It has become and annual tradition for us, making the trek to stand outside in the heat, or cold, in order to be one of the few to stand in another line for signatures, or food, and then sit close to the ice and watch a scrimmage. It's a Season Ticket Holder event, and we always have an invite, although this time my invite was with Mina, who was about 90 minutes behind me in arriving. I was in before she parked because I'm that awesome.
(Bored? You probably just want to click this and get to the part marked ONTO THE SCRIMMAGE!)
A serious gentleman in a black sport coat, who seemed to be a blue coat ring leader, had informed those of us waiting by the doors of where each player line was, so we could plan ahead. I had my goal, and his name was Joe Thornton.
Passing Blue Coats who told me to SLLLOOOOWWWWW DDDOOOOWWWNNN from my mild jogging pace, I made my way quickly to what I thought was the Joe Thornton line. It was actually the Patty Marleau line. I was a section off. Blast!
Options quickly weighed, I stayed in line and decided to risk trying to Joe's line second. I didn't have Patty's sig either and I was there early enough that two lines seemed possible for the first time in years.
Patty was joined by Havlat, McCarthy, Braun and MacIntrye. Niitty was listed but was not at the table. I got the eyes and a"How YOU doin?" from McIntyre, said my "Hellos" and "Thank yous" to him, Braun, the McCarthy Era, Havlat, (who I swear just writes an H when he signs his name. I also think he's part bear.), and got a warm smile and light chatter from Patty. (He's now my favorite for the season because he actually looked like he was enjoying himself and he smiled at people!) Signatures acquired in record time!
Now, onto Joe's line. Damn, number 167? Well, I had a shot, and I had a helluva a lot better one than the vast expanse of people that soon formed behind me. The two women in front of me did not understand the concept of a line, or how one works and constantly refused to move up, which was annoying in the absence of more important stimuli. Thankfully, the line moved at a decent pace, give the number of people in it, and soon I had secured my signatures. Unlike Patty, who sat at the end of his table, they placeJoe smack dab in the middle. While he did, sadly, have a shirt on, he was all smiles and oozing Joe Thornton-ness. How can you hate on this man, I mean, really?
Not to ignore an important part of the tradition, spooking/confusing a player unintentionally, I managed to spook poor Benn Ferriero. I told him I had has sig from last year when he sat with Huskins, but it was cool, sign again anyway. He looked like I had spoken to him in Japanese, signed my poster, and probably inched back a bit as I took it. Oh yes, Benry, I REMEMBER. Sure, I remember because of Huskins being hilarious, but, you don't know that. Sorry I spooked you, dude. I don't stalk players, I promise. I'm rather stable and quite frankly that seems like way too much work.
ONTO THE SCRIMMAGE! (aka, that part you care about)
Team Teal line up:
Griess, Vandermeerm JoePa, Winchester, Patty, Joe, Andrew Murray, Sexy, Ben Guite, Matt Pelech, Matt Irwin, Wingles, Marek Viedensky, Braun, Sean Acolatse, James Livington, Dejardins, Sgarbossa, Nathan Moon, Curt Gogoland Brent Burns.
Team White line up:
Douglas Murray will CRUSH YOU, Colin White, Mitchells, Boyle, Handzus, Cloweverfield, Heemskerk, Sateri, TEETH, MacIntrye, MacCarthy, Sean Sullivan, Mike Connolly, Mike Moore (not not Graham Mink), Brodie "not Brazil" Reed, Demers, McGinn, Monster Mash, Freddie Hamilton, Taylor Doherty, and Ferriero.
As always, two 30 minute "periods", running clock, each team is awarded a 5 minute power play at some point in the period. It's supposedly to practice or show off the PP, but I think it's just for fun, honestly. These guys clearly are out there to have fun, and not take the scrimmage too seriously (assuming they're already on the team, anyway)
We sat on Teal's attack side. Sides did not switch. Sateri started in net for White, with Griess in net for Teal. White struck early, scoring a goal and causing Mina's brother to remark that now, a mere few minutes in, we had seen all the scoring we'd see for the night. (past Teal and White games have been not so abundant int he scoring department). He was proven wrong though as the chances, and goals, came fast and furious, ending the first half 2-2. At some point int he first 30, JoePa and Teeth nearly threw down after a rush on Sateri, but it was all for play and the fans got a kick out of it. Judging by their smiles, so did JoePa and Teeth. It was a pretty fantastic moment. A bunch of guys swept in te stop them, but it became clear that they were play fighting and laughing, and everyone seemed to be having a good time on the ice.
The kids were trying to impress, and Sgarbossa sure did. He scored a sick ass goal on Heemskerek, who took over the net from Sateri in the second. (Sexy was int he nets for Teal). It was just disgusting. Jumbo got a sweet ass shot in, I think in the second half, from an angle that I don't think should work when applying normal geometry. Patty was on fire. Murray wanted to SMASH, and all the big guys looked ready to go.Joe Pa, Jumbo, Patty, Clowe, Boyle, Murray, all rocking the ice. You really don't appreciate how FAST Patty is, or how well Joe passes, until you sit right on the glass and can really see it. JoePa also has some fancy ass foot and hand work. But back to Sgarbossa, he's legit. When he makes the team, and the way he was playing he has to at some point, we're calling him Barbossa. (We're not that witty. Sometimes obvious is best)
Despite the game ending with Teal victorious 5-4, the traditional post scrimage shoot out was held. Clowe, JoePa, Patty (sick, sick goal) all scored. I think Sgarbossa did again. Someone aimed for and hit the water bottle when they scored. White ended up winning the shootout, and we all left entertained. That's pretty much always a given though. Watching these guy just having fun out on the ice is a treat.
The new glass looks NICE. It now has a few more scuff marks than it did before the scrimmage.
New signage is up all over the concourse. It's a little weird to see it all so clearly marked, and in such a friendly style, but it should make navigation easier for folks this season.
The wall between the benches was gone. Potential for epic chirpping this season? Obscenely high.
Padding has been added to the stanchions on either side of the benches. Not a hellofa lot though, so I rather debate the effectiveness, but I suppose some is better than none. We'll see how that works out this season. (or not, Hopefully not)
New electric boards. Mina and I both prefer traditional ones, but these were shiny and new, and looked nice, so we gave them a pass. (when they start blue screening ads in behind the net during Sharks games, I'll be pissed. So janky.)
Did you know that Rusanowsky has blonde hair on top, brown in the back and grey on the sides? Well, now you do.
Speaking of hair, Douglas Murray's flows long and lush. It can crush small island nations.
Bakes and Rusanowsky introduced the teams. Bakes picked White for the win and now owes Rusanowsky a dinner during the first road trip of the season. Stiff bet.
Fans, rejoice. Hockey is back!