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In Memory of Kelly Calabro


Collage photo from http://www.teambeerhockey.com

Early this week, Leif and I were stunned to get an email from our old hockey team in San Jose, Team Beer mentioning that captain Kelly Calabro had died. Details were sparse (and still are), but he collapsed on the ice, and even after CPR and defibrillator attempts, he couldn't be revived. We weren't able to fly back to San Jose on such short notice with Peter, but we've been thinking a lot about this even this week, and were bummed to miss the memorial service last night. We were able to attend the Celebration of Life event tonight using a Skype video/audio link (thanks to Thad for setting that up for us). It was really cool to not only see all the old and new Beer members who attended, but also other hockey players who had never even met Kelly (other than running into him on the rink).

What was weird too was that the same night, at the same rink, just a few hours before, another guy, Brian Kobata, had died as well. :( Here's the Mercury News article: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_11770229

Yesterday we went to Old Chicago for lunch, and while I don't drink Guinness, we both toasted a beer in his name (his team beer name was Guinness).

Toasting to Kelly

Thad wanted us to say a few words tonight, and while I did try to write something this afternoon, I ended up not really using it and just speaking from the heart. This is what I was going to say:

"Kelly always said "once a Beer, always a Beer", and anybody who's ever spent anytime on the Beer team can attest to how true that statement is. Leif and I have played on a bunch of hockey teams, but Beer is the one that we not only remember the most, but remember the most fondly. Kelly embodied the Beer spirit - loyalty, friendship, a sense of humor, and fun. It didn't matter if we won all of the games, or none of the games - he'd shrug and say "anybody for a beer after the game?" and it was all good. He was the biggest on the team, and I was the smallest, and you bet I was happy he was on my side. I loved being out with him because he was like a wall - easily moving the other team out of the crease - you felt a certain level of comfort having him around. Although he was quiet, he welcomed anybody and everybody into the Beer family with open arms. Once after we won the season at Rollin Ice, we all went out for pizza and beer. Leif's family from Sweden was in town, and Kelly not only insisted they come along, but also attempted to make conversation with them (even though they didn't speak English very well). That was the kind of person he was.

From Denver, Colorado, we raise a Guinness in honor of Kelly, wherever he may be now."

Team Beer photo circa 2000
In the team photo, he's the furthest to the left in the back row.

Guinness, we'll miss you.

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Feelings on the Avalanche's Season

I think this picture says it all, from one Avalanche fan, to everybody else, how the season is going:

How he feels about the Avalanche season

NHL Winter Classic

Crosby after the Winter ClassicPhoto from nhl.com website
Today feels like Sunday, even though it's a Tuesday. After attending a New Year's Eve party last night given by one of our neighbors (best part: we didn't have to drive anyplace), we woke up late this morning (well, woke up early, fed/took out the dogs, then went back to sleep), and spent part of the day watching the NHL Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Really fun game to watch, even though they had to clean/repair the ice a lot, but I guess that's what happens when you put a hockey rink on top of a football field. :) The game was perfect too since it was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, nobody scored in overtime, and Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal during the shootout. For a game like this, it was cool it was so evenly matched honestly, because a blowout wouldn't have been much fun.

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The Sedin Twins

The Sedin BrothersI know I'm an Avalanche fan, but I still have a thing for Henrik and Daniel Sedin of Vancouver. It's not just the fact that they're Swedish, but they're twins! (yes people, there can be male Swedish twins too). It's a lot of fun to watch them play on the ice because they just can completely anticipate what each other is doing. I almost feel bad for the center who plays with them, unless it's Markus Naslund because he's Swedish too. Not only are they identical, but they grew identical goatees, just to make it difficult to tell them apart.

Between periods of the game today, Altitude did a little profile on the Sedin twins because of their nhl.com commercial. I was wondering if they ever switched jerseys or anything dumb like that because they were twins. Henrik told a story about one time when he was kicked out of the face off circle, skated over to where Daniel was.....and just skated back. The referee didn't bother to look at the jersey numbers, so he ended up taking the face off anyways. Good story. :)

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Big Joe Has Hart

Yeah yeah, cheesy headline.

We just finished watching the NHL Awards show aired on OLN.

The big MVP award (Hart trophy) goes to...JOE THORNTON OF THE SHARKS!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

A good story on this on the Sharks website.

Coolest Thing Ever in Hockey

At the Sharks game on Monday (which the Sharks won 2-1!) against Edmonton, there was a point in the 2nd period where Edmonton got a 2-man advantage for about 1:40. To top that off, partway through the Sharks penalty kill, 2 of their sticks broke....and they couldn't get off the ice. So you have 1 Shark out there with a stick, 2 without sticks, and 5 Edmonton players. Needless to say, EDMONTON DIDN'T SCORE. Toskala had some great saves, and with 20 seconds left in the penalty, Hannan blocked a shot with his body, dove for the puck, and pushed it out of the zone. Probably the most unbelievable and coolest thing I've ever seen in hockey before.

The SJ Sharks posted the video to their website, but of course it only works in Windows, so some kind soul uploaded it to YouTube, which you can see below.

Sharks Fantasy Camp Part 2

We all filtered back into the locker room, not really nervous per se, but a little excited I guess. All of us kind of stood in awe at the cool authentic Sharks jerseys that we had received (me too, even though I had seen them earlier). Someone pointed out that the jersey had a fight strap on it.

We looked, and sure enough at the back of the jersey on the bottom was a strap that was supposed to slip through a loop in your girdle, and then snapped back up. Hence, the fight strap. We had gotten beat pretty hard in the 3 on 3 scrimmage in the morning, so people on our team just didn’t want to lose. I still had the “this is damn cool” feeling while I was putting on my gear (which had dried a little bit so it wasn’t too wet and definitely wasn’t cold). At around 1:10, we realized it was time to go, so we headed out of the locker room. Since we were going through the sharks head, we had to walk all the way around the arena with our plastic skateguards on (what sucked is that if we were considered “late”, they let those people just skate across the rink. Oh well), where we waited for the game to start. Everyone (of course) was taller than me as I tried to look around at the seats to see if I saw anyone I knew. I managed to glimpse Brett, but couldn’t see Bryan, Brian, or Debbie. There didn’t look to be a lot of people there which was ok, I just thought it was cool that there was at least 1 person I knew. Leif said Sharkie was on the ice in a refs uniform, but I couldn’t see that.

Around 1:20, the quiet music playing in the arena stopped, and they started the loud music, announcing the game was about to begin, and we skated through the Shark. We dropped our stuff off on the bench, then skated around for a quick warmup. There weren’t any pucks, so we all just skated. The refs finally blew their whistle, and each team hit their bench. It was pretty much a pickup game. There were no set lines – the only thing we determined was which door the offense would go out, and which door the defense would go out (and we switched every period when the goalies changed sides). I think the entire game I never really played with the same people twice. I played with Leif only a few times, and played with the alums several times.

Faceoff I noticed Bryan, and Brian and his wife in the audience snapping pictures away. The final total for photos came to something like Bryan: 403, and Brian: 926, so I now have a ton of photos of the game.

The one main thing I noticed about the game, and honestly I didn’t think about until afterwards, was how fast everything was. I’m not just talking about time-wise because I was having fun, I’m talking about everything about the game. It was a much faster game than I was used to. You virtually had very little time to do anything with the puck when you got it, and everyone was skating much faster. I had a few problems since I can’t skate as fast as everyone – I wanted to, but I have short legs, but I think overall I did ok. I only got a couple of crappy shots off, and Leif had a few really good ones but neither of us scored. They did read my name for an assist once...when I was on the bench, and I figured out that David Maley was wearing the same number as I was, so they meant him, but read me.

The one thing I did manage to capitalize on, was my good passing. I really really like setting up the other players, and for some reason passing has always been one of my strong suits. Once I realized I should just concentrate on that, instead of skating up a lot, I did, and it worked. I passed several times to Jeff Norton, Gary Suter, and other people on our time. Several of them had clear shots to the goal after my pass, but of course no one scored. :) Norton was particularly good at calling for the pass. He’d yell “here” and all I had to do was glance up quickly to see where his stick was and let the pass go.

Talking it up on the bench I went up against several of the alumni too, which was really weird. For the most part they were definitely playing down to our level (well not to mine, but down to the level of some of the better people there who weren’t ex-NHL players), but every once in awhile they’d surge, and not go all-out, but they’d kick it up a notch.

One time Bernie Nicholls was behind the net, and I was the closest to him, so I figured even though I didn’t want to, I’d have to go and challenge him just to make him to something. So I start skating back there, and he starts moving the puck extremely fast back and forth. At that point I realized I was really screwed, and I was right. :) One fast-ass move around me was all it took.

I did get some good stuff in though besides the passing. I came up behind Jeff Odgers once and managed to lift his stick from behind and take the puck away.

Another time I came out from the bench and had to play center and take the faceoff....against Jamie Baker (or Bernie Nicholls, one of the two). Before the ref dropped the puck he said, “don’t worry, I’ll hold his stick for you,” and grabbed the stick so I could get a clean faceoff.

The only penalties that were called were against the alumns. Ron Stern got like 3 penalties. :)

The game was 3 20 minute periods of run time, which I thought at the beginning wasn’t going to be too much, but with the speed of the game, and the size of the rink, all of us were taking extremely short shifts (longest was a minute, most were like 45 seconds, some were 30), and that timeframe was definitely fine. I was completely exhausted by the end. There were a few times when the refs called out, “only alumni on the ice,” and they stopped the clock so the alumni could play against each other for a few minutes. At those times, the game went up about 20 notches as they really could go all out. The only non-alums out there were the goalies, who must have loved it since they got to stop the shots of ex-NHL players.

We ended up losing 10-9, but it was extremely close the entire game. We’d be up, then they’d tie it, then they’d be up, and we’d tie it. I’m glad the teams were pretty evenly matched – apparently last time they did the fantasy camp the final score of the game was 12-4. It honestly didn’t matter though that we lost, all of us had a ton of fun. Everyone shook hands after the game, then we all lined up for our respective team photographs, and one big group photo.

As we walked off the ice, Bryan, Brian, and Brett were able to come down to the edge of the stands and we could all talk for a few minutes. For Brian this was especially cool since he’s a big Sharks fan, and could appreciate and enjoy the alumni playing. For the other 2, they said they had fun watching the game, even though they’re not horrendously big hockey fans. I was extremely appreciative that they showed up at all honestly, and I felt really good that they did.

The guy from Shark Byte was there asking people to do postgame interviews, so I did one. :)

Going back into the locker room, I felt pretty good. I felt I did the best I could under the circumstances. All the skating-type stuff was done, all that was left was a reception at Tres Gringos, a Mexican place in San Jose, and the actual Sharks vs. Coyotes game. We all showered and changed, talking about how cool it was to play with the alumni, and asked the alumni if they thought it was cool to play on the alumni lines. Each of them really enjoyed it since several live outside the area, and weren’t able to get back as often as they wished. Jeff Norton started being funny complaining about how the ice wasn’t smoothed over between periods like he’s used to. We all laughed and said, “welcome to the real world, this is how normal people have to play.”

Even though the reception wasn’t supposed to start until 4:30, and it was 3:30, we all decided to head over anyways. Apparently there was some miscommunication, and they had no idea we were coming, but said they’d be ready “in about 10 minutes”, so we went next door to the San Jose Bar and Grill to hang out. We found a few people from our team – someone had started a bar tab (not sure who, someone from the fantasy camp), so Leif and I both ordered a beer. I swear, there’s nothing like an ice cold Corona after a hockey game (ok, maybe a large ice-filled glass of water). We mingled with everyone for awhile, people kept going over to check to see if the Tres Gringos was ready (which it wasn’t). At one point we got in a conversation with Jeff Odgers, one of the alumni. This guy still leads the team in most penalty minutes (1001), and you can seriously see all the scars on his face. I asked him how many fights he’d gotten in in his whole NHL career, and he said he wasn’t sure, but something over 210. All Fantasy Camp Participants

The funny thing about all these alums is that so many of them are coaching their kid’s ice teams. I guess I’m not surprised about that. A lot of them flew in just for this event. Odgers for example is living in Canada somewhere (Saskachuan I think). It’s a tiny town where he’s living and he lives on a farm.

The Mexican place opened for us, so we all wandered over, ordered some margaritas and some food. The guy in charge of the community foundation events for the Sharks was there and he ordered a bunch of appetizers for everyone and some beer. We were really hungry though, so the table Leif and I sat at all ordered burritos and quesadillas as well. Leif, the man who said beforehand he wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t want to, turned to me and said, “let’s make sure to do this again next year.”

People mingled around for awhile, and at about 6:15, we decided to drive back to the HP Pavilion so we could get our good parking spots – we all had parking passes for the day to park in the main lot, and we didn’t want it to fill up before the game. Leif and I wandered around the Pavilion a bit, we got a good picture of me and Sharkie, and then we finally decided to head up to the penthouse terrace suite which had been reserved for use by all the fantasy camp participants. In order to get up there we had to take an elevator and walk around quite a bit. There was round tables with bar stools set up, food, beer, soda, water, and of course you could see the ice. We were in the corner behind the away team net, as far up as you could get. It honestly wasn’t horrible, but not as good as our seats. :) Leif and Michelle after the game

By that point, everyone was pretty tired from the whole day, so people just kind of grabbed some food and sat down to watch the game. In addition to having the terrace suite, we also had the 2 rows of seats directly below us. Honestly, you didn’t need to take the elevator up there once you knew what section the suite was in, since you could just walk all the way down to the section entrance. I did that between periods when I went to say hi to Brian. His seats of course were all the way across from where we were sitting, so I couldn’t talk long, but that was ok. He said he had a lot of fun watching our game, and is glad he was able to make it.

The game was an extremely good game. Phoenix is always one of those teams that the Sharks has trouble beating, and this day was no exception.. The Sharks weren’t shooting well or playing well, and going into the 3rd period it looked bleak as they were down 3 goals. Somehow though they managed to pull it together to tie the game, and at least get 1 point in the standings, forcing the game into overtime. Alas, it wasn’t to be. the Sharks lost the game with 6 seconds left on a Coyote power play.

At that point I was so completely exhausted I was ready to go home, and didn’t care who won the game or not. I hadn’t taken my contacts out for some reason so the entire game my left eye was bugging me (even eyedrops weren’t helping), and I was ready to go to sleep.

Leif and I drove home that night, barely managed to take our wet, stinky hockey gear out of the car, and crashed hard, sleeping for 12 hours.

This event was simply amazing, there’s no other way to describe it. It’s now a week later since I first started writing this, and I’ve calmed down and life is back to normal. Going back to work on Monday was very difficult. I felt like I had just gone on the absolute best vacation of my life, and now had go back to the real world where I was just “me.” However even though for the first few days I was feeling like that, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. The thing that I most learned from that day was that yes, I *can* play with the big boys. :)

Shark for a Day Fantasy Camp - Part 1

This being the day after the fantasy camp, I’m still completely exhausted as I’m writing this down, but wanted to get my thoughts down while they’re still fresh.

Yesterday on April 1, 2006, Leif and I participated in the Sharks-for-a-day fantasy camp where you literally get to experience what it’s like to be a San Jose Shark for a day. The day started at 7:15am, and we didn’t get home until about 10:30pm, so it was extremely long.

Michelle's personal locker area 6:30am on Saturday morning, we get up, get ready, eat a little breakfast (Applejacks for me!), and head on over to the HP Pavilion where the day was going to take place. 9 Sharks alumni were supposed to participate: Jamie Baker, Doug Bodger, David Maley, Bernie Nicholls, Jeff Norton, Jeff Odgers, Ron Stern, and Gary Suter. 7:15 we arrive, and stand around with the other camp participants waiting for them to let us in. Immediately someone was greeting people, and I recognized him to be Lamont Hollywood from 107.7 The Bone. I knew he was supposed to be there, as his name had been added the day before.

Back when I moved out here in 1995, I was scanning the dial looking for a fun morning radio show to listen to. I happened upon 92.3 KSJO, and the Lamont and Tonelli show. I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire way on my morning commute, so from then on I listened to them every morning. Sometimes their stuff got a little vicious (like Dirty Friday), but even when I didn’t listen to them later on after I met Leif, I still remembered what it sounded like. They I found out they moved to 107.7, and I still listen occasionally. I had heard clips of their morning show on my drive home on Friday night, and the clip they played was Lamont laughing about how he was participating in this fantasy camp the next day and how out of shape he was and stuff. I went over and talked to him and told him how much I liked the show and stuff. He was extremely charismatic, very personable, and genuinely seemed glad I liked the show. As we were standing there, one other woman walked up, so it turned out just to be me and her. As the day went on, it became clear I was definitely more outgoing than she was, as I “made the rounds” of the alumni and such.

Finally they let us in, and after checking in they told us how to get to the dressing room. Leif and I were on the home team so we headed to the home team dressing room. The locker room was pretty big, considering normally when we play hockey we’re used to changing on little benches, and we don’t have our own lockers. We each had our own place, with a nametag above it so we knew where to sit. Each spot had a black practice jersey hanging up, black socks, a duffel bag with our name on it (just written), shower shoes, water bottle, a helmet, and a pair of gloves. It was pretty overwhelming I must say. I glanced in the duffel bag, and saw a zip-up sweatshirt, a nice short sleeve shirt, a pair of shorts, and a couple other goodies.

All of us in the room started talking a bit nervously (or maybe that was just me :) while we were changing. A couple of the people had done the fantasy camp 2 years ago (there wasn’t one last year because of the NHL lockout), and were looking forward to doing it again. The Sharks alumni who were going to be on our team filtered in eventually: Jeff Norton, Doug Bodger, Gary Suter, and Dave Maley. Leif’s locker was in the corner, and I was to his left, and around the corner to his right ended up being Jeff Norton. Jeff was easily the most outgoing of the bunch, cracking jokes and laughing.

Once we were all changed, it was close to 8am, and time for our practice to begin. The 2 Sharks assistant coaches, Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler were going to take us through an hour of drills and practice. When I first skated out on the ice, I just kind of stopped and looked around. We were in the Shark Tank, on the ice, in a totally empty arena. It was kind of surreal honestly, but cool just the same. The first thing I noticed after that was that the rink was extremely big – much bigger than we’re used to playing on. We skated around for a bit, warming up, until one of the coaches came on the ice and blew the whistle for us to gather around. The locker room in the morning

The practice was pretty grueling, not just because we were so out of shape. :) First we had to take a puck, and dribble it around the rink. When they blew the whistle, we had to skate faster, when they blew it again we could slow down. After that drill, it was more of the same, except the second time they blew the whistle we had to turn with the puck towards the boards and skate the other way. I was pretty tired after that drill. Then we did some stretching exercises, and they asked one of the alumni to lead that. Then passing drills where we picked a partner (Leif, obviously for me), and had to do different types of passing. Then we did a real passing drill where we split into 2 lines, and had to pass to the person on the other side of the boards who then took the puck up and tried to score on the goalie. I actually did real well on that one, except for 1 of my passes which was too short. Everything else was good though. :) At some point 2 of the alumni were put in the other zone who we could pass to as we skated towards the goal, and they’d pass it back. I had no trouble with that. Passing to people has actually been one of my strong suits honestly. I’d much rather pass it to set someone up than take it up myself. After that one we played a little 3-3 scrimmage until they blew the whistle to switch up the lines, probably like after a minute or so.

There was a guy with a Fox Sports Net camera filming some of this on the side too.

While all this was going on, a few of the Sharks, who had arrived for their morning practice, had come out to watch what was going on. We saw coach Ron Wilson, Scott Hannan, Christian Ehrhoff, and Scott Parker poke their heads out.

At 9 we were done, and had an hour to shower and change before we were going to go back out to the ice and watch the Sharks morning skate. I have to say, there’s nothing like a shower after hockey when you’re hot and sweaty. Everyone was ready to go close to 9:30, and since no one was on the ice yet, we took this opportunity to chat, eat some of the food that had been left for us (bread, peanut butter, nutella, danishes, Nutrigrain bars), and chug some juice and water from the fridge that we all noticed in the room. There also was a TV in the dressing room as well tuned to some Saturday morning crap which was just on in the background. Also one of the event organizers came into the room and announced that we could get a free massage if we wanted one downstairs, so a bunch of people filed out for that. Lamont showed up in our dressing room at some point with a bunch of Lamont and Tonelli CDs. I had him autograph my Sharks jersey and my CD. We walked out into the rink to watch the Sharks practice and they were already on the ice at 9:55 when we went out there. I told Leif to bring his camera out, even though the instructions said you really shouldn’t take pictures of the practice. I figured we’d do the “ask forgiveness not permission” thing, which ended up working. He didn’t have the big lens for his camera, having given it to Bryan Call since Bryan was going to come to the scrimmage game and take pictures, but ended up getting some decent pictures. While Marleau was leading the Sharks in stretching warmup, Ron Wilson was taking a bunch of shots from the blue line. He’s definitely still got it. All the coaches were messing around with the puck which was fun to watch. The Sharks went off the ice close to 10:30, but 3 of them (Jim Fahey, Doug Murray, Nabokov) stayed on with the assistant coaches, and did a bunch of extra practice. Leif and I were under the assumption that that meant Nabokov was going to start that night, but we found out later that they were all healthy scratches and since they weren’t playing they get some extra practice to stay in shape.

Towards the end of that, I saw the camera guy setting up somewhere behind us, and some coordinator was standing with him. I thought he might be Jeff, the guy I’ve been talking to over email so much about the event, and one of the guys who was setting it up, so I wanted to go and thank him for making it fun so far. I walked up to him, and it turned out he was Sean, the producer of Shark Byte. I started talking to him a little bit, and mentioned something about me and my husband having a lot of fun so far. He asked me if my husband was there then, and I said, “yeah, he’s sitting over there”, and pointed out Leif to him. He then asked if he could interview us for Shark Byte because he thought it was cool that there was a husband and wife team doing the event. Apparently there was also a family of 4, the dad and the 3 kids who were all early 30’s, and he had interviewed them as well. I knew Leif wasn’t going to be happy, but it was Shark Byte, so I wasn’t going to give him a choice. I called him over, told him what was going on, he looked skeptical, but I told him I wasn’t giving him an option in this, and I’d talk more than him if he wanted. Sean took us over to the little video area they had set up just behind where we were sitting, and the camera guy gave us little mikes and stuff to put on, all the while Sean was talking to us, I guess trying to relax us since I told him I’d never been interviewed like that on camera before, then he asked if we were ready, and started going. The power of TV. He told us just to keep talking and we could repeat ourselves if we wanted and they’d edit it later. I think I sounded pretty stupid since I tried to be funny at one point (my sense of humor) but probably fell completely flat, so I’m hoping they cut that part out. He asked us things like how we met, and how long we’d been married, and stuff about hockey, and what we wanted to get out of the day. I talked most of the time, but Leif answered a bunch of stuff as well. Sean said he was going to give me the video footage even if they don’t use it, so that’ll be cool, but I’m hoping they use a little of it at least.

The Coyotes started practicing after this, and we all thought Wayne Gretzky was going to come out and skate like Ron Wilson did, but he didn’t. I went back to the locker room at that point to go to the bathroom, and noticed they had put out our game jerseys. Wow......authentic Sharks jerseys....the black ones...with our names on them! I just stood there for a minute and looked at all of them, and stupid me was so in awe that I completely forgot to take a picture. Oh well. On my way back out, I passed Doug Wilson, the Sharks GM, who said hi to me, then we watched Coyotes practice.

At 11:40, we were ushered to The Grill for a buffet lunch of chicken, pasta, salad, and rolls. On the way there we passed Doug Wilson again who was saying hi to everyone, and I stopped and said to him, “Mr. Wilson, I just wanted to tell you that was a fantastic trade, the Thornton one.” He smiled and said “thank you, but make sure to call me Doug.” Leif and I sat with 2 other random people we didn’t know and had just met, and the 4 of us were enjoying a leisurely lunch, when Jamie Baker sat down at our table and we started talking to him. One of the guys asked him exactly what Brendon Witt had said to Scott Parker in Nashville/Sharks game to make Scott Parker try to climb over the boards and kill him, but Jamie said he didn’t know since he was too far away to hear. I asked him my dying-to-know announcer question – do they practice how they say “SCORRRRRE” so it comes out with the right excitement and intonation? He laughed and said that he never said it, that only Dan Rusinowsky does, and that Dan was in the room sitting at another table. He pointed him out to me, I made a mental note of that so I could talk to him later on.

At some point we were ushered out into the hall to take a picture with Doug who had to act like we were just drafted, so the picture was with him and whomever holding a Sharks jersey, shaking hands, and smiling into the camera. When it was my turn he remembered me from before, and I said hi and told him my name since I hadn’t before. We went back to lunch and were sitting there talking, and Doug came up to our table, said something to Jamie, and then asked us if he could sit down and have lunch with us. Of course we said he could, so he got a plate of food and came back, and saw me and said “Hi Michelle”. What was actually funny about that, is that throughout the day, most people remembered my name just because I was one of the only girls, but hey, I didn’t mind, I just thought it was cool that for one day Doug Wilson knew who I was. Sharks Alumni I must say, he was taking a big chance with having lunch with us because he had to have known we were going to start asking him question after question, which we did, and he took it all in stride, and answered us. We did get an answer to the Brendon Witt question, and it turned out it wasn’t Witt who said anything, but some other guy further down on the bench (who made some crack about Parker’s family or something like that (the camera was filming Wilson at that point, so he chose his language carefully)), but Witt was the closest to Parker. We talked to him about goalies, like how we all liked Schaefer, and he said there were goalies up and coming that the Sharks have that were even better than him. Drew Remenda from the TV broadcasts showed up to say something to Jamie so I got a picture with him. I decided to go talk to Dan before he left because it looked like he was going to leave soon. I introduced myself to him, and told him how much I enjoyed the broadcasts since for so many of the away games I’m still at work when the game starts so I listen to the streaming audio. He was extremely nice, and actually talked almost more than I did. :) I asked him the same radio announcer question that I had asked Jamie, and he said it’s definitely something acquired over time and he’s had a lot of time to practice it and get it so it sounds right. I also asked him about doing research before the game and how much time they put into it since when they’re doing the play-by-play they don’t have a lot of time to look at an actual cheat sheet and figure out who actually has the puck. He showed me a large packet of paper and said that they get something like that before every game, and basically will spend all day going through it, figuring out what tidbits of information they can and want to use, since there’s no way they can figure that out during the game, and they do their best to learn the players at that point.

I took a picture of Dave Maley with Leif’s camera, and talked with him a little, and he asked if I could take a picture of all the alumni since Doug was there too, and his camera is just a little bitty one. I pulled Leif into this since he’s the camera expert, Dave got all the alums together, and we snapped a picture which I told him I’d put up on my Flickr account and email him on Sunday. Lunch soon ended, and it was time to get ready for the big game...

Overheard Outside of a Sharks Game

Too amusing to not share. We were leaving the Shark Tank after the 5-2 win over the Oilers, and were walking through the parking lot. In front of us were 2 dads, and slightly behind them, but still in front of us were their 2 kids, about ages 6 or 7, who were messing around in the parking lot.

One of the dads finally noticed the kids were playing in the parking lot, and grabbed his arm.

Dad: Haven't I told you before not to play in the parking lot?
Kid: We weren't playing!
Dad: What are you smoking?

I'm so using that when we have kids...

Signing Their Life Away

A few weeks ago, the San Jose Sharks had their first autograph session of the year. Not knowing what we were getting ourselves in to, we decided to cough up the $60 per person and head over to Logitech Ice on the big day.
This is Sharks Territory

Beforehand, we did some calculations. The Sharks said they were only selling 300 tickets max, and each person could get 2 autographs per player (and only 1 ticket per person). That's 600 autographs a player. Could it be done?

The answer is yes, it could be done. The money benefited the Sharks Foundation so that was a good cause, and after talking to a couple of the Sharks Foundation people, they told me the players were doing this completely out of the goodness of their hearts for charity.

Anyways, we showed up around 7 (it started at 7, but doors opened at 6:30), and quickly realized we were pretty close to the back of the line, but more people filed in as the evening wore on. Sharkie was there of course so his was the first autograph we got. 90 minutes later, we finally hit the table where the players were (all 9 of them). The players were seated at multiple tables in a line in alphabetical order. There was a nice, big sign saying "no photos", to which I promptly ignored and took photos of all the players. I figured I'd snap away until someone said something to me. No one ever did, so I have photos of all the players.

We also figured out that with a 2 hour event, we'd have roughly 10 seconds per player if we wanted to say anything. I probably went a little bit over that time period, but Leif was a little shy so he didn't really say anything. I told Nils Ekman he was my favorite player (in Swedish of course, but he answered me in English). When I was getting Jonathan Cheechoo's autograph, some woman by the door (teenager I should say) yelled "I love you Cheechoo!" He turned a little red, but not much, so he probably gets stuff like that a lot, even though it's weird. He had just received his new bottom teeth and said he was still getting used to them.

Anyways, both of us now have 10 autographs on our jerseys, pages in the Sharks yearbook signed, and we also got an extra jersey signed to send out to Leif's nephew, Jonas in Sweden.

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