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TELL-US-STRADER: HOPPING ACROSS NORTH AMERICA

Tuesday, 04.21.2009 / 1:09 PM / Tell-Us-Strader: a Blog by Dave Strader
By Dave Strader
Hello again from on the road covering the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Versus.

This trip has been a true case of Planes, Trains and Automobiles for me. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I drove my car from Glendale, Ariz., to Troy, Mich., before the playoffs began. After three flights to three different cities and several taxi cabs, I’m now on the train from New York City to Philadelphia for Game 4 between the Penguins and Flyers.

Last night at Madison Square Garden was a great playoff atmosphere. As I mentioned on our telecast, there are so many great venues and fans around the NHL, but there is something unique about MSG. It has special meaning for me every time I do an event there because it was at MSG where I first dreamed of becoming a sportscaster. As a young boy who grew up a fan of the Knicks, I remember each time we’d make the three-hour drive to the city to see a game at the Garden. In fact, I was part of one of the very first sellouts at the “new” garden in 1968…an NBA pre-season doubleheader that featured the Bulls-Pistons and Knicks-Celtics. For all the younger fans reading this blog, this was the NBA that included the likes of Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Sloan and Walt Frazier. In between those trips to the Garden I would be glued to my transistor radio listening to Marv Albert call the games on WNEW. That’s what first got me thinking about a career in sports broadcasting. But, I digress…let’s get back to hockey.

Monday was a hectic day for me as I had done the Vancouver at St. Louis game on Sunday night. But, my travel went smoothly and I was able to see a couple of coaches from both teams before I headed up to the booth. Before the end of the first period I received a text from Tyson Nash. I thought he had turned on the game and was just sending me a note. As it turned out, he was at the Garden! His friend and ex-Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris had set him up with tickets. I didn’t get a chance to see them after the game, but I’m sure Nasher enjoyed the Big Apple.

New York's Nik Antropov (center) collides with Washington goaltender Simeon Varlamov on Monday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson).
The Capitals that we had come to enjoy and respect throughout the regular season showed up for Game 3 of their series with the Rangers. Bruce Boudreau made a bold move sticking with 20-year-old goaltender Simeon Varlamov and the kid responded with a shutout. At the other end, the line of Ovechkin-Semin-Backstrom was too much for the Rangers to handle. The Rangers now lead two games to one, but this series still has the potential to go the distance, and I like the Caps in that scenario.

It should be another great atmosphere at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia tonight. Coverage on Versus begins at 4 p.m. in Arizona.

Thanks again for stopping by phoenixcoyotes.com and I’ll be back with another update later in Round One.




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