The past weekend was a blur for us, but in a good way.  Between the return of the NHL and the NFL Championship Sunday, it was a great weekend to be a sports fan.

Saturday brought us the long-awaited return of the National Hockey League and to be honest, I was curious to see what kind of turnout we'd get.  As I mentioned in previous blog posts, there was a lot of resentment towards the NHL for starting the lockout and there had be growing rumors of fans staging boycotts and turing their back on the league who, in their eyes, had turned their backs on them.

When the 3pm games started, there were four girls at the bar, anxious to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers game.  Nobody else.  I went to the NHL Store to pick up a few things to raffle off for the night games and when I returned an hour later, the bar was full of hockey fans.  That was at 4pm.  By the time the 7pm games started, we were packed with Rangers fans, Bruins fans, Islanders, Devils, Habs and Leafs fans, all excited to see the return of the game.

I guess it's safe to say that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was right: The fans will return, and they surely did. Damn him!

In any case, the crowd was totally into the return of the NHL and the great matchups that kicked off the mini-season: NY Rangers/Boston Bruins, NY Islanders/NJ Devils, and Montreal Canadiens/Toronto Maple Leafs. Lots of good-natured banter throughout the bar, and within a few minutes, it was forgotten that there was even a lockout.  Very encouraging to see.

Sunday was going to be a pretty exciting day for an entirely different reason;  It was NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY with two great games on tap: Atlanta vs San Francisco and Baltimore vs New England.

We were already expecting a good crowd for both games, but for added excitement, we decided to host a "Chili Cook-Off".  We have a number of budding "chefs" among our regulars, so we figured this was a good way to have them show off their culinary skills.  So we invited anyone who was interested in showing off their skills to prepare some chili and enter it in our contest.  We ended up with five entries, so we let the patrons sample all five and they got to vote on which chili they liked the best.  The entry with the most votes won, and in this case,  SEXY LEXY was voted the winner, collecting some cool swag from BUDWEISER and LONG TRAIL in the process.  Congratulations!

The rest of the day was capped with two exciting games; The first one being a comeback thriller, won by San Francisco, 28-24, while the second game started out close, but ended up with Baltimore pulling away with a 28-13 win in a mild upset.  This sets up an interesting Super Bowl, with San Francisco facing Baltimore on February 3.  What's more interesting about this matchup is that the two head coaches are brothers:  This would mark the first time that two brothers coached against each other in a Super Bowl.  In any case, this should make for a great (and intriguing) Super Bowl, and we anticipate a good day of football and high-jinks!

PLEASE NOTE: Pub Trivia will take place on Tuesday (Jan 22) this week instead of its usual Wednesday slot, due to our NY RANGERS/BOSTON BRUINS VIEWING PARTY (Wednesday, Jan 23, 7pm).  Make it a point to join us!  

Thanks for reading and sorry for the long post!


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