Teal and White has become a ritual I look forward to each pre season. Lining up far earlier than you think you should to get into the Tank, only to go stand in line some more in search of signatures and a fleeting glimpse of your favorite players up close. Then they take to the ice in an exhibition scrimmage that is (typically) slow paced but fun to watch. It's a nice night that allows fans to just spend time in the tank with some familiar faces all while sitting as close to the ice as you can get. (because if you're like us, you're not getting that chance again until the next Teal and White game). Sure, we could sit in our seats but why? We have all season to sit in those.
Anyone who has met Mina and I in person knows we're quite a force. We somehow always seem to make the people in line around us laugh, draw the Blue Coats around us into conversation, and to make very focused and business like players smile and laugh. This is because the Gray and Mina show is a comedy show on steroids. We don't even try to do it, it just happens. Add Mina's brother into the mix and you have the perfect set up for sports comedy gold. (and the occasional light political debate, which, I won btw the way. Suck it Geoff!)
Usually, we decide which line we're going to get in based on which player we really want to see. Past years have found us in Cheechoo's line, so Afro could meet him, in JR's line, because he's freakin' awesome, and in some rookie lines because, well...they were short. This year the decision was based purely on the fact that there had been plans for a brigade of ABIDE shirts to invaded Pavelski's table. Sadly, it turned out to be a brigade of one, so the impact was lessened, but nonetheless, we waited patiently in JoePa's line JUST so he could see the shirt. (well, that and so his teammates could also see it and give him crap about it later.) When we finally got to him, he was so focused on just signing things and not actually seeing the fans* that I had to point the shirt out to him. That finally got us a smile and a slight laugh as he recognized the image.
Next came Douglas Murray who was silent and looked a little annoyed to be there (although to be fair he looked that way on the ice as well), but he was sporting a nice little tic tac toe board and a hand drawn face on his name card, which had been turned around. Apparently the boys got a little bored waiting for the crush of fans to arrive and had a little game to pass the time. Next we moved to the venerable Kent Huskins
who was sporting some nice looking stitches under one eye as well as a nice little shiner. His name card, also turned around, had a little face on it showing the injury and a little written note that said "it's from a puck" with a little arrow pointing to his injured eye. This instantly caught out attention and Mina and I immediately started riffing with him about it. "Don't worry", Mina told him, "chicks dig scars." The she paused for a moment as said "well, at least that's what I hear." Which prompted to me respond with "shouldn't you know?" and then it became a blur of rapid conversation between ourselves and directed at Huskins, which netted us a genuine laugh and smile from both himself and Benn Ferriero, who was sitting next to him. As we moved down the table Ferrio turned to Huskins and said "How do you get all the girls?" I nearly fell over laughing. Thankfully, Mike Moore had heard the comment and realized I wasn't a staggering crazy, and laughed along with me. Mina didn't insult his signature this year either, which I'm sure he was happy about.
Worth mentioning: Ferriero isn't a bad looking fella when he doesn't look like he just staggered home from a bar fight around 2am.
As we regrouped downstairs, Mina declared that, thanks to this encounter, Kent Huskins was now going to be the man of the evening. And not only that, he was to become the new patron saint of CouchTarts, the blog. You should expect to see him around here quite a bit more this season. He's a good guy, you know? He'd hold the door for you at the movies, or take your groceries out to your car because that's the type of guy he is.
We shall recap the scrimmage itself in Teal and White Night, part 2.
* I don't blame him for this at all. He has to sign a lot of stuff and after awhile, everyone becomes a blur. I am not implying he was being rude by any means. He was simply in business mode, and I respect that. Plus, that shirt has to be embrassing as hell.