The Washington Times - October 12, 2007, 04:21PM
NHLthe store SEE RELATED:


\ There were literally thousands of people in and around the place. Just walking around in the store was not easy. There were plenty of things to do outside the store like get autographs, sign up for XM radio or pick up a free popsicle (and a key, which if you went and stood in line and your key opened a lock made you a winner in this NHL Unlock Your Dreams deal).\

\ ovechkin.jpgBut inside is where the action was at. To the left of the main entrance sat Lord Stanley’s Cup, and there was a line out the door and wrapped around the block to get your picture taken with it. There are these gigantic photos about 25 feet tall along the left wall of Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Martin Brodeur showcasing the new uniforms. Sorry for the shoddy photography, I blame the tools (my cell phone) with which I had to work with.\

\ To the right of the main entrance there is a display of all the new Reebok jerseys along a glass wall. In the middle of the store there was a spot for people to play both NHL 08 and NHL 2K8. Above the checkout kiosk are eight flat screen, high-def TVs but that wasn’t as cool as the chandelier made out of hockey sticks.\

\ Above the back wall is the XM Studio, and NHL Live with E.J. Hradek and Don La Greca was going on and being piped into the sound system in the store. There is also a Starbucks attached to the back of the store.\

\ The store basically has everything. Jerseys (replicas at $114.99 and authentics at $249.99), t-shirts, sweatshirts, team-themed shoes, hats, sticks - it is all here. My favorite stuff was what I deemed the Retro Wall. There are shirts with all of the old school logos and old school teams (I nearly broke down and bought this sweet Quebec Nordiques shirt, but the line made me think twice). I did hear one customer expressed disappointment that only home jerseys were on sale.\

\ arnett.jpg\ This brings me to the coolest part of the day, at least for me. I was scoping out the merchandise, and Will Arnett of Arrested Development fame walks past me. Now, I thought it was cool that a real celeb was here to check out the place, but it became pretty funny to me to watch him move through the store almost completely incognito while everyone else stared at the NHL celebs.\

\ The Commish, Gary Bettman and his right hand man, Bill Daly were down on the floor, former Devils Ken Daneyko and Bruce Driver were up on the balcony (and\ then in the studio on air with Don and E.J.), and I also saw former Islanders Eric Cairns and Butch Goring taping a segment in the Starbucks.\

\ I kept thinking it must be a New York thing, but here I am watching Will Arnett try on a Maple Leafs sweatshirt while a father was pointing out Ken Danyeko to his sons. Then came the best part - the line to buy stuff went all the way to the front door, so Arnett tried to talk his way out of standing in line. His first attempt didn’t work, but eventually another store employee relented. \

\ But for anyone who visits Madison Square Garden (and considering the dozen or so Caps jerseys I saw today, people from the District do make the trip), the NHL store is not that far of a walk, and it is well worth it. You will probably have to stand in line to check out though.\

\ — Corey Masisak