My evening started much the same as it did 15-20 years ago as a youngster at the Pacific Coliseum. I was pressed up against the glass with hundreds of other fans watching the pre-game warm-ups, trying not to flinch when the Canucks fired pucks against the boards.
Seeing the players up close going through the paces is a tradition I'll never grow tired of.
A few feet away from me, an expectant mother was filling the memory card on her digital camera with pictures of Trevor Linden as he skated by her in the corner. I think Trevor made a few extra laps in her direction because she was wearing a special t-shirt. What a guy.
As game time neared and the lights dimmed, the massive hi-def jumbotron flashed images of Canucks players to the beat of the pounding drums and the security staff rolled out a protective tunnel for the guys wearing black and white - it looked and sounded like they were entering into another dimension.
I hung around the entrance for a few more minutes - but not for long because I had to make room for the SportsAction ice team who took a moment for a quick picture before they took their skateguards off and went to work.
Fast forward to the second intermission.
The tunnels outside the dressing rooms are always bustling with players doing media requests between periods. I was a few feet away from Linden commenting to a Colorado radio station about his 1300th game when the horn sounded again!
I bolted down the hallways back to the entrance, just in time to see the lucky woman who slid a puck through an opening the size of a mousehole from the far blueline to walk away with a $10,000 London Drugs gift certificate. She was high-fiving everyone in sight and couldn't stop smiling.
That was it - I didn't want to miss any more excitement so I knelt down like a lion in the weeds and just waited with my camera at the ready.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
Late in the third period, the Sedin Twins and Taylor Pyatt went in a 3 on 1 and Pyatt scored what looked like a good goal. The black and whites waved it off because they ruled Daniel interfered with Jose Theodore and fans pleaded with the refs to look up at the big screen.
The Canucks held on for a narrow 5-4 win over Burnaby Joe Sakic and the Avalanche, so I headed into the dressing rooms where Matt Cooke had a hard time keeping a straight face because Kevin Bieksa was ribbing him from the other side of the room for notching three points and the games first star - not an everyday occurrence.
In the Av's room, Sakic spoke quietly to the media in an understandably subdued scrum that lasted for only a few moments before his team boarded the bus and headed for the airport 12 points back of the first place Canucks.