Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping It Secret

Well, it's getting to be about that time. My son is finally going to be part of a limited travel team. Not like the alleged limited travel we're part of right now, where two teams of boys play each other over and over and over and over and...well, you get the point. It's a REAL limited travel team.

We'll be traveling between five rinks that farthest of which is just a shade over 40 miles from home. Not bad to get our feet wet.

Anyway, my husband in his hasty enthusiasm, felt that it was important to educated the boy on what it means to be part of a travel team. Keep in mind my husband has never played organized hockey AND it's been a very long time since he was a six year old boy.

Imagine how difficult it was for me to explain to Sean that he WOULD NOT be going to play the Penguins in Pittsburgh in March!

Next time, Honey, let's keep it a secret until it's closer!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


One of the best part of being a Flyers season ticket holder is the opportunity to partake in many of the activities during the game. Riding the zamboni, pre-game bench warm ups, pre-game tour or meet and greet are a few of them. The one we've been dying for is the High-5. That's when they take your kid, bring them to the ice and they get to high 5 the team when they make their way to the ice.

AND they get to stand with the players during the singing of the National Anthem. WOW!!!!!!

Sean did just that last week at the Columbus game. He was the smallest kid on the ice so I thought for sure they'd put him next to gigantic Chris Pronger, but he stood between Richards and Gagne. how exciting for him! He talked to the players the entire time! He even got an extra fist bump from Simon! Sean hasn't told me what they were talking about. I imagine it's some kind of hockey-man-secrets that I'll never be privy to, but whatever was said, it made his night!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Climbing the Ladder

How did our team climb out of the basement and into the playoffs? I'm amazed. So are many of the sports writers who counted us out after a very promising start and then a major slide. A few weeks ago the Flyers were near the bottom of the standings in the Conference! Yes, LAST in our division! And now we're making a move!

Coach Peter Laviolette, at the post game press conference following the FlyGuys defeat of the Dallas Stars said that the team is playing for home ice advantage. What an encouraging snipet for the Flyers Fan! Not playing for a playoff spot, but for home ice advantage. Makes me wonder if Laviolette has some crystal ball that he can see the future. Hey, Pete, is there a really big cup in there?

Flyers netminder Michael Leighton has the hot hand right now and is 9-0-1 in his last eleven starts with one no decision. When we were at the Classic, Bruins fans were asking who our goaltender is. Who is this guy blocking all the B's attempts at finding the net? We replied, "Michael Leighton" and they said "Who?" That's what we were thinking! He was released by Carolina, a backup goalie and we picked him up on waivers. Two weeks later, he's starting the Winter Classic. What an incredible piece of luck for him! Now with Emery back and ready for action it seems strange that the third stringer is getting the start! Boucher was a healthy scratch in the Dallas game with Emery riding the pine. He looked good skating during warmups but Leighton was HOT!!!!

It'll be interesting to see what happens with that situation. how long with the FlyGuys carry three goalies? Which goaltender will get sent down? I'm thinking Boosh goes to the Phantoms and we keep Leighton. I'm also thinking Emery will get the start against Columbus, providing Leighton doesn't start to slide.

On the defense and offense side, all the lines are performing. That crushing defeat in Pittsburgh was just the win they needed! Beating the Stanley Cup champions (gag) Pittsburgh Penguins in their own house was HUGE!!!!!! The string of wins is getting quite impressive, but ever the cautious Philadelphia sports fan, I'm thinking it's just a question of time. Not that I'm wishing the Flyers a loss but we've been beating lesser teams. With exception of the Pens this schedule has been pretty light. We have the Capitals coming up and tonight the Maple Leafs will seek revenge for the 2-6 loss they suffered last week. Not to mention the insane Dan Carcillo, who was exhibiting some major hockey skills when he scored on the Leafs and then, showing his badboy side, gave them a throat-cutting gesture as he skated past their bench afterwards. He was fined $2500 for that taunt! He's really becoming one of my favorite players!

In the Dallas game 14 players contributed points and we sent another goalie packing! A Gordy Howe Hat trick for Ian Laperriere was also a feature of the game. These guys are playing aggressive but disciplined. It's hard to explain. Can't wait to see what's in store tonight in TO!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fenway Follies

A trip to Boston. A trip to the most coveted ticket in all of professional sports. WE WERE THERE!!!!!

It started off the right way. I woke up Thursday morning to three inches of snow on the ground! Great! Perfect to put me in the mood for hockey, except I still had to drive to Marlton to drop of the little guy and then to the rink to get on the bus. The drive was quite slippy but we made it safely to the bus and almost on time.

The buses were already mostly full and unfortunately there was only one pair of seats together and our friends got it. Jack got to sit next to the self-proclaimed SuperFan. You've seen him. He's the guy with the orange and black mohawk. Yeah, that guy! Anyway, the buses were very cramped and it was not a fun 8-hour trip!

The weekend was awesome! We got a surprise visit from Henrik, our favorite Swede! He came over to the US for an extended trip and several Flyers games including the Classic! We spent our New Year's Eve at Bleacher Bar inside Fenway Park, just feet from the rink! How awesome! The waitress there, Emma, really made our night by reserving us a table to come back after some RSVP only party! It was great! I highly recommend this bar! ;-) We met some great Bruins fans and hung out with them all night! So much fun! Me, Jack, the Swede, the Bruins fans, Julie, Vern, Ed and our new friend, season ticket holder in section 205, Kat. Awesome!!!!

The next morning we were so excited for this game. We got all geared up in our many layers to prepare for the cold. The temp was expected to be about 30 degrees with a slight breeze. Perfect! At least it wasn't going to rain, which was the fear during our weeklong weather watch. We took a taxi to Fenway. Jack was NOT getting on that bus again! In fact, during the ride to Boston from Philly he was already researching car rentals and train tickets!

Fenway! What a sight! I'm not a big baseball fan at all. Well, ok, I'm not a baseball fan at all, but I could just feel the significance of being there. The Green Monster. That red seat in right field. The history. The legacy. It was all palpable.

It was nice to see the different ways that sports are experienced in different areas of the country. One major way you can see that is in the concession stands. Yes, food. At our ballpark we have Geno's steaks. If you're from the Philly area you know what a Geno's is. At Fenway, they had Fenway franks (which were actually amazing since the dog and the bun are separate until they are purchased) and they had roaming Chowda vendors. Yes, that's right. The same people who bring you peanuts and overpriced beers in the stands, were selling cups of New England Chowder. We asked if this was something they were just doing for the Classic. The guy said they sell it at colder baseball games too. We saw one gal balancing her tray of chowder on her head!

There was an auxilliary rink, more of a small pond really, in center field where many of the youth hockey organizations each had a chance to play hockey. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. You'd see the little guys come out to the rink and skate their little hearts out. How exciting to be a little guy and be able to say that you played hockey at the Winter Classic! There was no play during the big guys game though.

The game went back and forth but the Flyers lost in the third period when they took "another stupid penalty" (according to Jack) and the Bruins scored knotting the game at one goal apiece. Overtime came and went with the Flyers falling apart and the B's won it. A disappointing loss but I still enjoyed the game. The experience on the whole was amazing and if I had to do it again, knowing the outcome of the game, I would have still been there. Where else would ANY hockey fan want to be on New Year's Day than AT the Winter Classic. It's become quite the tradition. Many of our professional hockey players learned the game on backyard ponds and frozen lakes, rivers or canals. It truly was an awesome experience to be there. Freezing cold and all! My only wish is that my son can feel what it's like to play hockey outdoors just once in his childhood.

The next day we went to the Bruins Legends game at Fenway and we were quite possibly, the only Flyers fans there. It was still fun and our seats were WAY better! Bruins alumni, celebrities and our own Dave Schultz played hockey on the makeshift outdoor pond. Lots of fun especially since we didn't care who won the game!

By the way...we took a train home....