Great point CR- Xanadu and the parking garage kind of took away that unique feel the CAA had, outside anyway. Tailgating before playoff games, that big parking lot... It kind of went away a little at the end there. And I think by the time the Devils moved, everyone had had it with the CAA (I know I did). The single concourse, sh!tty food, rude ushers- I couldn't wait for the Rock to open. (Speaking of the single concourse- I remember going to Devils games as a kid in the 80's when they allowed smoking in the building. The concourse was like a giant ash tray). But looking back now, I kind of miss it. I'd never want the Devils to move back or anything, but I look back and smile now at some of the little things that annoyed me about the old barn. I guess time does that. Overall- I've had some of the best memories of my life in that arena (and not just Devils games, but Nets games as a kid and some great concerts as well). So while it may be a dump, it was OUR dump. And it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Devils lost their first game at the Rock to the Senators 4-1 (after a nine-game road trip to start the season). I remember the 6-1 beatdown...that was their second game there.
The Wilpons of course screwed up their building, thinking that somehow Mets fans would be more interested in going to a building that seemed to pay more homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers than to the team that actually played there. They've since taken some positive steps to correct, but that misstep left a bad taste in Met fans' mouths that still lingers even now. You are right, I think it's going to take some serious winning to wash that out.
I thought I would feel much more nostalgia than I did. I think some of it was stripped away by the mess that sprouted up around it...I remember tailgating in the parking lot back in the day during playoff games.
BBA was heavily criticized for having just the one concourse (terrible idea), and yeah, that had a way of crowding up in a hurry between periods and after games for sure. I never really minded CAA overall when I was watching games there...it served its purpose well, even if it lacked personality.