Thursday, June 26, 2008

Coyotes Rookie Night and Stracena

Well here is my recap of last night which everyone has eagerly been waiting for:
Earlier in the day, we had made a stop at Play It Again Sports and I got a goalie stick. We went back home and I took off all the tape and sanded the bad boy down and went out to lunch and then to Home Depot (I felt like I was taking a tour of all the places I had applied for a job) where we bought a can of spray paint that would come out Coyote Red. After hanging out in the pool, spraying the stick and listening to Howard Stern and the rest of Sirius radio, it was time to get ready to go. I grabbed the stick, 2 silver sharpies, my Ratelle jersey and we were off.
We got there at around 5pm to make sure that we had plenty of time in getting in line to get in. Of course as the line filled up I was getting weird looks from people because of my #19 Ratelle jersey and my dad's #26 Taylor jersey (Yes as in Tim Taylor). Wearing a hockey jersey in 110+ degree weather takes dedication and we certainly did it even though most people on line, from Phoenix, couldn't take the heat.
Once we got inside, the VIP kicked in as a short lady came up to us and began talking to us about ticket plans. The one thing she said to me that really made me happy was that the Coyotes were leading the entire NHL in new season ticket holders. I am very happy to hear people are starting to take an interest in this team in Phoenix. Well one thing lead to another and eventually my Dad and I were standing at 2 seats off to the left of the visiting net. They were great seats and my Dad gets to pick whichever 20 games he wants to go to this season. $300 later (with 5 more monthly payments of $300) my Dad had bought a 20 pack of tickets. Good way to start the night right? 
We saw that the players had come out but the line was going past the opposite blueline so we decided to chill. We grabbed 2 free hot dogs each and ate those while a 4 year old kid in Coyotes stuff came over and booed us for wearing Ranger jerseys. We laughed and talked with the parents. The kid definitely would have a future in Section 420 with some help. 
Afterwards we went down into the locker room area which absolutely smelled like hockey. We checked out the weight room and the chart where it lists the weights of all the guys before and after workouts. I will post a picture of that whenever it is ready. Coyotes have a very nice locker room by the way.
When we got out of there we were about to get on line since it was slimming down until out of the corner of my eye I saw the guy I had been looking for the whole time: Donny M. We went over to him and spent about 5 minutes talking to him about the draft, trades, and what he is going to do about the defense, saying that he wasn't going to look at the big names on the free agent market but value guys that could play good defense. He wouldn't spill names but to talk to him nonetheless was an absolute blast. Took a picture with him and then we decided to get on line. 
As we were standing there, my Dad decided he wanted to take pictures from his seat and told me to hold my stick up when he was taking them. Of course he is sitting up there taking pictures and I am doing my best Henrik Lundqvist impression after a Ranger win with everyone around me just looking at me like I am crazy. I was half expecting a security guard coming over and tackling me thinking I was giving some kind of signal to a terrorist but it didn't happen. 
My Dad came back down and we spent about 45 minutes snaking through the line, talking with people around us and texting SlapShot quotes back and forth to his buddy who couldn't come with us ("Old Time Hockey? Eddie Shore?"). We were lucky we got on line when we did because they cut the line off about 10 or 15 people behind us. 
When we got to the front, some arena services guy was handing out pre-made Coyotes paper to have signed. Of course I didn't need that. It started with Mueller with his new mohawk like hair due. We told him we were happy with his rookie season and couldn't wait to see him to break Gretzky's goal record next year. I just told him to slide the stick down the table and he passed it to Joel Gistedt, the new goalie from Sweden, and they kept on passing. I talked to Benn Ferreiro about his national championship and he said Porter, Kolarik, and Summers were all a bit jealous of him. He was a cool guy. Next to him was big Jared Staal who laughed when he saw my Ranger jersey. He said he wasn't expecting to see one here and I told him to just end up as good, if not better, than his brothers. He was a cool kid and very down to earth. 
I don't have the order in front of me but I think Tikhonov was next and he signed my stick. I wanted to tell him it was great to finally have a commie bastard on the team but I don't think he would have gotten the joke. I said I was happy to have him and hope he made the team. Down the line we kept on going until we got to Matheiu Brodeur, the 3rd round pick for Phoenix and he stopped to take a picture. I jokingly asked if he was related to Marty Brodeur and he laughed saying no. He was a good guy and is a big boy. Adam Perry was next, yes the brother of Anaheim's Corey Perry. He looks just like his brother and I wanted to ask him if he was going to sign with Phoenix but I forgot to. He passed it along until we got down to Mikkel Boedker who was sitting next to Turris. Apparently I was holding up the whole line because my stick was slow making it down. Turris laughed and nudged Boedker saying some Ranger fans had made it. I laughed and said we were New York Ranger fans but it didn't make a difference. Turris mentioned that he remembered a kid last year wearing a Ranger jersey and I explained it was me. To thin the kid is the same age as me. Last but definitely not least was Brett Hextall. He is the son of Ron and the great grandson of Bryan Hextall Sr who scored the Cup clinching goal for the Rangers in 1940. I told him I would love to have him on the team as long as he was as crazy as his Dad. He laughed and said that he would do his best. I snapped a picture with him, said good luck to Boedker, Turris, and Hextall. 
After that we went back over to Maloney one more time to say good bye and thank him for coming. We were about to leave when one of the Coyotes guys (I think it was Doug Moss) asked if Maloney had played with Ratelle and he laughed and answered with "Maybe his ghost". We walked away and then I ran back to him one more time laughing saying I was sorry I was bothering him. I asked him to sign my stick. He happily did. I shook his hand and said that every Ranger fan missed him and was afraid of July 1st. He said he missed us too and said we shouldn't worry because Sather was a good guy and had everything in control. I don't if it was just me but I thought I heard some sarcasm in his voice. 
We walked over to one of the video boards that is along the rink, took a picture and went to walk out. Boedker was walking into the locker room and I yelled "Lets Go Rangers" at him when he replied "Lets Go Coyotes". I guess he wants to leave Kitchener behind and make this team. We stopped to take a few more pictures inside, took a few pictures of the stick outside and left Arena at 9:15. Hockey goalie stick: $21.99. Red Spray Paint: $5.99. 4 slices of Ray's Pizza and 2 drinks $11.39. A payment on a 20 pack of season tickets $300. 29 silver signatures on a beautiful red goalie stick, priceless. Oh and one less silver sharpie. 
So that is the story of the day that was. It was alot of fun and definitely the highlight of this AZ trip so far. 
On the Ranger front, Marty Straka has decided he will not return to the NHL and will play in his home town of Plsen and will also be a team manger. Straka was a great guy to watch and brought his full effort every night. He was a big time Ranger killer before he came to NY but I will miss him all the same. Here's to Marty.
The Coyotes issued qualifying offers yesterday with Daniel Carcillo among the names. Good thing to see him offered and wanted back, not that he was going anywhere.
Keep checking all the links at the side for NHL news and opinions. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I will post pictures as soon as they have been edited and cleaned up a bit which will hopefully be today and will put a post mentioning when they are up. I will also put them on Facebook for Facebook friends. As always, keep checking back as I will post throughout the day as big news breaks out. Thanks for reading as always. 

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