Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/27/11

There are only several hours until 18,200 of us pile into the transformed Madison Square Garden for the first time and witness first-hand what the countless hours of construction over the summer did for our beloved arena. However, NHL.com has released a sneak peak, including some scenes that you won't see on Thursday night such as the locker room. Take a look...

 

This may sound odd, and I have not been to the arena yet, but my favorite change so far is center ice. The Rangers normally just plant their logo at center in order to take up as much of the circle as they possibly can, which always seemed a little boring to me. This year they made the logo smaller, put their birth year going across and surrounded all of that with a big blue ring that says "New York Rangers" and "Madison Square Garden". In my opinion it gives off a cleaner look and makes everything at center ice stand out, which is where the attention should be drawn. Big thumbs up to whoever came up with that idea. 

As far as the locker room goes, it was built how former Captain Mark Messier imagined it to be. Circular so that everyone can see each other, and as current captain Ryan Callahan put it, it's much easier to hold people accountable in a rounded room like that. 

"The (locker room) is more open so everyone can be looking at each other, whereas it was a little more square before," said Callahan. "That can help with accountability, too. Now you can really look at a guy when you are talking to him, look him in the eyes and he can hear you. I think it's a big improvement from what we had. Plus it's just great here, everything is state of the art. It really is great."

"State of the art" seems to be the common theme when describing the changes. The players were blown away when they took the ice for practice yesterday, and everyone who I have spoken to or have heard from that have seen the arena already have all said that fans will be extremely impressed when they go in tonight. 

I personally cannot wait because I've been wanting an updated arena ever since I started going from city to city for the NHL All-Star Game/Olympics and seeing what other teams have. The Rangers, and their fans, deserve this. 

Here's another video of the players in the Garden for the first time yesterday:

 

I'll be taking a ton of pictures at the arena tonight to use for something that I will put up over the weekend sort of analyzing all of the changes and what's new at the Garden. I'm sure it will all be positive because based on what I've seen and heard, this place is amazing. 

Check back later for Rangers-Leafs pregame....

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