It’s been 132 days since Scott Walker killed us in overtime.
It’s been 104 days since the Pens won the cup.
85 days since Free Agency.
71 days since the Winter Classic announcement.
62 days without Wardo.
24 days since informals started.
ONE MORE WEEK until hockey returns. But in the meantime, we have preseason hockey!
Preaseason is a great time; the NHL uses the opportunity to hold exhibition games around Canada and the USA. By some stroke of weird…I guess you could call it luck, one of said exhibition games was held in Loveland, CO, fifteen minutes from where I live. Granted, it was the Phoenix Coyotes and the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Lightning just recently became the affiliates of the Colorado Eagles, the WHL team who currently play in that arena. It’s a tiny place, and was only about half full.
The great part of being a hardcore hockey fan watching a game in an arena where no one really knows who the players are…is that NO ONE KNOWS WHO THE PLAYERS ARE. The Coyotes and Lightning players who weren’t playing were all hanging out up on the club level, and my friend and I managed to get a whole bunch of them to sign our programs and come over and chat – among them Brandon Bochenski, Ilya Bryzgalov, and randomly, the Coyotes’ GM, Don Maloney. That can’t be an easy job right now – but all were extremely gracious and friendly. It was awesome.
Oh yeah, and a game happened, too. Uhh..Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums, formerly players in the Bruins’ farm system, played together for the Bolts, which was nice to see. Both teams had weird issues with too many men on the ice, and ultimately, it went to overtime and then a shootout, which the Coyotes won. All the while, we stood up on the club level and people-watched with one eye, and another eye on the game.
After the game, the beauty of out-of-town teams playing in a minor-league arena on a Wednesday night became apparent. We went around to the locker room entrance, and lo and behold – we were the only ones there, and as players of the two teams trickled out of the arena, most of them would come over and say hi, sign an autograph, and chat for a few moments.
Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Ed Jovanovski, Scottie Upshall, Sami Lepisto -met ’em all.
And then there was Ulf Samuelsson.
Yeah, that Ulf Samuelsson. The guy who essentially ended Cam Neely’s career. Good thing I was hanging out with a Rangers fan and I have no desire to do jail time, otherwise I would have kicked him in the kneecap. No joke. I chose instead to glare ferociously. I hope I struck some fear into his heart.
Anyways, long story longer – preseason hockey is awesome but less awesome than regular hockey which we’ll get in ONE WEEK. I’m not going stir-crazy, nope.
Speaking of stir-crazy, I hate Pittsburgh, but this is hilarious: