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Smell what the Rock's cooking? It's just Newark

Rock2 NEWARK, N.J. -- Greetings and salutations from the heart of northern New Jersey. Yep, we're live from Newark!

Tell you what, I couldn't be more excited.

Coming to you from -- literally -- the top of the brand spankin' new Prudential Center (AKA The Rock) in downtown Newark.

How is it? Nothing special. It's a nice arena, much nicer than the old joint at the Meadowlands. Seems they brought over their bright, cheery and friendly employees who made attending an event at the old arena so great. So there's that.

Newark And the media now get to pay for all those years of having premium seating at the old joint. We are so high up, they make us wear hats with blinking red lights on them so flights coming into Newark Liberty Freedom Fries International Airport don't decapitate us. Seriously!

I just called Steve Y Rudolph because he took the light off and stuck it on his nose.

Good thing the Devils supplied the press area with some pretty sweet HD flatscreens. That may be the only way I see the game. See that big glob of light in the far right corner of the pic? That's the scoreboard. The smaller blue blobs are the TVs -- which are attached to the rafters.  The little sliver of white is the ice.

The pic was taken from my seat. I think there's a Zamboni on the ice right now, but that hasn't been confirmed. Will let you know.

This would be a good place to try bungee jumping or even sky diving. I'm going to see if they offer any of those services.

-- Nothing new coming out of practice this afternoon. JM says Cory Murphy is now skating, but only doing light stick work and no shooting of the puck. Still doesn't know when he'll be back in the lineup.

-- Was Hawaii that bad or Georgia that good?

-- Anyone excited about this West Virginia/Oklahoma game?

-- Bobby Petrino had to like what he saw out of Arkansas yesterday in the Cotton Bowl. Looked like they quit. A common theme for old Bobby.

Howard -- Have been informed that FIU does indeed have a mascot. Couldn't find a picture online, but did find this (pssst: look to the left!)

Figured it was close enough.

-- According to the NHL, yesterday's Ice Bowl game got the league's best ratings for a regular season game since a glowing puck game on Fox in 1996.

Predictably, the ratings were highest in Buffalo (over 50 percent of TVs tuned into the game) and Pitt (only 30 percent. The 'Best of Steelers, 1996 Parts I-V' video must have been showing on another channel).

Surprisingly, the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Margate and Palm Beach/Port St. Lucie/Fort Drum markets didn't rate in the top 10. Richmond, Va., somehow did, as did Las Vegas (nooooo, betting on hockey is non-existent!), Sacramento and Hartford, home of the Whalers.

I'm sure our markets were ranked 11th and 12th.

-- It appears there is some activity on that big white slate below..looks like a bunch of ants running around in circles. Being told the two teams are warming up. That's good. Those of you at home watching the game on TV can feel free to keep me updated on what's going on...

-- This is a first: For the national anthem, we will be looking DOWN on the American flag. And, no, that was not some whack-job political statement by me. Our seats are above the Canadian flag too...

-- Goldie's all excited about his Giants' playoff game. Mitch is excited about his team's win in a bowl game. I have no idea what they are feeling...

-- Hope everyone is bundled up and warm back in chilly South Florida. I hear it's really, really cold. But is it 15 degrees? That's what it's going to be tonight as I trudge through downtown Newark to find the rental car. Don't even get me started on the wind chill readings....

-- Hear there could be snow in Vero Beach. Yeah, right. Next thing you're going to tell me is the Dodgers are leaving Dodgertown only to be replaced by the Orioles.

-- Panthers trail 2-0 after the first period, so I'm told. My ears just popped from the elevator ride up here.

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LOL - it's 13 degrees here with 2 inches of snow in southwestern Ohio. It's hockey - it's supposed to be cold and snowy. Hang in there sweetie!

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