The Washington Times - September 28, 2011, 06:35PM

It’s my first full season as a traveling NHL beat writer, so it’s a chance to see plenty of new arenas around North America.

Along the way, there will be some hiccups. So here’s the first installment of “Whyno gets lost in road arenas,” and your chance to laugh and my problems.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. | My hotel is about a block and a half from Bridgestone Arena, so it’s hard for even directionally challenged me to get lost walking to the rink.

Once outside at about 4:10 Central time, I found the media entrance easily, thanks to help from The Post’s Katie Carrera, who came to Nashville twice last season. Only problem is, it was locked. Knock once, knock twice – no dice.

With nowhere to turn, I went to eat an early dinner up the street at Panera Bread. Apropos of nothing, Mike Knuble, Jeff Schultz and Jason Chimera were walking to the arena as I was walking the other way.

Once I finally got in, I asked an arena employee how to get to the home locker room. I told the man I was from The Washington Times and they were confused. (I set up a chat with Barry Trotz for a future story).

I sauntered around the bowels of the arena, stopping at a Zamboni crossing until I saw the familiar red gym bags that let me know I was outside the Capitals’ room. Knuble and I exchanged pleasantries as a man in a suit asked me where I was going. He then directed me about 15 feet in front of me to the home locker room, where I waited outside Trotz’s office.

After speaking with the Predators’ coach, I wandered back to the media lounge/work room to find the work area empty of human beings. Didn’t seem like the place to be, so I went in search of the elusive elevator.

Some arenas use the freight elevator for press, so I searched patiently for that. Luckily I stumbled upon employees getting on a real elevator and figured I’d take a shot. At the top, I saw the Caps’ John Walton, Mike Vogel, James Heuser and Ben Guerrero and got some direction to the press box, which is just above the fans in the 300 level.

It didn’t end there, as it took me asking an off-ice NHL official where my seat was. Only in Nashville.