest team in the league – Ottawa – we were standing outside and a guy was walking around outside giving away tickets – he gave us four which we gave to the guy at the pretzel stand and made his night. 21 of the maybe 60 luxury boxes were empty even though they said they were “sold” ….please….opening night and nobody sitting there? come on….

  29. I use a wheelchair and am thereby severely limited where I can sit. The “cheapest” tickets available were $200 each. There is no way I can afford to spend $500 or more to go to a game with my son (I am adding in parking, tolls, and maybe a hot dog). The prices are offensive.

  30. Yep really sad. I was just on ticketmaster and I can pull up 2nd row off the boards for a lot of the games. If I were only a devils fan………no thanks.

  31. went to the arena last night. Not goin to lie im a season ticket holder for the rangers and im def jealous of the club seat in newark. unlimited decent food and no wait at the bar. anyway devil fans are still pathetic only can sell out games to other fans. Inside the arena is great the outside is horrible wlaked around three times before i found the entrance for club seats. as for Devil fans there still the same toothless wonders.

  32. so do you guys think there’s any chance of the Devils moving into Brooklyn with the Nets? hah

    I tried getting tickets to last nights game, but it was sold out, and all the tickets posted online were ridiculously overpriced. And then when I watch the game, I see so many empty seats, which just annoyed me.

    I think something is going on with them holding back seats (afraid Ranger fans might take over? I doubt that though, since they still want the arena to look full)

  33. Watching the game on MSG-HD was good enough for me, especially with the “Henrik, Henrik, Henrik” chant in the background coming from Ranger fans.

    Great to see some of the youngster’s breaking through, showing that development in the minors, and veteran experience are finally rubbing off.

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