Good morning, Raleigh, and good morning, Insiders.
Nothing to see from this hotel room. The end of the trip – as well as the road portion of the 2018-19 schedule – is in view. After our flight home, there are a pair of Arizona-Anaheim jaunts and a Western Canada three-in-four, and then the cold, dark void of space. (There are, of course, 12 home games remaining.)
I am thrilled to be in Raleigh. Rather, I’m thrilled to be headed back to PNC Arena. I missed this trip a year ago and therefore missed the best press meal in the entire National Hockey League. There’s very good pulled pork served in the press dining room, replete with an array of sauces. I love barbecue – dearly – but am not learned enough of various regional influences to speak authoritatively on the differences between Texas, Memphis and Kansas City barbecue or the barbecue of the Carolinas, but I do know the signature sauces from this area lean more heavily on vinegar. And they’re absolutely delicious. I’ve been eating healthier recently, so I’m not going to double-fist and head across the upscale outdoor mall to The Cue Shack for lunch. It’s recommended by Josh Cooper, who eats much healthier than I do, but I am going to save my appetite for tonight’s game. Rarely do I say that about press meals, but I’ve been looking forward to tonight’s game throughout this trip.
And, because I know you’ve been dying for this information, the best press meals across the league are:
3) Edmonton (new rink)
4) Tampa Bay
Honorable Mention: Buffalo, Minnesota, Columbus, Dallas, Pittsburgh
Back to barbecue. Any favorite regional dishes? What are the best L.A. spots? Is Bludso’s that good? Weigh in downstairs.
There’s no morning skate today, Insiders. Austin Wagner will be my pre-game guest on LA Kings Live. Commissioner Gary Bettman will join our FOX Sports West broadcast. Justin Williams will be mic’d up. There’s a great show coming later today, gang. Let’s talk soon.