The last 2 days were spent like every “week before Christmas” weekend for me and my wife. Swearing under our breath at rude people in the mall while we try to finish our Christmas shopping. Once we were done with that my wife reminded me that our fridge presently consisted of about 2 apples, milk that was 2 days past the expiry date, and something in some Tupperware that used to be edible. We needed to go grocery shopping and my wife made the following suggestion: “Do you want to check out the new grocery store in Maple Leaf Gardens?”. Yes I do honey, yes I do!

As we walked down College street, I started going back to my first trip to the building: February 1st 1992. It was my first time at an NHL game. We had 4 tickets, one for me, one for my dad, and my two uncles came as well. The Leafs were taking on the New Jersey Devils. How different was this trip? VERY different!

First Trip: Was so excited on the way there, I almost made myself sick

Last Trip: Was nervous to see what they did to the historic building

This renovation had been talked about for years. Some were very against it, while others thought it was a great idea. I was in the middle. I am a hockey history geek. Even though I am not a Leaf fan, I still realize how important this arena is. Now I was going grocery shopping in it? It felt a bit….wrong.

First Trip: “This place is huge”- Me

Last Trip: “This place is FRIGGEN huge” -Me

You would think that since I have grown a little since 1992, that the building would seem smaller. Nope! When I got my first overall glimpse inside the store, I kept thinking how big it was. Picture the biggest grocery sore you have ever been in, now triple it. We were in for a LONG day.

First Trip: “Dad can I have a hotdog?”- Me

Last Trip: “Honey should we get some….sushi?”- Me

I know there is a whole new generation of Leafs fans who have watched games at the Air Canada Centre and don’t find the site of a sushi restaurant strange at all. I am not one of those people. There were so many different kinds of food that you could eat it was crazy. Gourmet Pastas, Sandwiches, Pizzas, this place had it all. No peanuts and beer to be found.

First Trip: I felt like I was in the oldest building in the world

Last Trip: There was evidence that you were in an old building

I kept going back and forth. The setup made you feel like you were in a new building. They you would run smack into a giant cement load bearing beam and you remembered that the building was built in the 1930′s. I like that they left certain areas alone to remind you exactly where you were…like this shot of where many fans climbed steps to their seats

First Trip: Sat in “Reds”

Last Trip: Felt what it was like to sit in the precious “Golds”

First Trip: ” I can’t wait to come back”- Me

Last Trip: “I guess I would come back” -Me

As a hockey fan, I feel like some of the history was lost. I didn’t feel that same nostalgia as I did on that night almost 20 years ago. That being said, as a grocery shopper, how can you not go back? As my wife said, “They have  fruits I have never even heard of”. Tim Horton just rolled over in his grave.

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Let’s head to the links

Have you wondered why players have number son their helmets this year? Pro Hockey talk has the answer

Raffi wants people to tune out Don Cherry. (yes I’m talking about the children’s singer…stop laughing). (Puck Daddy)

Dirty Dangle making us laugh again! Here is Brendan Shanahan’s naughty and nice list

Speaking of Shanahan, Day’s of Y’Orr had some fun with Photoshop

I love when a a picture of a certain player looks ridiculous…Sorry Evgeni (Barry Melrose Rocks)

The Good Point looks at a few reasons why people are forgetting about John Tavares

The Royal Half keeps us up to date on all the Pun headline writers that are working for NHL.com

Are the Rangers in the market for a veteran defenceman? Blueshirt banter says no

and some breaking news: Steve Mason made a save