GLENDALE – Wednesday was the calm before the storm, if you will, inside Jobing.com Arena as the Coyotes prepared for the Blackhawks and workers prepared the building for more than 17,000 boisterous fans who will come decked out in white on Thursday for Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series.
► NOTE: Look at the bottom of this story for a listing of what’s happening before Game 1 begins outside Jobing.com Arena.
Whiteout 2012 is upon us, and with it Coyotes fans hope to create a challenging environment for the Blackhawks to play in.
Team employees spent part of their Wednesday making sure banners were securely in place and placing WhiteOut T-shirts on each seat for every fan who comes through the door.
The Coyotes prepared for Game 1 as well, and defenseman Keith Yandle
couldn’t help but notice the transformation taking place around the rink.
“You see the T-shirts going up already and you almost get a sense of getting ready for the game tomorrow,” said Yandle, who will be making his third postseason appearance with the Coyotes. “Even though we’re a day away you’re itching to play and you want to get out there and you wish the game was today.”
Yandle added that once he and his teammates leave the dressing room the fans remind them that it’s time to be ready to play.
“When you start walking out (to the ice) you can hear them,” Yandle said. “You know what to expect, especially guys that have been here, you know it’s going to be crazy and it’s going to be fun.”
Forward Paul Bissonnette
also noticed the preparations taking place on Wednesday and talked about how this is an exciting time for the Coyotes. Watching the arena transform into WhiteOut mode also reminds Bissonnette about the first playoff game he appeared in last season.
“It was pretty special,” Bissonnette said. “It’s hard to describe. A lot of nerves, so much energy, it was pretty cool. You feed off the crowd a lot more and I thought that was one of the biggest things.”
Of course, the United Center in Chicago also is known for being an electric place to play in the playoffs, and someone who knows that better than most Coyotes is defenseman Adrian Aucoin
Aucoin, who played in Chicago for two seasons, said the Coyotes fans and the WhiteOut definitely hold their own against the “roar” inside the United Center.
“My first playoff game here two years ago against Detroit was really shocking because we don’t have a notoriously loud building, but it was very impressive,” Aucoin said. “It’s tough to put up anything against Chicago’s experience, just because people passionately have been doing it for decades there. But our fans here are outstanding, and they can rival anyone.”
► NOTE: Below is a partial checklist of what’s happening outside the arena on Thursday before Game 1. The party starts at 4:30 p.m. and the arena doors open at 5:30 p.m.
• Live Music by Mill's End (starts @ 5 p.m.)
• Fox Sports Arizona live pre-game show
• XTRA Sports 910 live broadcast from 2 - 6:30 p.m.
• Dunk tank
• Coyotes merchandise for sale