It's a hockey trip in Pittsburgh

Living six hours away from Pittsburgh, it's always exciting making a trip for a Penguins game. I return to a time when I was in 4th grade and seeing Lemieux, Jagr and Francis from the C level at the Igloo for my very first game. I get the same feeling walking into the new barn today. There's always a ritual for an out of towner like myself I do before each game. Seeing I'll be there this Saturday vs. Sabers, here's my itinerary.

First, how cool is the view once you get out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel? I love that. It's such a warm welcoming sight for the bone crushing hits I'll see later that night.

The first stop after checking into the hotel is a lunch date with Primanti Bros. My fiance and I first heard about them through Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. From there, it's become a staple of every trip for a game. I haven't been there enough to have a favorite. I'll take any suggestions.

Then it's back to the hotel to suit up. I won't wear my jersey around town until I know once I leave the hotel I'm going to the game. My choice for Saturday night is Brooks Orpik. My fiance will wear Geno. Both with the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals patch. Huge.

My dad and I would always stay at the Marriott across the street from the Igloo each trip for a game. It was there we realized the bar that was down in the lobby. Since those trips as a child, the downstairs bar has become an all out pregame site for Pens games. They have the Labatt carts out by the check-in desk. It's a great spot to get some brews in you and talk hockey with some other fans. I still couldn't tell you the name of the place for sure, but it's fantastic.

We always get inside the arena in time for the warm up skate. This is as close as we ever get to the players living out of state. It's worth the price of admission to me. Nothing like seeing the players up close and see the intensity on their faces. By far the best part of any Penguins trip.

After the game, my fiance and I always make a post game pizza run. We found Milanos near the arena a few years back, and there hasn't been another place we've gone since. Great food for sure. The best part for me is the security guard they always have at the counter. I guess in the past it gets rowdy after games. He has to watch me like a hawk. What a mall cop.

Then after we come to in the morning from all the Labatt we consumed, we usually work our way down to Six Penn Kitchen for breakfast. Great deviled eggs.

For people who live in Pittsburgh and leave before the game ends or takes regular season games for granted piss me off. As someone who travels from Indiana to see my favorite team play, I always enjoy every moment of the trip. It makes my passion for the Pens even greater to get the chance to see them in action. And the best part about this year is I get to come back a second time to see the Flyers in April. Suck it Talbo and Jagr.

You know where we'll be this Saturday. Tweet me at @knucklepucker and lets meet, talk hockey and drink Labatt. LETS GO PENS!


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