As IPB has already given us the heartfelt and intelligent version of the Hlog I-95 meetup, I’m going to go the “Best Of!” route, and I’m going to attempt to do it in chronological order. This may get ugly quickly.
All images used within can also be found at my Flikr site
Your blog for tonight will consist of:Pookie, Schnookie, CapsChick, Elly, Steph and Shmee. Your team will be the Washington Capitals. (or the Hershey Bears.)
I arrived at Shmee’s apartment. If parking was truly lighter than other days, DAMN, I am NEVER moving to D.C, as I went around a 6 block area for about 20 minutes looking for somewhere I could park Turco’s ample posterior. (Turco is my 1997 green Subaru station wagon. Big. Slow. Green….. he sort of named himself.) After the pleasantries and introductions, we decided to go punish our livers in the rainbow district nearby.
Enter Danny Briere. No joke. Little guy, button down shirt, dark hair cut into that awful shaggy-wedgy-wants to be a gymnast style, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I believe there was a text message to the CapsChick/Steph party about him, but I was rather fermented at that point, and can’t be sure. After soaking ourselves up in a little greasy fried stuff, we moseyed our way home, and crashed for the night.
We got going late, the Metro hung us up and we stopped for Starbucks, so we didn’t actually get to Kettler until around 10:40. Once there, it quickly devolved from “Get to Know Your Fellow Hloggers” to “World’s Loudest Hockey Fans Invade D.C. Mall, Details At 11.” For whatever reason, one of the recurring weirdness of the weekend became and attempt by Elly and me to make as many of the Caps as possible children of other hockey players. Our crowning glory was as follows:
This also allowed me to coin the phrase, “He’s Maloney in the eyes.”
Of course, later on we decided that all hockey players had a variation on one of about 12 heads, which is why so many of them look so similar… then every 20 years they bust up all the molds and make a new batch. But more on that later, when we get to Fluffy and BabyMalkin on Sunday.
It turns out that the Caps were also not the only team there. The Canucks had sent their forward scout, Comrie “Thorguld” Sedin. This poor guy got the dreadedly unsubtle ‘turn and stare’ from all of us, and was sufficiently creeped out enough to avoid making eye contact for the rest of the day. Of course, as far as weirdness levels go, Cape Dude was the hands down champion.
After the rookie scrimmage, (that’s Scott Barney from Hershey) we wandered across the lobby en mass to the other ice rink, where we found the big boys doing drills. (and lost Elly to one of those dumb crane games.) It’s ridiculously thrilling to me to be standing literally on the other side of the glass as two people attempt to shove one another through it, so I was having the time of my life. This was also the longest time we saw Ovechkin practice for the entire weekend. He and Semin seemed to have this idea that because they were the big names, they didn’t really need ice time that badly.
Onwards, there was lunch (nachos and dip and chips and beer… some people had sandwiches), over which we discussed the role of the female fan, and how you couldn’t really wear a Sidney Crosby jersey or and Ovechkin jersey and be taken seriously. Schnookie got the winning quote from that conversation when she brought it home with “We’re sports fans…who objectify.” I managed to challenge her quote supremacy later on the way back to Shmee’s house, when we had to climb 2.5 stories on a dead escalator out of the Metro and nearing the top I whined “I’m getting Sidney Crosby butt from this!”
Shmee greeted us with a drink that went from being named “Rachael Ray’s Spiked Pink Lemonade” to “Pink Drink of Firey Death” and the evening went downhill from there. Between Rocky-Horrorizing The Cutting Edge (we even had the SIDE PONYTAILS, come on) and Shmee recounting her adventures in supposedly skanky clothing, the evening could really only end with a field trip. And where else would one go on a field trip than to the Verizon Center?
Up and at it on time this time. Loaded into Turco, picked up the rest of the troops, and headed out the the rink again. This time, we settled in for the drills and actually watched what was going on, about three rows back from what we were guessing were Ovie’s parents. Ovie and Olie were in rare form from the beginning, scrapping verbally during a shootout drill then each dancing when they managed to best the other. However, Olie’s game disintegrated from there, and by the time they were done he had cracked his stick over his own knee and wound up throwing it off the ice at one of the equipment people. CapsChick started edging away from us early this time, especially after Steph asked in true Steph loudvoice “Is Olie looking especially creaky today?” The rest of the first round players were in high spirits, however, and two of them wound up horsing around amusingly as well.
After a slight Zamboni break (and a chance for us to go raid the Caps store for the *right* team’s stuff, we went back out to watch the prospies. Enter Fluffy, BabyMalkin, Backcountry Pyatt and NotMachesney. (in reality, Jay Beagle, Dan Kronick, Grant McNeill and Kris Mayotte. In our defense, nobody was wearing names on jerseys, and CapsChick was hogging the program, so we fell back on stupid nicknames to communicate with each other.) Interestingly enough, Alexander Semin was also lumped in with this second group, but spent more of it lounging on the boards and looking disinterested than he did actually playing. It was interesting to see the prospies go through the same drills that the big boys had just finished, because you could tell that these were the guys who were really WORKING to do well and make the team, not the guys that knew they were already there. Frederic Cassivi (Hershey’s goalie) was down in the same net Olie had been in earlier, and wasn’t doing much better. He seemed to be overcommitting to one side of the net and disregarding anyone not in his immediate line of sight. We debated getting him a flowerpot to improve the chi at that end of the rink, but decided that probably wasn’t gonna be enough to help him. The other goalie, Kris Mayotte or NotMachesney, (as he was NOT Daren Machesney from Hershey the way we thought he was, but an import from the Arizona Sundogs) was doing much better overall. I really ho
pe that they decide to keep him around and send him up here to Central PA to play with the Bears… not only was he showing some real promise, but he seemed to be meshing with all of the other prospies pretty darn well.
As all the prospies were packing it in for the day, we also got the treat of getting to watch Puck Handling 101, with Nylander and G.McNeill which was pretty downright amazing.
And of course, as we were leaving for lunch, we wandered into the other rink and watched the last period of a local hockey club’s game, which was really much less GAME and much more FIGHT. I think I actually physically squee’d when the two dudes started pummeling each other directly in front of us, and I took way too many pictures, just proving my previously known goon-loving tendencies.
All in all, I couldn’t have come up with a better way to spend a weekend. Except maybe Pens camp, but even then, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with a different group of people. I think the I-95 meetup may well become a half-yearly thing, and Elly and I are already plotting towards the Ice Bowl in Buffalo.
Oh, and when you thought it couldn’t get much better? Hershey Bears open practices start Thursday.
I’ll see you there!