Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How to Be a Devils Fan In Ottawa -- 2018-19 Edition

This post sets a new personal record: 73 posts in a single month.

This Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils travel up to Ottawa to play the reborn version of the Senators. These teams played each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1998 (we lost in the 1st round), 2003 (we beat them at their place in Game 7 of the Conference Finals) and 2007 (a pathetic performance, losing in the Conference Semifinals). The Senators also beat us in the 1st game at the Prudential Center, on October 27, 2007.

Needless to say, while they're not exactly a geographic rival or a perennial Playoff opponent, we don't like them.

Hardly anyone does. While Canadian fans were glad to see another Canadian team enter the NHL for the 1992-93 season, they share a common trait with several countries: Wanting to stick it to their national government, and that includes wanting the teams in the capital city to lose. So if we can beat the Sens, Canadians from Newfoundland to British Columbia will like it.

And, of course, if you can add Ottawa to the list of NHL cities you've been to and seen the Devils win at, you will like it very much.

Before You Go. Ottawa is in Canada -- indeed, it is the nation's capital, hence "Ottawa Senators," just as our federal capital once had the Washington Senators, and various State capitals had minor-league baseball teams named the Trenton Senators, the Albany Senators, etc. Canada may be a country very much like our own, but it is still a separate country.

So, on top of having to bring a valid passport and change your money, you should contact your bank, and let them know that you're going there. If they see credit card charges or ATM withdrawals listed as being in a country other than the U.S., they may get suspicious and think your card has been stolen, and cancel it. So let them know that (barring an actual loss or theft) any such transactions will be legit.

One big difference between being a Yankee Fan going to see your team play in Toronto and being a Devils fan going to see your team play anywhere in Canada is that it's a lot harder to get your money changed. Living in New York City, you can find currency exchanges all over. On the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, it's a lot harder.

If you're flying to Ottawa, you can get it done at Newark Airport. Otherwise, you may have to search for a place. Some malls have them, including Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, Menlo Park in Edison, and Bridgewater Commons in, well, Bridgewater.

I would advise leaving yourself with at least $50 in bills and $1.00 in change in American money, just in case you have difficulty finding a place to change your money back before you leave. And, while the differences in the countries' paper money will be clear, the differences in the coins will be harder. Make sure you keep your American coins and your Canadian coins separate.

As of Wednesday night, October 31 (6 days before the game), C$1.00 = US 76 cents, and US$1.00 = C$1.31. In other words, the exchange rate currently favors us. But since the exchanges need to make a profit, you might not get much of an advantage over the border.

Since Canada is part of the British Commonwealth, you'll also have to deal with the metric system. In other words, that speed limit you're seeing is 100 kilometers per hour (about 62 MPH). And don't be thrilled at the gasoline prices: That's per "litre," not per gallon. A liter is a little more than a quart, so 1 gallon = 3.785 liters. So that's not US 93 cents per gallon you're seeing as a gas price: That's C 93 cents per litre, or about US$2.73 per gallon. So, it's much worse up there, despite the fact that Canada is a big oil-producing nation. (Indeed, American imports more oil from Canada than from any other country. Why so much? Taxes. Gotta pay for that great national health service somehow.)

One thing you won't have to do is fiddle with your watch or your phone. Ottawa is in the Eastern Time Zone, and all times there will be the same that they would be here.

At 45' 17" north latitude, the Canadian Tire Centre is not the northernmost arena in the NHL (it's actually the southernmost of the 7 Canadian teams' arenas), but it's considerably north of most arenas you're likely to visit. However, this is early November, so it the Ottawa Citizen newspaper (a broadsheet, and far more responsible in journalism than the tabloid Ottawa Sun) is predicting daytime temperatures in the low 50s for Tuesday afternoon, and the high 40s for the evening. So bring a jacket, but not a winter coat.

The Ottawa River forms part of the border between English-speaking Ontario and French-speaking Quebec. That said, the Outaouais (pronounced the same as "Ottawa") region of western Quebec, including the cities of Gatineau and Hull, is among the most Anglophone parts of the Province. And most Quebecois, while they would prefer to converse in French, can do so in English. So while you'll see a lot of things in French, it's not necessary to speak or understand the language.

If you can speak French, and someone wants to speak French with you, go ahead. But trying to impress people with your ability to speak it won't work: If you're wearing Devils gear, they won't treat your ability as anything more than a courtesy; if you're not wearing Devils gear, their first inclination will be to think you're one of them -- unless they consider your accent to be strange.

Tickets. Canadians love their hockey. But the Senators averaged 15,829 fans last season, about 85 percent of capacity. This will make getting tickets easier than for any of the other NHL teams in Canada.

Note that these prices are in Canadian dollars, since they come from the club website. 100 level seats are $173 between the goals and $110 behind them, 200 level seats are $146 and $86, 300 level seats are $76 and $64. There's a 400 level behind each goal, where seats are $35. Granted, that's far from the ice, but it's one of the cheapest prices in the NHL, especially when you factor in the exchange rate.

Getting There. It's 442 miles from Times Square in New York to Parliament Hill in Ottawa (61 miles from the nearest border crossing, in Ogdensburg, New York), and 428 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the Canadian Tire Centre in the suburb of Kanata. (Yes, that's pronounced roughly like the name of the country.) It's in that weird range of "Too close to fly, too far to get there any other way."

Air Canada, voted North America's top airline 5 years in a row, is the cheapest way to fly there. Except it's not cheap: $858 round-trip from Newark Liberty to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. (Sir John A. Macdonald was the 1st Prime Minister. He and George-Etienne Cartier are considered, respectively, the fathers of English Canada and French Canada.) And they don't fly non-stop: You'd have to change planes in Toronto, or possibly in Montreal. If you want nonstop flights, you'll have to pay almost twice as much. Yow! (Which is also Ottawa's airport code: YOW. All Canadian airports' codes start with the letter Y.) So, what are your other options?

The train is not an option. Amtrak does not go directly there. You could get on the Adirondack out of New York's Penn Station at 8:15 Monday morning, and arrive at Montreal's Gare Centrale at 7:11 that night. But while VIA Rail Canada offers 6 trains a day from Montreal to Ottawa, it takes about 2 hours, and it's only C$44 each way, the last one each day leave Montreal at 6:50 PM, right before you'd arrive from New York. So unless you want to get a hotel in Montreal and start out the next morning, you can't get from New Jersey to Ottawa by rail.

So your best options are to take the bus or to drive. Greyhound does operate in Canada. However, again, you would have to change in Montreal. This time, however, it could be done. You could leave Port Authority in New York at 12:00 midnight on Monday, reach Montreal at 7:55 on Tuesday morning, switch to a bus to Ottawa at 9:00, and be in Ottawa by 11:30.

The return trip is a little trickier: Presuming the game ends before 10:00 on Tuesday night, the next bus back to Montreal will be at 2:30 Sunday morning, arriving in Montreal at 5:00, and then you would catch your New York bus at 7:30, change at Albany at 1:05 in the afternoon to a bus leaving at 1:30, and arrive at 4:20. This is still doable, whereas the train really isn't. Round-trip fare is $226, though it can drop to $136 with advanced purchase. The Ottawa Central Station is at 265 Catherine Street, at the intersection of Catherine Street and Kent Street.

If you're driving, get to Interstate 80, and take it all the way across New Jersey. Shortly after crossing the Delaware River and entering Pennsylvania, take I-380, following the signs for Scranton, until reaching I-81. (If you've driven to a game of the Yankees' Triple-A farm team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, you already know this part.) Take I-81 north into New York State. (If you've driven to a game of the Mets' Double-A farm team, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, you already know this part.) Continue on I-81 past Binghamton, Syracuse and Watertown, all the way up to the border, at the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River.

You need to take this next part seriously. Because Canadian Customs will. You'll be asked your citizenship, and you'll have to show your passport and your photo ID. You'll be asked why you're visiting Canada. Seeing a Devils vs. Senators game should be reason enough, although, if you got your tickets by mail, showing them to the Customs agent won't hurt.

If you're bringing a computer with you (counting a laptop, but probably not counting a smartphone), you don't have to mention it, but you probably should. Chances are, you won't be carrying a large amount of food or plants; if you were, depending on how much, you might have to declare them.

Chances are, you won't be bringing alcohol into the country, but you can bring in one of the following items duty-free, and anything above or in addition to this must have duty paid on it: 1.5 litres (53 ounces) of wine, or 8.5 litres (300 ounces or 9.375 quarts) of beer or ale, or 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of hard liquor. If you have the slightest suspicion that I'm getting any of these numbers wrong, check the Canada Customs website. Better yet, don't bring booze in. Or out.

As for tobacco, well, you shouldn't use it. But, either way over the border, you can bring up to 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco. And, on October 14, 2016, President Obama finally ended the ban on bringing Cuban cigars into America. This also applies to rum, for which Cuba is also renowned. It is still considerably easier to buy these items in Canada than in America, but, now, you can bring them back over the border.

If you've got anything in your car (or, if going by bus or train, in your pockets or your luggage) that could be considered a weapon, even if it's a disposable razor or nail clippers, tell them. And while Canada does have laws that allow you to bring in firearms if you're a licensed hunter (you'd have to apply for a license to the Province where you plan to hunt), the country has the proper attitude concerning guns: They hate them. They go absolutely batshit insane if you try to bring a firearm into their country. Which, if you're sane, is actually the sane way to treat the issue.

You think I'm being ridiculous? How about this: Seven of the 45 U.S. Presidents -- 9 counting the Roosevelts, Theodore after he was President and Franklin right before -- have faced assassins with guns, 6 got hit and 4 died; but none of the 23 people (including 1 woman) to serve as Prime Minister of Canada has ever faced an assassination attempt. John Lennon recorded "Give Peace a Chance" in Montreal and gave his first "solo concert" in Toronto, but he got shot and killed in New York. In fact, the next time I visit Canada, I half-expect to see a bumper sticker that says, "GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, AMERICANS WITH GUNS KILL PEOPLE."

(Another note about weapons: I'm a fan of the CBS-TV show NCIS, which airs in Canada on Global Network TV. If you are also a fan of this show, and you usually observe Gibbs Rule Number 9, "Never go anywhere without a knife," you need to remember that these are rules for members of Gibbs' team, not for civilians. So, this time, forget the knife, and leave it at home. If you really think you're going to need it -- as a tool -- mention the knife to the border guard, and show it to him, and tell him you have it to use as a tool in case of emergency, and that you do not intend to use it as a weapon. Do not mention the words "Rule Number 9" or quote said rule, or else he'll observe his Rule Number 1: "Do not let this jackass into your country, eh?" And another thing: Border guards, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, most likely will observe a variation on Gibbs Rule Number 23: "Never mess with a Mountie's Tim Hortons coffee if you want to live.")

And if you can speak French, don't try to impress the Customs officials with it. You're going into Ontario, not Quebec.

When crossing back into the U.S., in addition to what you would have to declare on the way in (if you still have any of it), you would have to declare items you purchased and are carrying with you upon return, items you bought in duty-free shops or (if you flew) on the plane, and items you intend to sell or use in your business, including business merchandise that you took out of the United States on your trip. There are other things, but, since you're just going for hockey, they probably won't apply to you. Just in case, check the Canadian Customs website I linked to above.

After going through Customs, I-81 will become Ontario Route 137. You won't be on this for long, as it terminates at O-401, the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway. (This road is named for the founding fathers of English and French Canada, respectively: First Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, and George-Etienne Cartier, responsible for getting Quebec's support for Confederation, Canada's 1867 independence.)

Take the Freeway East, to Exit 721A, which will put you on O-416 North. Exit 75A will put you on the Queensway West. You'll take this until Exit 140, east on Terry Fox Drive, named for the man who tried to walk across Canada on a prosthetic leg to raise money for cancer research until his own cancer returned and stopped him. The 1st right will be Palladium Drive. (The arena's original name was The Palladium.) The Canadian Tire Centre will soon be on your right. The official address is 1000 Palladium Drive in Kanata, about 14 1/2 miles west of downtown.

You should be in New Jersey for an hour and 15 minutes (after getting out of your driveway, that is), Pennsylvania for an hour and a half, New York State for 3 hours, and Ontario for an hour and 45 minutes, for a total of 7 and a half hours. If you make 3 rest stops – I would recommend at or near Scranton and Syracuse, and count Customs, where they will have a restroom and vending machines – and if you don't do anything stupid at Customs, such as fail to produce your passport, or flash a weapon, or say you watch South Park (a show with a vendetta against Canada for some reason), or call Sidney Crosby a cheating, diving pansy (even though he is one) – the trip should take less than 11 hours.

Once In the City. Ottawa was originally named Bytown, named for the general who commanded the first fort there. The name Ottawa comes from the Algonquin word meaning "to trade," as it was founded in 1826 as a trading post. On December 31, 1857, Britain's Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada, and she chose Ottawa.

Her advisers suggested it for several reasons. Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River. Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City (310 miles between the capitals of Ontario and Quebec). The smaller size of the town also made it less prone to rampaging politically motivated mobs, as had happened in the previous Canadian capitals.

Ottawa is home to about 935,000 people, making it the 10th-largest in the NHL (13th if you split up the New York and Los Angeles markets), but its metropolitan area has just 1.3 million, making it smaller than any U.S. metro area with a major league sports team. It's already lost 2 pro football teams and a Triple-A baseball team in the last 20 years, although they rejoined the Canadian Football League last year and got a new Double-A baseball team this year.

Canada's Conservative Party government got rid of the hated Goods & Services Tax (GST), but replaced it with a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which is 13 percent in Ontario -- in other words, it's a consumption tax that hits the poor and the middle class a lot harder than it hits the rich, which means Canada's conservatives are just as bastardish as America's.

Ottawa's north-south streets increase in address numbers moving away from the Ottawa River, while the Rideau Canal divides the city into east and west. OC Transpo (not "Transport") runs public transit in the area, with single rides costing C$3.45. Get a DayPass for C$8.10. The city has no "beltway."

The drinking age in the Province of Ontario is 19. Across the river in Quebec, it's 18. Postal Codes in the Ottawa section of Ontario start with the letter K, and on the Quebec side of the river, with J. The Area Code for Ottawa is 613, and for the Quebec side 819, with 873 as an overlay. Hydro Ottawa runs the electricity.

The population of Ottawa is about 74 percent white, 17 percent Asian, 6 percent black, 2 percent Aboriginal/Native Canadian/First Nations, and just over 1 percent Hispanic. About 37 percent can speak both English and French, but the percentage of "mother tongues" runs about 62 percent English, 14 percent French, and 20 percent others, including 3 percent each for Arabic and Chinese, and 1 percent each for Spanish and Italian.

Going In. The Number 401 bus goes directly from Ottawa Central Station to the arena, 17 miles to the southwest, taking 26 minutes. General parking is C$15.
The Canadian Tire Centre, set up for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.
At the time, it was named Scotiabank Place.

The building was originally named The Palladium. But soon after it opened in 1996, it was changed to the Corel Centre, after an Ottawa-based software company. In 2006, it became Scotiabank Place, after the Halifax-based bank. In 2013, Toronto-based Canadian Tire bought the naming rights.

Oddly, while Canada uses the British spelling for most words, they don't use "tyre" for a car's wheels the way the British do. Nor is the arena, due to its sponsored name, nicknamed "The Garage." The building is round, and the rink is laid out east-to-west. The Senators attack twice at the west end.
Since December 2014, Senators Sports and Entertainment has been negotiating with the National Capital Commission (NCC) for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats in downtown Ottawa. The proposal includes a new arena, along with other mixed uses. It's still a plan, though, so the earliest it would open is the 2021-22 season.

Food. Getting something to eat at Canadian Tire Centre isn't going to be a problem.The 111 Deli & Pub and the 212 Deli & Pub, named for the sections they're behind, feature sandwiches and standard "pub grub." Bytown Grill and The Ledge Carvery & Bar serve similar fare. Frank Finnigan's, a restaurant named for an early Senators great (more about whom shortly), is more "casual dining."

The arena goes international as well, with stands for Chef Bento Sushi, Golden Palace Egg Rolls, and the Toronto-based "favourite" Pizza Pizza. There's Burger Shack stands, and what would a Canadian point of interest be without Tim Hortons? Ottawans may hate the Toronto Maple Leafs, for whom Horton played so nobly for so long, but they're still Canadians, and so they gotta have their Timmy's.

And, while the Outaouais region includes western Quebec, no one says you have to eat that foul poutine, which, in one bite, comes close to undoing all the good La Belle Province has ever done. Nevertheless, if you can actually keep the stuff down (in which case your stomach is stronger than mine), Smoke's Poutinerie stands are at Sections 107, 113, 119, and a larger section at 225.

Team History Displays. Only 2 men associated with the current Senators franchise have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame: Roger Neilson, who coached them from 2001 to 2003, and Dominik Hasek, who tended goal for them in the 2005-06 season.

This season, the Senators will officially retire the Number 4 of defenseman Chris Phillips, 1997-2015. It will join the 11 of right wing Daniel Alfredsson, 1995-2013; and the 8 of Frank Finnigan.

Finnigan came from Shawville, Quebec, not far from Ottawa, so he was a "local boy who made good." He was honored for his play for the original Ottawa Senators, as a right wing, 1923–31 & 1932–34, including being an integral part of their 1927 Stanley Cup win.

Due to the Great Depression, the Senators did not play in the 1931-32 season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were allowed to sign him, enabling him to win that season's Stanley Cup with the Leafs. He was the Senators' Captain upon their return. But after that season, they moved to St. Louis, already known for good support of a minor-league team. Finnigan scored the final goal in the history of the old Senators. The St. Louis Eagles were terrible in 1934-35 and folded, selling him back to the Leafs, for whom he played until 1937. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II and managed hotels.

Finnigan was the last surviving Senator from the Stanley Cup winners of 1927 -- still the last Cup won by an Ottawa team -- and participated in the "Bring Back The Senators" campaign. Sadly, he died in 1991, living long enough to see the city officially announced as returning to the NHL, but not long enough to see them play. His Number 8 was raised to the rafters of the Ottawa Civic Centre, and his son Frank Finnigan Jr. was invited to drop the ceremonial puck before the 1st home game.

The Senators also have a banner honoring Brian Desmond Smith. "Smitty" was an Ottawa native who played left wing for the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars of the NHL, the Houston Aeros of the WHA, and the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens in junior hockey. He became the sports anchor at CTV station CJOH-Channel 13, and was shot and killed by a mentally disturbed man in 1995. Smitty's banner has the Number 18 he wore for Hull-Ottawa. Although not officially retired, the number is not currently worn by any Senators player.

This past February 3, the Senators announced the results of fan voting for a 25th Anniversary Team:

* Forwards: Alfredsson, Radek Bonk, Mike Fisher, Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley, Marian Hossa, Chris Kelly, Chris Neil, Jason Spezza, Kyle Turris, Antoine Vermette and Alexei Yashin.

* Defensemen: Phillips, Zdeno Chara, Steve Duchesne, Erik Karlsson, Wade Rdden and Anton Volchenkov.

* Goaltenders: Craig Anderson and Patrick Lalime.

Anderson is still with the team; Neil, Kelly, Karlsson and Turris were at the time of the voting.

The Senators have also established a Ring of Honour, but, for the moment, it only has 1 member, 2005-08 head coach and 2007-16 general manager Bryan Murray.

The Senators also hang 9 Stanley Cup banners, representing the achievements of the original team, originally known as the Ottawa Hockey Club and then the Ottawa Silver Seven, before taking the Ottawa Senators name. The banners represent the Cup wins of 1903, 1904, 1905, 1909, 1911, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1927. And they hang banners representing their 2003 President's Trophy and their 2007 Eastern Conference Championship, and for their Division titles of 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2006.
A street that loops around the arena is named Cyclone Taylor Blvd., and the street on the east side of the arena is named Frank Finnigan Way. Other nearby streets are Frank Nighbor Place and Silver Seven Way. (Back in the days when hockey had 7 players on the ice, including the now-discarded position of "rover," the Ottawa Hockey Club was nicknamed the Silver Seven, before they officially became the Senators.)

Hockey Hall-of-Famers from the original Senators include:

* From their 1903, 1904 and 1905 Cup winners: Player-coach Alf Smith, his brother Tommy Smith, Billy Gilmour, J.B. "Bouse" Hutton, Frank McGee, Harvey Pulford and Harry "Rat" Westwick.

* From their 1909 and 1911 Cup winners: Gilmour, (in 1909 but not 1911), Taylor, Pecy LeSueur, Bruce Stewart, Marty Walsh and Jack Darrah (in 1911 but 1909).

* From their 1920, 1921, 1923 and 1927 Cup winners: Darragh, Nighbor, Finnigan, owners Tommy Gorman and Frank Ahearn, Clint Benedict, George "Buck" Boucher, Harry "Punch" Broadbent, Sprague Cleghorn, Cy Denneny, Eddie Gerard, Frank "King" Clancy, Jack Adams, Alex Connell and Reginald "Hooley" Smith. Nighbor, Boucher and Denneny were the only players to play on all 4 of their 1920s Cup-winning teams.

No member of the Senators organization has received the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in America. Denneny, Nighbor, Clancy and Benedict were named to The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Hockey Players in 1998. Finnigan and Al Shields were named to the NHL All-Stars to oppose the host Toronto Maple Leafs in the Ace Bailey Benefit Game on February 12, 1934, which is now recognized as the 1st NHL All-Star Game. Clancy from the original Senators, and Hasek from the new one, were named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players this year.

The Memorial Cup, the championship of Canadian junior hockey, has been won by Ottawa-area teams 7 times: The Ottawa-Hull Junior Canadiens in 1958; the Hull Olympiques in 1971; the Cornwall Royals in 1972, 1980 and 1981; and the Ottawa 67's in 1984 and 1999.

The Senators' biggest rivalry is with the Toronto Maple Leafs, across the Province. It's known as the Battle of Ontario, and the Senators lead it, but it's close: 70-68-3. Actually, the Montreal Canadiens are closer to Ottawa than Toronto is, 138 miles as opposed to 241.

Stuff. Souvenir stands are all over the arena. There are large team stores at Gate 1 at street level, a "vintage" products location at club level, a "Main Street" location on the 200 level, and a jersey-customization shop on the upper bowl level.

There aren't many books about the Senators. The best one I could find on Amazon was about the original version, Chris Robinson's 2004 book Ottawa Senators: Great Stories From the NHL's First Dynasty. J. Alexander Poulton (a name that sounds like it would have been around in the days of the old Silver Seven) wrote one about the current franchise: The Ottawa Senators: The Best Players and the Greatest Games.

Team videos are also in short supply: The only thing I could find on the Sens was the 2007 Stanley Cup highlight film -- and they lost the Finals, ignominiously, in 5 games to the Anaheim Ducks. Of the 5 times a Canadian team has reached the Stanley Cup Finals since 1993, that was the only time they didn't win at least 3 games, and then get screwed by the league and lose in Game 7. The Senators were so pathetic, Gary Bettman didn't have to have his officials fix the games, or (in the case of the Boston Bruins letting the ice melt a little in Boston for Game 6) allow the American team to cheat.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the Senators' fans 16th. That puts them roughly in the middle overall, but 7th and last among Canadian teams: "The least supported of the Canadian teams by a wide margin." They have Toronto 1st, Montreal 3rd, Vancouver 4th, Edmonton 5th, Winnipeg 7th and Calgary 8th.

I don't know how they figured that, because Ottawans love their Senators. But they don't hate the Devils or their fans. You do not need to fear wearing Devils gear to a Senators game. Maple Leafs, maybe. Canadiens, possibly. But not Devils. As long as you don't mock their country, their flag or their National Anthem, they will leave you alone. (They care intensely about their flag, and will sometimes move a large one around the stands, as seen in the photo below.)
Since the game is in Canada, the National Anthem presentation will be unusual to you, with the order reversed from what you're used to: Lyndon Slewidge, a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer, will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" first, and then "O, Canada." Because Ottawa is next-door to Quebec, "O, Canada" may be begun in French, and switched to English halfway through, as is traditionally done in Montreal. (When Quebec still had the Nordiques, it was sung entirely in French, although "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung entirely in English.)

The Senators' mascot is Spartacat the Lion, perhaps a tribute to the country's English roots. The Senators have also outright ripped off the baseball team in our nation's capital. Instead of "Racing Presidents," they have 4 guys in period suits with big foam heads designed to resemble 4 of Canada's most prominent Prime Ministers: Sir John A. Macdonald (the 1st, 1867-73 and 1878-91), Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1896-1911, the 1st Francophone PM and, for the way he espoused Canadian nationalism, often compared to our Theodore Roosevelt), Sir Robert Borden (1911-20, including during World War I) and William Lyon Mackenzie King (the longest-serving PM, off and on from 1921 to 1948, including during World War II).

Each of them is on Canadian paper money: Laurier on the $5 bill, Macdonald on the $10, Mackenzie King on the $50 and Borden on the $100. (Queen Elizabeth II is on the $20 and all the coins, while there hasn't been a $1 or $2 bill for many years.)
Left to right: Laurier, Borden, Macdonald, Mackenzie King
and Spartacat, with some friends, challenge
the Nationals'  Presidents. So far, no acceptance.

Each of Canada's 1st 8 Prime Ministers were knighted by the British Empire, but Borden is the last to receive this honor, and Mackenzie King's assertion of Canadian control, rather than British control, over Canada's government ended such things. To do this, he had to outflank the man who was then Canada's Governor-General -- the monarch's representative in the country and thus head of state -- and also Canada's greatest living military hero, Viscount Byng of Vimy. If the Viscount's name seems familiar, it's because his wife donated the award for "the most gentlemanly player" in the NHL, the Lady Byng Trophy.

Of course, these Prime Ministers don't race around the "field": Rather than put on skates and go on the ice, they just go around the arena and do typical mascot things. But, because they are "old men" -- Sir John A. was 76 when he died in office, Laurier 70 when he was finally defeated by Borden, Borden 66 when he retired, and Mackenzie King 74 when he packed up his 3rd and final government -- they've been jokingly compared to Statler and Waldorf, the elderly hecklers from The Muppet Show.

ESPN hockey writer Patrick Smith commented, "Old, grey-haired men with straight faces or frowns don't really scream, 'Get excited for hockey,' unless the face is Don Cherry's. That said, former Prime Ministers in Ottawa makes sense, because of the political nature of the city." And, with Mackenzie King having died in 1950, there's no chance of a more recent figure stirring up resentments, the way John Diefenbaker (1957-63), Pierre Trudeau (1968-84), or the still-living Brian Mulroney (1984-93) or Jean Chretien (1993-2004) might do. (The Washington Nationals have added a John F. Kennedy, who's now widely seen as a "safe" figure, but not the much more recent Ronald Reagan.)

The Senators' goal song is "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. This is a horrible recording (what did you expect, the people of Sweden can play hockey and tennis well, but they can't make music worth a damn), with no chantable lyrics or even sounds. Their victory song is "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates. Not exactly a big rouser -- and hardly anybody has made Senators' fans dreams come true since the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals.

After the Game. The Canadian Tire Centre is an island in a sea of parking in a suburb of a big city, in Canada rather than America. Safety will not be an issue. You will be safe. If you drove in, your car will be safe, too -- even if you have a Maple Leafs sticker on your car. (But why would you?)

There isn't much around the arena: Just office parks, car dealerships and big-box stores. So you may have to head all the way back downtown to get a postgame meal or pint. The Senate Sports Tavern & Eatery, at 33 Clarence Street, just a few steps down from the U.S. Embassy on Parliament Hill, has been noted as a hockey fans' bar.

If your visit to Ottawa is during the European soccer season, as we are now in, Georgetown Sports Pub bills itself as "Ottawa's #1 soccer pub!" (Exclamation point theirs, not mine.) 1159 Bank Street, downtown.

Sidelights. By American standards, Ottawa is very small-time. For decades, the biggest sports team in town was a Canadian Football League team that, while once very successful, no longer exists. Pro football has had a troubled last 20 years there, they've never had a Major League Baseball team, they didn't have a Triple-A baseball team for very long, they've never had an NBA team, the pro basketball team they do have is minor-league (Canada does have a league, but it's not even at the level of the NBA's D-League), and from 1934 to 1992, hockey fans in the region had to rely on the junior and university levels. And even when the Senators arrived, in their 2nd season, 1993-94, they set an NHL record by losing 70 games. It was like, "We waited 58 years for this?"

Nevertheless, by Canadian standards, Ottawa would be an important city even if it were not the capital. Here are some notable sites in the area:

* LeBreton Flats. This park, on the river across from the Canadian War Museum, is the site currently projected for the Senators' new arena, currently named the Ottawa Major Events Centre. The earliest it would open is for the 2021-22 NHL season.

* Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park. Formerly named Ottawa Baseball Stadium, JetForm Park and Lynx Stadium, its naming rights are now held by an accounting firm. As Triple-A stadiums go, its 10,332-seat capacity is about average. As Double-A stadiums go, it's huge.
The Ottawa Lynx of the International League played there from 1993 to 2007, and won the Pennant in 1995. Appropriately, they were then the top farm team of the Montreal Expos, producing players such as Rondell White and Cliff Floyd. But new owners moved the team to Pennsylvania, and 2 other teams failed in the interim.

The Ottawa Champions began play there in 2014, in the independent Can-Am League. Managed by former San Francisco Giants and Yankees infielder, and former Houston Astros manager, Hal Lanier, they won their 1st Pennant last season, so the name isn't just a name anymore. 300 Coventry Road at Vanier Parkway, in the East End. Number 9 bus.

* Ottawa Civic Centre complex. This was originally the site of the Ottawa Exposition Grounds, used for equestrian events, lacrosse and rugby -- which, as in America, evolved into a game that its home country called "football." The team that became known as the Ottawa Rough Riders began play there in 1876, and were Canada's oldest continually-operating professional sports team when financial difficulties forced them to fold in 1996.

Lansdowne Park, Ottawa's longtime football stadium, began when a grandstand was built on the north side in 1908. A south side grandstand was built in 1924, and replaced with a larger stand in 1960.

The north side grandstand was demolished so that a new arena, the Ottawa Civic Centre, could be built, and a new north side grandstand was incorporated into the structure. The Civic Centre opened at the end of 1967, and a new Ontario Hockey League team, the Ottawa 67's -- named for Canada's Confederation and Centennial years, as well as for their debut -- began play there.
Frank Clair Stadium, with the Civic Centre
and the Aberdeen Pavilion behind it.

The 67's have played there ever since, except for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, when the Civic Centre was renovated, and they had to groundshare with the Senators. They've won the Memorial Cup, the championship of Canadian junior hockey, in 1984 and 1999.

The Senators played their 1st 4 seasons there, 1992 to 1996, but the building's small capacity, 10,585, made it unsuitable as a long-term home, necessitating the building now named the Canadian Tire Centre. The Civic Centre also hosted Ottawa's entries in the World Hockey Association, the Nationals and later the Civics.
The Civic Centre, with minimal seating on one side,
so it can support half the football stadium.

At its peak, the stadium, renamed in 1993 for longtime Rough Riders coach and general manager Frank Clair, seated nearly 31,000 people. (Clair was from the Cincinnati area, and played end at Ohio State and in 1941 for the Washington Redskins.) The Riders -- known as Ottawa Football Club from 1876 to 1897, and the Senators until 1930 -- won Canada's football championship, the Grey Cup, 9 times: 1925, 1926, 1940, 1951, 1960, 1968, 1969, 1973, and in their Centennial season of 1976.

From 2002 to 2006, the Ottawa Renegades played at Frank Clair Stadium, wearing the red and black "colour" scheme of the Riders, but were short on cash and victories, and folded. In 2014, a new team, with the unimaginative named of the Ottawa Redblacks, launched at a renovated complex, with the stadium and arena both now named for TD Bank. (TD stands for Toronto-Dominion.) The new owners wanted to bring back the Rough Riders name, but the Regina-based Saskatchewan Roughriders (1 word, as opposed to the 2 that the Ottawa club had used) didn't want to go through that again.

Officially, the Redblacks carry the history of the Rough Riders, including their Grey Cups and their retired numbers. They just added a Grey Cup of their own, beating the Calgary Stampeders 39-33 in Toronto.

The new TD Place Stadium is also home to Ottawa Fury FC, of the United Soccer League (USL), the 3rd division of North American soccer. It also hosted 9 games of the 2015 Women's World Cup, including the U.S. team's Quarterfinal win over China. It may also be home to a team in the new Canadian Premier League that is being planned for Spring 2018, although it is not a given that the team would be the Fury.

In late 2017, the stadium hosted the Grey Cup Final, with the Toronto Argonauts defeating the Calgary Stampeders 27-24; and the NHL 100 Classic, an outdoor hockey game, in which the Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0.
TD Place, with the Civic Centre beside it.

The Aberdeen Pavilion, a long barnlike structure with a domed cupola, was adjacent to the stadium. Built in 1898, it is the oldest building in North America to have hosted the finals of a major league sport, having hosted the old Senators (then still Ottawa HC or the Silver Seven) in the 1903-04 season, including the Finals. (They were in a dispute with arena owner Ted Dey.)

As with the Grand National Livestock Pavilion outside San Francisco, a.k.a. the Cow Palace, it hosted livestock shows, and was nicknamed the Cattle Castle. Nearly demolished due to its disrepair, it was renovated instead, and reopened to the public in 1994.
1015 Bank Street at Queen Elizabeth Drive, on the Rideau Canal, about 2 miles south of downtown. Number 1 bus.

* Homes of the old Senators. The Senators bounced around a bit in their earlier days, settling at Dey's Arena, downtown at the northwest corner of Bay Street & Gladstone Avenue. The Senators won the Stanley Cup there in 1903, 1905 and 1906 (with the 1904 Cup being won at Aberdeen Pavilion). This rink burned down in 1920.

Dey's Arena was quickly outgrown, so the Deys built a 7,000-seat structure named simply The Arena, for the 1907-08 season. Here, the Silver Seven/Senators won the Cup in 1909, 1911, 1920, 1921 and 1923. (Actually, the '21 and '23 Cups were clinched on the road, but it was still their home ice at the time.) Despite being the largest arena in Canada at the time, and having a heated locker room (a big innovation at the time), it wasn't so good for the fans, as interior support poles obstructed a lot of views.
Postcard of Dey's Arena, dated 1910

After the Senators moved into the Auditorium in 1923, The Arena's days were numbered. It was torn down in 1927, and Confederation Park was put on the site. That park, across Laurier Avenue from City Hall, contains memorials to Canadian soldiers and sailors of the Boer War, and to Aboriginal war veterans (a.k.a. First Nations or, as we would say here, Indians or Native Americans). Downtown at Slater & Elgin Streets, Laurier Avenue and the Rideau Canal.

* Ottawa Auditorium. Opening in 1923, this was the last home of the original Ottawa Senators. It hosted the clinching game of the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals, because the Montreal Canadiens asked for it since their new Forum hadn't yet been built. The Senators won the Cup there in 1927.

It seated 7,500 people for hockey, but could be expanded to 10,000 for concerts, and was sold out for 2 shows by Elvis Presley early in his career, on April 3, 1957. Lots of early rockers played the Auditorium, including Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, and Ottawa native Paul Anka. The Rolling Stones played it on their 1st North American tour in 1964, and Bob Dylan did so in 1966. The last event there was a concert by, appropriately, Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, in Canada's Centennial year of 1967.
The Auditorium, 1954

The auditorium was then demolished, having been made obsolete by the building of the Civic Centre. A YMCA now stands on the site. O'Connor Street between Argyle Avenue and Catherine Street, downtown.

* College Football. The University of Ottawa's teams are called the Gee-Gees, and play their home games at the 4,152-seat Gee-Gees Field. The odd name is an abbreviation, as they used to be known by their colors, Garnet and Grey. (This also worked in French: Grenat et Gris.)

They've won 4 Yates Cups as champions of Ontario college football: 1907, 1975, 1976 and 2006. And they've won the Vanier Cup, Canada's national championship, in 1975 and 2000. 200 Lees Avenue, about 2 1/2 miles southeast of downtown. Bus 95.

Carleton University is their arch-rivals. They're more successful in basketball, having won 12 of the last 14 National Championships, including an 87-game winning streak from 2003 to 2006. Their football team plays at the 3,044-seat MNP Park, formerly Keith Harris Stadium. Bronson & Sunnyside Avenues, about 3 miles south of downtown. Bus 4.

Every year from 1955 until 1998, the teams played The Panda Game at Lansdowne Park. A stuffed toy named Pedro the Panda was given to the winner. Carleton suspended its football program after the 1998 season, but revived it in 2013, and the game was held at Gee-Gees Field since the Lansdowne Park site was being redeveloped. Since 2014, it's been held at the new TD Place stadium. Carleton has won the last 3 games, but U of O still leads the series, 33-15.

The closest MLB, NBA and MLS city to Ottawa is Toronto. The Scotiabank Arena (formerly the Air Canada Centre) is 251 miles from Parliament Hill. Don't count on Ottawa ever getting a team in either MLB or the NBA: It would rank 31st and last in metropolitan area population in either league. MLS is a longshot, too, especially with teams already in Toronto and Montreal.

At any rate, the Toronto Blue Jays are easily the most popular MLB team there, while NBA fandom is divided between the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers, and whatever team LeBron James happens to be playing for at any given time.

* Parliament Hill. Running along Wellington Street, bounded by the Ottawa River, the Portage Bridge and the Rideau Canal, this is home to Canada's national government -- like Capitol Hill in Washington, often shortened to just "The Hill." The original fort protecting the city was on the site, as a natural defense (or "defence" as they'd spell it).

The original Parliament building, the Centre Block, opened in 1866, in time for Confederation the next year, on Wellington at the foot of Metcalfe Street. It burned down on its own 50th Anniversary, on February 3, 1916 -- during World War I, leading many to suspect German sabotage. (Like with the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, triggering the Spanish-American War, no such sabotage was proven. Unlike the Americans of 1898, the Canadians of 1916 kept their heads.) Parliament met in a hotel for 4 years while reconstruction was undertaken.

By 1920, the new Centre Block was ready for Parliament to sit again, and in 1927 the Peace Tower was topped off, restoring the look of the old Victoria Tower and giving Ottawa its signature building. A new renovation is underway, and is expected to take until the building's centennial in 2020.
The Supreme Court of Canada is 3 blocks west on Wellington, at the foot of Kent Street. The National War Memorial, a.k.a. The Response, is on a triangle bounded by Wellington and a fork of Elgin Street. It includes a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and, like our counterpart at Arlington National Cemetery, always has a guard on duty.

* Government Houses. Rideau Hall is the official residence of the head of state, the Governor-General, the official representative of the British monarch, as Canada is still a part of the British Commonwealth. 1 Sussex Drive, at Princess Avenue and Rockcliffe Parkway. It is open to public tours.

Unlike Rideau Hall, the official residence of the head of government, the Prime Minister, doesn't have an official name like The White House. Rather, like that of the British Prime Minister, it is best known by its address, "24 Sussex" -- 24 Sussex Drive, at the foot of MacKay Street.

Built in 1868, and the official residence since 1951, it is strictly a residence and a reception area: The Prime Minister's office is on Parliament Hill, in the Langevin Block. So while "The White House" is synonymous with the President of the United States, and "10 Downing Street" or "Number 10" is for the Prime Minister of Britain, no one refers to the Prime Minister's office (either the role or the actual workplace) as "24 Sussex." (Rather, the Prime Minister's Office is called just that, sometimes abbreviated to "the PMO.") 24 Sussex is not open to public tours, but a virtual tour can show you the interiors.

Both Rideau Hall and 24 Sussex are about 2 miles northeast of Parliament Hill, across the Rideau River (as well as the Rideau Canal), in the New Edinburgh section of town. Number 7 or Number 9 bus from downtown.

Museums. Canada doesn't have "libraries" or museums for their Prime Ministers like we have for many of our Presidents. The aforementioned rival Prime Ministers, Wilfrid Laurier and Robert Borden, are buried in Ottawa: The former, a French Catholic, in Notre-Dame Cemetery; the latter, an English Protestant, in Beechwood Cemetery. Lester Pearson, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as PM from 1963 to 1968, and for whom Toronto's main airport is named, is also buried near Ottawa, at MacLaren Cemetery in Wakefield, Quebec. (As for the other 2 PM mascots: Macdonald is buried in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario, and Mackenzie King in Toronto.)

As I said, Canada didn't have an official Prime Minister's residence until 1951. Laurier lived at what became known as Laurier House from 1897 until he died in 1919, and his widow stayed there until her death in 1923. She willed it to Mackenzie King (who never married), and he lived there until he died in 1950. His successor, Louis St. Laurent, didn't want to make it the official PM's residence, because he knew that, one day (in 1957, as it turned out), the Conservative Party would make a comeback, and he didn't want any Tories living in the house of Liberal icons Laurier and Mackenzie King.

So Canada's former answer to the White House is now under the banner of Parks Canada, and, unlike 24 Sussex, is open to public tours. 335 Laurier Avenue East at Chapel Street, in the Sandy Hill district. Number 5 bus from downtown.

The Canadian War Museum tells Canada's military story from the French and Indian War of 1756-63 to the present. Needless to say, with the Centennial of World War I (1914-18) being in progress, the museum is focusing on that conflict, which was central to establishing Canada's identity on the world stage. (Prime Minister Borden's lobbying of the British government led to the first separate Canadian Army, instead of having Canadian units assigned to British units, as had been the case through the Boer War.) A display honoring the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 (1812-15), which did so much to establish Canada's identity, may also still be in place, although scaled down since 2015. 1 Vimy Place at Booth Street, down Wellington Street, west of Parliament Hill. Several bus lines go there from downtown.

A much more peaceful setting is the Canadian Museum of History, formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization. (While they use the American spelling, rather than the British "Civilisation," they use the British pronunciation -- hence, both major Star Trek captains, Montrealer William Shatner and Yorkshireman Patrick Stewart, say, "To seek out new life, and new SIV-il-igh-ZAY-shuns," instead of the American, "SIV-il-ih-ZAY-shuns.")

It serves about half the function of New York's Museum of Natural History, with a big anthropology and aboriginal peoples' section, and also the function of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History, telling the story of a people that were a "nation" long before they were a "country." Like New York's Hayden Planetarium (part of the Museum of Natural History complex), it has an IMAX theater. 100 Rue Laurier at Rue Papineau in Gatineau, across the Alexandra and Portage Bridges from downtown. Oddly, bus service doesn't get very close, so you're probably better off walking the 20 minutes from Parliament Hill.

The other half of our Museum of Natural History's function, the story of the planet and its life, can be found at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 240 McLeod Street at Metcalfe Street downtown. A short walk, no bus necessary.

Canada's answer to our Metropolitan Museum of Art -- or, more accurately, to the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art -- is the National Gallery of Canada. 380 Sussex Drive, at St. Patrick Street, at the foot of the Alexandra Bridge. Number 9 bus from downtown.

Frank Boucher, who starred for the original Senators before captaining the 1st 2 Ranger Stanley Cups and coaching the 3rd, is buried at South Gower Cemetery. South Gower Drive (Provincial Route 22), in Morrisburg, about 33 miles south of downtown Ottawa. Can't be reached without a car. (The Rangers made his uniform number the 1st one they retired, but retired it for someone else: He wore 7, as did Rod Gilbert.)

Ottawa isn't much for tall buildings. In fact, much like the fact that most of the taller buildings in Washington D.C. are, due to regulations in the District itself, across the Potomac River in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, so, too, are some of the tallest buildings in the Ottawa area across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec.

This includes the tallest, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière. Built in 1978, and standing 407 feet high, it is a federally-owned apartment building that houses over 6,500 government workers. Rue Eddy at Blvd. Alexandre Taché, right across the river from the War Museum. Number 8 bus from downtown.

The 469-foot Claridge Icon is now under construction, and will be the tallest building in the region in 2018. 485 Preston Street at Carling Avenue, about 2 miles southwest of Parliament Hill. Bus 85.

Although Alanis Morissette is from Ottawa, and Avril Lavigne got her big break by winning a contest to sing with Shania Twain onstage at the Canadian Tire Centre (then the Corel Centre), Ottawa isn't really known as a big music city the way Canada's big 3 cities -- Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver -- are. It does have an independent music scene, and the arena does host major music tours.

But the Beatles did not visit Ottawa on their North American tours, limiting their Canadian shows to the Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens. Nor did Elvis sing in Ottawa during his latter years, since his manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker, was actually an illegal immigrant from the Netherlands and couldn't cross borders. But, as I said, he sang in Ottawa early on, in 1957.

There have been a few TV shows and movies set in Ottawa -- national capitals are a natural for them -- but most Americans would never have heard of any of them. So I'll skip this item, although quite a few shows and films are now being filmed there, as Toronto, once a destination of choice for studios wishing to save money, has gotten a bit expensive.


Unlike Montreal, which is on a direct route, Interstate 87, north of New York and New Jersey, Ottawa is a bit out of the way for us. But Canada's capital is worth a visit, for reasons above and beyond hockey.

How to Be a Devils Fan In Pittsburgh -- 2018-19 Edition

In the wake of the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history, killing 11 people at a naming ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in their city, the Pittsburgh Penguins are wearing patches with this logo on them. The Pittsburgh Steelers are also paying tribute. (The Pittsburgh Pirates are out of season, but may do something in commemoration next season.)
This coming Monday, the New Jersey Devils will make their season's 1st trip to Pittsburgh, a city that knows how to unify. I like Pittsburgh as a city very much, for this reason and others. I admire the Steelers. I respect the Pirates and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.

But I don't like the Penguins. (Given the circumstances, it would be wrong to use the word "hate.") I don't like them. Why? Because I have taste. And because Commissioner Gary Bettman loves Crosby and has fixed games for him. Including 3 Stanley Cups in the last 10 seasons.

Before You Go. Pittsburgh is at roughly the same latitude as New York City, so roughly the same weather can be expected. As always, check out the newspaper website (the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) before you head out. They're predicting low 60s for Monday afternoon and low 50s for the night, with "scattered showers." That won't affect you during the game, but you won't be indoors on the entire trip.

Pittsburgh is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to adjust your timepieces.

Tickets. The Penguins averaged 18,579 fans per home game last season. That's more than a sellout, and it includes standing-room. This has been the case pretty much since Mario Lemieux arrived 34 years ago (has it been that long already?), and it will be the case as long as Sidney Crosby is around.

Penguins tickets are expensive. In the lower bowl, you can expect to pay at least $161 between the goals and $110 behind them. In the upper bowl, at least $76 between the goals and $50 behind them. Standing-room tickets are $33.

Getting There. I'm not going to kid you here: There's only one way to do so, and that's by car. You do not want to fly, because you'll end up spending over a thousand bucks and change planes in Philadelphia to go less than 400 miles, and the airport is out in Imperial, Pennsylvania, near Coraopolis and Aliquippa -- it's almost as close to West Virginia and Ohio as it is to downtown Pittsburgh. Oh, hell, no!

You do not want to take the train, because the Amtrak schedule simply doesn't work. The Pennsylvanian leaves Penn Station at 10:52 AM, and doesn't get to Pittsburgh's station of the same name until 7:59 PM, after the first puck-drop. And there's no overnight train that would leave at, say, 11 PM and arrive at 8 AM. And going back, the Pennsylvanian leaves at 7:30 AM and arrives back at 4:55 PM. No good. Round-trip fare, $239.

Greyhound isn't much better, but at least you have options. There are 14 buses a day between New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal and Pittsburgh, and it's $158 round-trip (though advanced purchase can get it down to $125. Leaving at 6:15 AM on Tuesday will get you to downtown Pitt at 5:55, giving you just enough time to get to a hotel and then get to the arena for a 7:00 start. The Greyhound station is at 55 11th Street, across Liberty Avenue from the Amtrak station.

The only sensible way is by car – especially if there's more than one of you going and you can take turns driving. It's 360 miles from the Prudential Center in downtown Newark to the PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh.

Take any highway that will get you to Interstate 78: For most of you, this will be the New Jersey Turnpike (Exit 14), the Garden State Parkway (Exit 142), or Interstate 287 (Exit 21). Follow I-78 West all the way through New Jersey, to Phillipsburg, and across the Delaware River into Easton, Pennsylvania. Continue west on I-78 until reaching Harrisburg. There, you will merge onto I-81. Take Exit 52 to U.S. Route 11, which will soon take you onto I-76. This is the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the nation's 1st superhighway, opening in 1940.

You'll be on it for another 3 hours – Pennsylvania is huge compared to a lot of Northeastern States. The political consultant James Carville, who got Bob Casey Sr., father of current U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr., elected Governor in 1986, says, "Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in the middle." He wasn't kidding: Between Philly and Pitt, it is very, very rural, hence the nickname "Pennsyltucky." It certainly explains the State's love of football: The Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State and high school ball. It also explains why John McCain and Mitt Romney thought they could win Pennsylvania in a Presidential election, and why Donald Trump actually did.

You'll take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Exit 57, the signs showing I-376 and U.S. 22 – the same Route 22 you might know from New Jersey, which I-78 was designed to replace – and the sign will say "Pittsburgh."
There will be several exits on I-376, the Penn-Lincoln Parkway, into the city of Pittsburgh. Most likely, if your hotel (which I hope you've reserved before you left) is downtown, you'll take Exit 71B, "Second Avenue." If you're not staying over, and just going for the game, take Exit 72B for Boulevard of the Allies. Make a right on Gist Street, then a left on Fifth Avenue. The arena will soon be on your right.

From North Jersey, you will probably need almost 6 hours just for driving. I recommend at least 2 rest stops, preferably after crossing over into Pennsylvania around Easton, and probably around either Harrisburg or Breezewood. So the whole thing, assuming nothing goes wrong, will probably take about 8 hours.

In other words, if you're driving in just for the game, and leaving right thereafter, you should leave New Jersey at 10 AM to arrive by 6 PM, and then leave at 10 PM to arrive back home around 6 AM. Again, I recommend getting a hotel and staying over. After all, you're not going to be in much shape to go to work on Wednesday morning, so you might as well ask for two days' off.

Once In the City. Pittsburgh has, by American standards, a long history. It was settled by the French as Fort Duquesne (Doo-KANE) in 1717, and captured by the British in 1758, and renamed Fort Pitt, for Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder. The General who captured it, John Forbes (for whom the Pirates' former park Forbes Field would be named), was a Scotsman, and he intended the town that grew around it to be named "Pittsburgh" -- pronounced "Pitts-burrah," like the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

From 1891 to 1911, the H was dropped from the city's name, and this was reflected on the Pirates' uniforms, which sometimes read "PITTSBURG," as seen on the famous 1909 "T-206" baseball card of Honus Wagner. But the Germanic "Pittsburg" went back to the Scottish "Pittsburgh," while keeping the Germanic pronunciation. (There is, however, a town named Pittsburg, with no H, in Kansas.)
With this long history, a great architectural diversity, and a dramatic skyline with lots of neat-looking skyscrapers, Pittsburgh looks like a much bigger city than it actually is. While the metropolitan area is home to 2.7 million people, the city proper has only 306,000, having lost over half its population since the nearby steel mills, coal mines, and other factories closed starting in the 1970s.

The reduction of blue-collar jobs led people to take comfort in their sports teams, especially in the 1970s. Either the Pirates or the Steelers made the Playoffs in every year of that decade, both of them did so in 4 of those 10 years, and the University of Pittsburgh (or just "Pitt," though they don't like that nickname at that school) had an undefeated National Championship season in 1976. The Pirates won 2 World Series in the decade, the Steelers 4 Super Bowls in 6 years.

Calendar year 1979, with spillover into January 1980, was an annus mirabilis, in which the "Steel Curtain" won Super Bowl XIII in January, the "Bucs" (or "Buccos," or "Lumber Company," or "Family") won the World Series in October, and the Steelers then went on to win Super Bowl XIV, with the Pirates' Willie Stargell and the Steelers' Terry Bradshaw being named Co-Sportsmen of the Year by Sports Illustrated and the city government advertising itself as the City of Champions.

The the ABA's Pipers were gone early the decade, but the city got a fictional basketball team because, in 1979, it was considered cool enough to film a sports movie there: The astrology-inspired The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, starring Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

(It was also at that time that, in order to ride the Pirates/Steelers bandwagon, the NHL's Penguins switched their colors from navy blue and yellow to black and gold, but it was several more years before they became a championship contender.)

While the loss of industry did mean a sharp, long-term decline, the financial, computer and health care industries opened new doors, and Pittsburgh is very much a now and tomorrow city. And they love their sports, having won 16 World Championships in 21 trips to their sports' finals (which gives them a .762 winning percentage in finals, the best of any city of at least 3 teams) -- and that doesn't count the 9 National Championships won by Pitt football, the Negro League Pennants won by the Homestead Grays (10) and the Pittsburgh Crawfords (4), or the 1968 ABA Championship won by the Pittsburgh Pipers.

Pittsburgh has numbered streets, moving east from Point State Park, where the Allegheny River to the north and the Monongahela River to the south merge to become the Ohio River -- hence the name of the former Pittsburgh sports facility, Three Rivers Stadium. North-south streets start their numbers at the Monongahela, and increase going north.

There is a subway system in the city, and it's free within the downtown triangle. But outside that area, a 1-zone ride is $2.50, and a 2-zone ride is $3.75. A 75-cent surcharge is added during rush hour, thus said subway fare is not free at that time. These fares are the same for city buses, although they're never free within the downtown triangle.
The sales tax in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is 6 percent, and Allegheny County (including the City of Pittsburgh) pushes it to 7 percent. ZIP Codes for Pittsburgh start with the digits 15, and for the rest of Western Pennsylvania 16. The Area Code for the city is 412, and for the suburbs 724, with 878 overlaid for both. Pittsburgh does not have a "beltway." Duquesne Light Holdings is the city's electric company.

The old Pittsburgh Press, once the 2nd-largest newspaper in Pennsylvania behind the Philadelphia Inquirer, went out of business due to a strike in 1992, before the city's remaining daily, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, brought it back in online form in 2011. That strike gave Richard Mellon Scaife, the current head of the legendary Pittsburgh metals and banking family, a chance to turn a local suburban paper into the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, spouting his right-wing fanatic views. It may be that the P-G brought back the Press to give the city 2 liberals voices against the 1 nutjob voice.

The city's population was 88 percent white in 1950. By 2010, that had dropped to 65 percent. It's 26 percent black, 4.4 percent Asian, and, surprising me, only 2.3 percent Hispanic.

Going In. The PPG Paints Arena is right downtown. The official address is 1001 Fifth Avenue. It was built across Centre Avenue from the Penguins' previous home, the Civic Arena, now demolished, and its address of 66 Mario Lemieux Place has been stricken from the U.S. Postal Service's records.
If you're driving in, parking is remarkably cheap for a big-league sporting event: It can be had at most nearby lots for as little as $6.75. You're most likely to be going in by the south (Fifth Avenue) or west (Washington Place) entrances.

The arena opened in 2010, as the CONSOL Energy Center. In 2016, PPG Industries, owner of the brand formerly known as Pittsburgh Paints -- Steeler linebacker Jack Lambert famously did a commercial for them, saying, "I'm telling you: Nobody beats Pittsburgh!" -- bought the naming rights. PPG originally stood for Pittsburgh Plate Glass, but now it doesn't stand for anything, and is just an identifier for the company. Both CONSOL and PPG are based in the Pittsburgh area.

The new arena seats 18,387 for Penguins and other hockey games, including the 2013 NCAA Championships (a.k.a. the Frozen Four); and 19,100 for basketball, for college tournaments and, in the unlikely event the NBA returns to Pittsburgh, the pros.

Just as the Civic Arena hosted the Beatles on one of their North American tours, its successor opened with a concert by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney on August 18, 2010. It's been rated one of the country's top concert venues.

The building and opening of this arena means that, for perhaps the first time in franchise history, the Penguins' long-term future in Pittsburgh is secure. The rink is laid out north-to-south. The Penguins attack twice toward the north end of the arena.
Food. Pittsburgh is a city of many ethnicities, and most of them love to eat food that really isnt good for you: Irish, Italian, Polish, Greek, and African-Americans with Soul Food and Barbecue. (Yes, I did mean to capitalize those last two. The styles deserve it.)

Primanti Brothers, the famous Pittsburgh deli chain that puts French fries on sandwiches, has a stand at Section 119. Chef's Carvery serves sandwiches outside 107. Stack, at 108, also serves sandwiches. SH Smokehouse, a barbecue stand, is at 205. A bar called the Miller Lite Brewhouse is outside 207 and overlooks the city's skyline. Highmark Healthier Choices is at 103, 106, 113, 116, 206, 211 and 230. Dairy Queen is at 105 and 234. Pizza Hut is at 107, 120, 212 and 232. Nakama Express serves Japanese food at 101, 105 and 111. Burgatory serves burgers, fries and shakes at 206. Pastries A-la-Carte is at 102.

Pierogi nachos, a Pittsburgh specialty, are served at stands all over the arena. And, just to show you that Pittsburgh is a civilized city, there are Dunkin Donuts stands at 109, 118 and 212.

Team History Displays. Because the Penguins are the arena's only major tenant, their championship banners are hung over center ice: The 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cups; the 1991, 1992, 2008, 2009, 2016 and 2017 Conference Championships; and the Division titles in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2013 and 2014. (They won the Cup in 1992, 2016 and 2017 without finishing 1st in their Division.)
As the Devils do, the Penguins hang their retired numbers along the side. In their case, 1 on each side: 21, Michael Briere; and 66, Mario Lemieux. Most likely, the 68 of Jaromir Jagr will be retired when he retires from hockey -- which he will do, eventually. And, of course, the 87 of Sidney Crosby will also go up there. The 29 of Marc-Andre Fleury and the 71 of Evgeni Malkin also might.
The Penguins have a team Hall of Fame, but I don't know where the display is at the arena. The 18 current members are:

* From the pre-Cup years, 1967 to 1990: General manager Jack Riley, center Syl Apps Jr. (son of the Toronto Maple Leafs legend), right wings Jean Pronovost and Rick Kehoe, defenseman Dave Burrows and goaltender Les Binkley.

* From their 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup Champions: Team owner Edward J. DeBartolo (father of the former San Francisco 49ers owner), longtime front office executive Elaine Heufelder (one of the few women with her name stamped on the Stanley Cup), general manager Craig Patrick (of hockey's first family, grandson of Lester Patrick), head coach Bob Johnson -- known as Badger Bob because he had been the head coach of the University of Wisconsin -- center Mario Lemieux, right wing Joe Mullen, defensemen Paul Coffey and Ulf Samuelsson, broadcaster Mike Lange, organist Vince Lascheid, and locker room attendants Anthony Caggiano and Frank Sciulli.

Lascheid was the organist for the Penguins from 1970 to 2003, and for the Pirates and the Steelers from 1970 until his death in 2009. Like Gladys Goodding in New York and John Kiley in Boston, he was the answer to a very cheesy municipal trivia question: "Who was the only person to 'play' for the Pirates, the Steelers and the Penguins?"

In 2003, a Pittsburgh Penguins Millennium Team was announced, displayed in a mural that was moved from the old arena to the new one: Johnson, Patrick, Binkley, Burrows, Kehoe, Pronovost, Lemieux, Jagr, Coffey, Samuelsson, later coach Herb Brooks (also head coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that featured later Penguin Mark Johnson, Badger Bob's son); and, also from the 1991 and '92 Cups, goalie Tom Barrasso, center Ron Francis, defenseman Larry Murphy, left wing Kevin Stevens and right wing Mark Recchi.

So far, no members of their 2009 Cup winners have been elected to either group. And, as I said, Jagr has not been. Oddly, neither has center Bryan Trottier, a star from the Islander dynasty who played on then Pens' Cup winners and has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Nor has Scotty Bowman, director of player development for the '91 and '92 Cups and head coach for the '92 win, replacing Johnson.

In 1998, The Hockey News named its 100 Greatest Players. In spite of their still being active, they named Lemieux, Jagr and Coffey. Lemieux, Jagr, Coffey, Francis and Crosby were named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players in 2017. And a statue of Leimeux stands outside the new arena.
Mark Johnson and Mike Ramsey were members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, and both went on to play for the Penguins. No member of the Penguins was selected for the 1972 Team Canada that also beat the Soviet Union. Bowman and Lemieux have been named to Canada's Walk of Fame.

Lemieux was elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame. He, Bob Johnson, Bowman, Patrick and Mullen have received the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in America.

The Penguins trail their cross-State rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers, a.k.a. the Battle of Pennsylvania, 174-122-30. Having both come into the NHL with the Great Expansion of 1967, they've played each other in 7 Playoff series, with the Flyers leading 4-3, although the Penguins knocked them out of the Playoffs last season.
The current Captains, Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby

The Pens' other major rivalry is with the Washington Capitals, fueled not just by proximity, but by the arrival in the 2005-06 season of Sidney Crosby with the Pens and Alexander Ovechkin with the Caps. The Pens lead the overall rivalry 148-125-16. They've played each other in 11 Playoff series, including each of the last 3 seasons, when the Pens eliminated the Caps on the way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017, while the Caps returned the favor on the way to their 1st-ever Cup in 2018. The Pens are 9-2 in these series, with 1994 being their only loss to the Caps until last season.
The current Captains, Crosby and Ovechkin, at an NHL All-Star Game

Stuff. The PensGear store is on the ground floor, on the northwest corner of the arena, on Centre Avenue. Smaller souvenir stands are all around the arena.

There aren't many books about the team. Right after the 2nd of the back-to-back Cup wins, Dave Molinari published Best In the Game: The Turbulent Story of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Rise to Stanley Cup Champions. As for their more recent triumph, Andrew Podnieks wrote Year of the Penguins: Celebrating Pittsburgh's 2008-09 Stanley Cup Championship Season.

Highlight DVDs from the 4 Stanley Cup seasons are available. The NHL also produced a Pittsburgh Penguins: 10 Greatest Games video, but it was released before the 2009 Cup win. Not surprisingly, the 1991 and 1992 Cup clinchers are included. Also unsurprisingly, there are no games in the set from before Lemieux arrived in 1984.

The set includes Lemieux's 5-goal-3-assist Playoff game against the Flyers in 1989, another 5-goal game from Number 66 clinching their NHL record 16th straight win in 1993, their 4-overtime Playoff epic with the Washington Capitals in 1996, Lemieux ending his 2nd retirement to score against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2000, Darius Kasparaitis' overtime winner against the Buffalo Sabres in a Playoff Game 7 in 2001, and, to your dismay and mine, 2 games against the Devils: The 1991 Playoff clincher and a 2006 game with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, none more than 20 years old, all scoring to beat our boys.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the Penguins' fans 9th: "Hugely popular, but the fan base left the building last time Pens were a bad team." That is not Steeler-level loyalty.

If you were a Flyers fan going into the PPG Paints Arena, or a Cleveland Browns fan or (a little less so) a Baltimore Ravens fan, going into Heinz Field to face the Steelers, you might be in a bit of trouble. But as a Devils fan going into the PPGPA, you'll be fine. You can wear your Scarlet &Black gear without fear of drunken bums physically hassling you.

They're certainly not going to hurt you if you don't provoke them. Just don't say anything bad about Lemieux or the Steelers, and you should be fine. And, for God's sake (not to mention that of its inventor, the late Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope), do not mock or deface The Terrible Towel, that great symbol of Steelerdom. You might not see any at a Penguins game, but they take that particular item very seriously, even pointing out that other NFL teams have lost after mocking it, leading to the phrase "The Curse of the Terrible Towel."

The Cleveland Indians are in the American League, Pittsburgh doesn't have an NBA team, Cleveland doesn't have an NHL team, and neither city has an MLS team, so the Steelers-Browns dynamic doesn't cross over into any other sports, the way Yankees-Red Sox becomes Jets-Patriots or Knicks-Celtics or Rangers-Bruins – or Mets-Phillies becomes Giants-Eagles or Rangers-Flyers. Being put in a separate Conference, let alone Division, and being mostly terrible since coming into existence, Ohio's NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, doesn't generate much heat from Penguin fans. Even Penn State-Ohio State isn't that big a rivalry. Pitt-Penn State is another story, as is Pitt-West Virginia, "the Backyard Brawl."

Neither of the Penguins' home games against the Devils this season will feature promotions. Their mascot is named Iceburgh, and he looks nothing like either of the logos the team has worn over the years. Indeed, he looks more like something you'd find on The Muppet Show than at a hockey game. Like N.J. Devil, he wears Number 00.
Gonzo the Not-So-Great

Jeff Jimerson sings the National Anthem for the Penguins, and did so in the 1995 film Sudden Death.
The Penguins' goal song is "Kernkraft 4000" by Zombie Nation, replacing "Song 2" (a.k.a. "Whoo Hoo!") by Blur.

Pens fans have a habit of remembering that they're also Steeler fans and singing, "Here we go, Steelers, here we go!" during their games. (It's been known to happen at Pirate and Pitt football games, too.) As far as I can tell, the Pens don't have a postgame victory song, but I don't think the current Pirates would mind if they adopt the 1979 Bucs' anthem, "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge.

After the Game. There are several sports-themed bars near the arena, many of which date to the glory days at the Civic Arena. Souper Bowl is at 5th & Washington, while Tailgaters is at Centre & Crawford. However, the amount of establishments around the arena is limited by the parking lot where the old arena used be on the north, and the Catholic (and therefore, at least officially, discouraging of drinking) Duquesne University campus to the south.

South of downtown, across the Monongahela River on the South Shore – or, they say in Pittsburghese, the Sou'side – is Station Square, an indoor and outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex. This is a popular gathering place, although as New Yorkers you'll be hopelessly outnumbered. When I first visited Pittsburgh in 2000 (I saw the Pirates hit 4 homers at Three Rivers but lose to the Cards thanks to a steroid-aided mammoth blast by Mark McGwire), there was a restaurant with a Pittsburgh Sports Hall of Fame at Station Square, but as far as I can tell it is no longer there.

North of downtown, where the Monongahela and the Allegheny come together to form the Ohio, where PNC Park and Heinz Field are, across from where Three Rivers Stadium used to be, is Jerome Bettis' Grille 36, named for the Steeler legend and his uniform number. It's at 393 North Shore Drive.

Carson City Saloon, at 1401 E. Carson Street, is said to be a Jets fans' bar. Bus 51. So is the William Penn Tavern, at 739 Bellefonte Street in the Shadyside section of town. Also in that neighborhood is the area's top Giant fans' bar, The Casbah, 229 S. Highland Avenue. Bus 71 for the WPT and the Casbah.

When I did this piece in 2014, I was told by a local that the Brillo Box was owned by a New Yorker, but, not having been to Pittsburgh since, I cannot confirm this. And one source I found to back it up calls it a "hipster" place. If "yinz" (Pittsburghese for "youse") want to take your chances, it's at 4104 Penn Avenue at Main Street. Bus 88.

If you visit Pittsburgh during the European soccer season, which we are now in, the city's leading soccer bar is Piper's Pub, at 1828 East Carson Street. No matter what club you support, you can almost certainly find its game on TV there. Bus 48. Unless you're a Liverpool fan, in which case you may prefer their outpost in the Steel City (Pittsburgh, not Sheffield): Cain's Saloon, at 3239 W. Liberty Avenue, 4 miles down the South Side. Red Line to Dormont Junction.

Sidelights. Pittsburgh has a long and storied sports history, if a real hit-and-miss one.

UPDATE: On November 30, 2018, Thrillist published a list of "America's 25 Most Fun Cities," and Pittsburgh came in 24th. 

As I said, the Civic Arena was across the street from the new arena, between Bedford Avenue, Fullerton Street, Centre Avenue and Washington Place. The official mailing address for "the Igloo" in its last few years was 66 Mario Lemieux Place.
Built in 1961 for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, it had a retractable roof before additional seating made such retraction impossible. It hosted the American Hockey League's Pittsburgh Hornets from then until 1967, and then the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins until 2010. It was officially known as the Mellon Arena from 1999 to 2010, when the naming rights expired.
The Pittsburgh Pipers, later renamed the Pittsburgh Condors, played there, and won the 1st ABA Championship in 1968, led by Brooklyn native Connie Hawkins. (He would be named to the ABA's All-Time Team.) Larry Holmes barely hung on to the Heavyweight Championship of the World there, getting off the canvas to knock Renaldo Snipes out on November 6, 1981.

The Beatles played there on September 14, 1964. Elvis Presley sang there on June 25 & 26, 1973 and December 31, 1976. It was demolished in 2011.

Pittsburgh hasn't had anything resembling a major league basketball team since the Condors moved in 1973. The new version of the ABA is officially "semi-pro," and has a team called the Steel City Yellow Jackets, who began play in the 2014-15 season. They play on the campus of the Community College of Allegheny County, at a building called the "A Giving Heart Community Center." 808 Ridge Avenue, across (or, rather, under) the elevated highway from Heinz Field.

On May 12, 2014, the New York Times printed a story that shows NBA fandom by ZIP Code, according to Facebook likes. The PPG Paints Arena is 134 miles from Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Pittsburghers toss aside their NFL-bred hatred of Cleveland to support the Cavaliers (even with the return of LeBron James): They seem to divide their fandom up among 4 "cool teams": The Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Philadelphia 76ers, only 309 miles away? Forget it.

It's unlikely that Pittsburgh will ever seek out a new NBA team. If they did get one, the metro area would rank 22nd in population among NBA markets.

* PNC Park. The Pirates opened this 38,362-seat ballpark, which opens to a spectacular view of downtown Pittsburgh, on the North Side in 2001. It took them until 2013 to reach the postseason there, but they've now done so in 3 straight seasons. 115 Federal Street at 6th Street. Metro to North Side Station. Or you can walk there from downtown. over the 6th Street Bridge, now renamed the Roberto Clemente Bridge and painted Pittsburgh Gold.

Exposition Park, home of the Pirates from 1891 to 1909, was nearly on the site of PNC Park. The 1st home of the Pirates, Recreation Park, was roughly on the site of Heinz Field.

This was also the site of the 1st football game played by an openly professional player. Yale University star William "Pudge" Heffelfinger was paid $500 (about $12,800 in today's money) to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, and scored the game's only points in a 4-0 Allegheny win. (Under the scoring system of the time, a touchdown was 4 points.)

There are historical markers in the complex for both Exposition Park (as one of the sites, along with the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, of the 1st World Series) and Recreation Park (as the site of the 1st professional football game -- though the 1st all-professional game was in 1895 in nearby Latrobe).

* Heinz Field. This is a far better palace for football than the concrete oval Three Rivers Stadium was. It has a statue of Steeler founder-owner Art Rooney outside, and, on gameday, 68,400 Terrible Towel-waving black and gold maniacs inside.

The Steelers hosted the AFC Championship Game in the stadium's 1st season, 2001 (losing it to the New England Patriots, and again in 2004 (losing to the Pats again), 2008 (beating the Baltimore Ravens) and 2010 (beating the Jets).

A 2007 article named it the best stadium in the NFL, tied with Lambeau Field in Green Bay. It also hosts the University of Pittsburgh's football team. On September 10, 2016, the renewal of the Pitt-Penn State rivalry, now labeled the Keystone Classic, set a stadium attendance record of 69,983. Pitt won a thriller, 42-39.

Heinz Field also hosted the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, in which the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 3-1 to the Washington Capitals. In 2017, it hosted an NHL Stadium Series game, in which the Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. In the Summer of 2014, it hosted a soccer game, in which defending English champions Manchester City beat Italian giants AC Milan 5-1. 100 Art Rooney Avenue.

Three Rivers' address, famously, was 600 Stadium Circle, and that location, which has (like the Civic Arena's 66 Mario Lemieux Place) been stricken from postal records, was between Heinz Field and PNC Park. It was there that the Steelers won the 1971 and 1979 World Series (actually, they clinched in Baltimore both times), and the Steelers reached 5 Super Bowls, winning 4.

* Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street at 12th Street, a couple of minutes' walk from Union/Penn Station and Greyhound. It includes the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. (Senator Heinz, of the condiment-making family, was the first husband of Teresa Heinz Kerry, who nearly became First Lady in 2004.)

* Forbes Quadrangle and site of Forbes Field. This set of buildings, part of the University of Pittsburgh campus, was the site of Forbes Field, home of the Pirates from 1909 to 1970, the Steelers from 1933 to 1963, and the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues from 1929 to 1950.

The Steelers never won a title there, and indeed only hosted 1 Playoff game, which they lost. But the Pirates won 3 World Series while playing there, and the Grays won 11 Pennants and the 1943, 1944 and 1948 Negro World Series.

Forbes Field was also the site of the 3rd of the 4 fights for the Heavyweight Championship of the World between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott, on July 18, 1951. Walcott won, becoming, at the time, the oldest Heavyweight Champion ever: 37.

Included on the site is the last standing remnant of Forbes Field, part of the outfield wall, with ivy still growing on it. (Wrigley Field in Chicago wasn't the only park with ivy on its outfield wall.) Where the wall stops, you'll see a little brick path, and eventually you'll come to a plaque that shows where the ball hit by Mazeroski crossed over the fence to win the Series.

Home plate has been preserved, in Wesley W. Posvar Hall, named for the longtime UP Chancellor. An urban legend says that, if it was in its exact original location, it would now be in a ladies' restroom; this isn't quite the case, but it's still at roughly the same spot.

If you've ever seen the picture of Mazeroski in mid-swing, you'll recognize the Carnegie Museum & Library in the background, and it is still there. If you've ever seen a picture of a Gothic-looking tower over the 3rd-base stands, that's the Cathedral of Learning, the centerpiece of UP (or "Pitt"), and it's still there as well. A portion of the wall, including the 406-foot marker that can be seen with the Mazeroski ball going over it, was moved to Three Rivers and now to PNC Park.

Intersection of Forbes Avenue and Bouquet Street. Pick up the Number 71 bus at 5th Avenue at Ross Street, and it will take you down 5th Avenue to Oakland Avenue. From there, it's a 2-minute walk to the Quadrangle and Posvar Hall.

* Petersen Events Center. The home arena for Pitt basketball, it was built on the site of Pitt Stadium, where they played their football games from 1925 to 1999, and where the Steelers played part-time starting in 1958 and full-time starting in 1964 until 1969. Part-time from 1970 to 1999, and full-time in 2000, Pitt shared Three Rivers with the Steelers, and they've shared Heinz Field since 2001.

Pitt Stadium was home to such legends as Dr. Jock Sutherland (a dentist and football coach), Marshall "Biggie" Goldberg, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, and, if you want to stretch the meaning of "legend," Dan Marino. If you're a Giants fan, this is where they played the Steelers on September 20, 1964, and Giant quarterback Y.A. Tittle got clobbered by the Steelers' John Baker, resulting in that famous picture of Tittle kneeling, with blood streaming down his bald head, providing a symbolic end to the Giants' glory days of Frank Gifford, Sam Huff and quarterbacks Charlie Conerly and Tittle.

Terrace Street and Sutherland Drive. From 1951 to 2002, before moving into Petersen, Pitt played basketball at Fitzgerald Field House. At 4,122 seats, it was very intimidating for visitors, but much too small for a major college basketball team, and most of their big-draw games had to be played at the Civic Arena. Building the Petersen Center allowed them a 12,508-seat on-campus arena. The old and new arenas are across Sutherland Drive from each other, a 5-minute walk from Forbes Quadrangle.

* Site of Greenlee Field. William Augustus "Gus" Greenlee was one of Pittsburgh's premier black businessmen -- but was both a gangster and a philanthropist. In 1932, he built Greenlee Field for the Negro League team he owned, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, named for another business he owned, the Crawford Grill.

Seating 7,500, it was the Craws' home from 1932 to 1938, when, for reasons beyond his control, he had to make changes that led to fans staying away, and he had to sell the team after the season, lasting 2 more years in other cities before folding. But, led by Hall-of-Famers Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson and James "Cool Papa" Bell, they won Pennants in 1935 and 1936.

Like Ebbets Field, it was on a Bedford Avenue. The Bedford Dwellings housing project is now on the site. 2501 Bedford Avenue, off Chauncey Drive (not Chauncey Street, as in Brooklyn), a mile and a half east of downtown. Bus 83.

* Site of Duquesne Gardens. Pittsburgh's original sports arena opened in 1895, and had an unofficial limit of 8,000 spectators. It hosted the NHL team named the Pittsburgh Pirates from their founding in 1925 until the Great Depression did them in in 1930. It hosted minor-league hockey teams from the beginning until its closing in 1956, including the Hornets from 1936 to 1956. It hosted the Duquesne and Pitt basketball teams, and the Pittsburgh Ironmen in the NBA's 1st season, 1946-47.
Once bigger arenas like the old Madison Square Garden went up in the 1920s, seating more than twice as many people, the Duquesne Gardens was obsolete. Yet it hung on until 1956. 110 N. Craig Street, at 5th Avenue, near the Pitt campus. University housing is now on the site. Also accessible via the Number 71 bus.

* Highmark Stadium. Pittsburgh doesn't have a Major League Soccer team. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds play in the United Soccer League (USL), the 2nd tier of American soccer. Their home field is Highmark Stadium, and it seats a mere 3,500 fans, about the size of the average high school football stadium in New Jersey. But its placement on the south bank of the Monongahela, across from downtown, gives it a view every bit as good as the one from PNC Park. 510 W. Station Square Drive. Subway to Station Square.

The closest MLS team to Pittsburgh is, for the moment, their fellow wearers of Black & Gold, the Columbus Crew. 189 miles to the west. If, as is planned, the Crew do move to Austin, Texas for next season, the closest team would be, surprise, D.C. United, 250 miles to the southeast, not the Philadelphia Union, 312 miles to the east, slightly closer than Toronto FC, 314 miles to the north.

* Roberto Clemente Museum. A fan group tried to buy Honus Wagner's house in nearby Carnegie and turn it into a museum, but this is the only museum devoted to a single Pittsburgh athlete, who was viewed as a supporting player on the 1960 title and the driving force behind the one in 1971, prior to his tragic death in a plane crash off Puerto Rico, trying to bring relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year's Eve 1972.

Clemente wasn't the 1st Hispanic player in the major leagues (white Cuban Charles "Chick" Pedroes played 2 games for the Cubs in 1902), nor was he the 1st black Hispanic player (Minnie Minoso debuted with the Chicago White Sox in 1949). But he was the 1st to really take hold in the public imagination, to the point where later Hispanic stars wore Number 21 in his honor, and there is a movement to have the number retired throughout baseball as was done for Jackie Robinson (but it is not likely to succeed). 3339 Penn Avenue at 34th Street. Bus 87 to Herron Avenue.

Pittsburgh has never hosted an NCAA Final Four. Duquesne University reached the 2nd Final Four (not that it was called that back then) in 1940, and Pitt did so in 1941 -- no Western Pennsylvania school has done so since.

In fact, Pittsburgh has never been a big basketball city: The Pittsburgh Ironmen played in the NBA's 1st season, 1946-47, and only that season, and are best known now for having had Press Maravich, father of Pistol Pete, play for them; and the ABA's Pittsburgh Pipers, later the Pittsburgh Condors, won that league's first title in 1967-68, but that was it. The most successful Pittsburgh basketball team may well have been the Pittsburgh Pisces in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.

The University of Pittsburgh is on the town's East Side. Penn State is 139 miles to the northeast in State College. West Virginia University, Pitt's other big rival, is 76 miles to the south in Morgantown. Greyhound provides service to State College, Megabus to Morgantown.

The U.S. Steel Tower, at 7th & Grant Avenues, is the tallest building in Pittsburgh, at 841 feet -- although there are 4 buildings in Philadelphia that surpass it for the title of tallest building in Pennsylvania. Built in 1971, it surpassed the 1932-built Gulf Tower, on the opposite corner from U.S. Steel.

There haven't been many TV shows set in Pittsburgh. They include My So-Called Life, Hope and Gloria, Queer as Folk, Man with a Plan, the World War II-era period piece Remember WENN, and This Is Us, which bounces around between 1980 and the present day.

Mr. Belvedere, starring Christopher Hewett as a butler to a family led by a sportswriter played by ballplayer-turned-broadcaster Bob Uecker, was set in nearby Beaver Falls, hometown of Jets legend Joe Namath, but it was filmed in Los Angeles. The most notable TV shows actually taped in Pittsburgh, at the PBS station WQED-Channel 13, were Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Fred Rogers was from Latrobe, and in spite of his show's success, he never moved the taping to New York or Hollywood. He notably had Steeler receiver Lynn Swann on his show, to show that even a big tough football player (or, at least, a graceful wide receiver) could love ballet (which explained how Swannie got such nice moves in the first place). A statue of Mr. Rogers, sponsored by TV Land, is near Heinz Field, as is one of Steeler founder-owner Art Rooney.

A lot of movies have been shot in Pittsburgh, due to its varied architecture. Many have had sports scenes. You may have seen the 1994 version of Angels in the Outfield, which involved the team then known as the California Angels. The original black-and-white version came out in 1951, and the downtrodden team they featured was the Pirates, and there's some nice shots of Forbes Field in it. Some nice shots of Janet Leigh, too. (Jamie Lee Curtis' mom -- no, unlike in some other films such as Psycho, Janet doesn't flash any skin in this one, but now you know why Tony Curtis married her, and where Jamie Lee inherited the goods.)

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh was a very silly, very Seventies movie, with Julius "Dr. J" Erving playing for the good guys and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar playing for the opposition. Sudden Death had Jean-Claude Van Damme trying to stop an assassination attempt at the Stanley Cup Finals. Both featured the old Civic Arena. Van Damme also filmed Timecop in Pittsburgh.

While most of The Dark Knight Rises was filmed in New York (with a few CGI bridges added to the skyline to create the atmosphere of the fictional Gotham City), and its 2 predecessors were filmed in Chicago, the football game scene was filmed at Heinz Field, with the fictional Gotham Rogues wearing Steeler black & gold. (They even made up a fake website for the team, including the Rogue Rag, a takeoff on the Terrible Towel.) Real-life Steeler legend Hines Ward returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown as Bane's bomb collapsed the field behind him, and playing the opposition's kicker was real-life Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The scene where Gary Oldman goes to Matthew Modine's house to prepare for the final assault may also have been filmed in Pittsburgh, although the row-house style resembles Philadelphia. Some of the movie was filmed in Newark, but that street doesn't look like any part of Newark I've ever seen. You'd have to get as far south as Trenton to see Philly-style rowhouses in New Jersey, but then they've got 'em all along the Delaware River, in places like Bordentown, Burlington and Camden. Maybe it's a Pennsylvania thing.

One of Tom Cruise's first big films was All the Right Moves, a high school football movie set in Pittsburgh. He returned to Pittsburgh to film Jack Reacher. A movie with more life in it, the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead, was filmed in Pittsburgh. Its sequel Dawn of the Dead was filmed at the Monroeville Mall in the eastern suburbs, and the concluding chapter Day of the Dead back in the city.

Gung Ho, with Michael Keaton, spoofed the decline of Pittsburgh industry. Flashdance, with Jennifer Beals, turned the declining Pittsburgh dream on its head. Boys On the Side seemed to wink at it. And Groundhog Day starts in Pittsburgh before moving east to Punxsutawney. However, those aren't sports movies. (Although, with Jennifer Beals, Drew Barrymore and Andie MacDowell in them, there may be some heavy breathing.)

But the greatest movie shot in Western Pennsylvania was the 1977 hockey classic Slap Shot. Nancy Dowd wrote it about her brother Ned's experience with the Johnstown Jets, who played at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena. That arena, and minor-league arenas in New York State's Syracuse, Utica and Clinton, were used as filming locations, even though the film's Charlestown Chiefs were said to be in the Charlestown section of Boston. After the real Jets moved out, the replacement team was named the Johnstown Chiefs in honor of the crew led by player-coach Reggie Dunlop, played by Paul Newman.

The 4,000-seat arena, built in 1950, still stands, and is now home to a team called the Johnstown Tomahawks. 326 Napoleon Street in Johnstown, 67 miles east of Pittsburgh. It's a 15-minute walk from the Amtrak station, and the museum honoring the Johnstown Flood of 1889 is along the way.


Pittsburgh is a terrific city that loves its sports, and PPG Paints Arena is one of the best of the new hockey arenas. Hopefully, the Devils can muss up "Cindy" Crosby and his teammates. And win the game, too.