Follow the adventures of the Goalie Stick as it travels North America collecting NHL Goalie 'Graphs.

Teams

Philadelphia Flyers Early Bird BBQ

Philadelphia Flyers 2013-14 Season Ticket Holders Early Bird BBQ

When we got to the Wells Fargo Center, one of the volunteers there offered to help my Dad and I go around to collect autographs.  [My dad had surgery on his foot & can’t walk on it, so he needs a wheelchair].  The volunteer was very nice & stayed with us the whole time, taking us around to get all of the players autographs.

I’d printed out photos I’d made of the players [pictures I’d found online that I made into pretty designs] to get signed & made copies to give them.  I could only get the 4×6 pictures to print, my printer started acting up when I tried to print 8×10’s.

Autographed Stuff:

Vincent Lecavalier

I gave Mr. Lecavalier a pretty pic I’d made from a photo I found online & he signed one for me.  He seemed to like the picture a lot.  [I didn’t take the photo, I just photoshopped it to make it look pretty.]  He was really nice [and very tall].  I still had my high heels on, so that was good.

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Philadelphia Flyers Vincent Lecavalier

 

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Scott Hartnell

Scott Hartnell signed a photo I made of him with Dion Phaneuf, along with some words of advise Scott Hartnell had given Mr. Phaneuf at one time.  I gave him a copy of it too.  Scott was sitting with Kris Newberry [the guy we’d traded one of our AHL players to the Rangers for] and Hal Gill.

I like Hal Gill a lot & was disappointed he hadn’t gotten a chance to play in a game yet.  I felt bad I hadn’t made a pictures for him to sign since he was with Scott Hartnell.  I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, or make him think we just wanted Scott Hartnell’s autograph [especially since he’s a longtime NHL veteran].  Thinking quickly, I asked Hal Gill if he’d sign my shirt & pointed to the [very low cut] collar  framing my nice rack.  It was really cool, because he had to sort of hold the t-shirt still with his other hand, sort of feeling me up.  I’ve never been felt up by a hockey player before, it was kind of cool.

I didn’t have pictures for a lot of our D-Men [or Jakub Voracek] to sign, so I let them all sign my tee shirt too.  Most of them just held the marker in one hand & tried to scribble their name to avoid any appearance of impropriety, but Hal Gill was my favorite though.  [I told Jakub Voracek that I’d gotten felt up by Hal Gill & he thought that was funny].

Jay Rosehill

Mr. Rosehill signed the [other half] of my infamous Shelly / Rosehill fight pic from the 2011-12 preseason, one of my favorite pics I’d taken during a game.

Jody Shelly & his friend Jay Rosehill became engaged in what appears to be a somewhat heated disagreement.

Mr. Shelly signed his side of the photo for me at one of the Flyers Carnivals, but I’d needed to get Mr. Rosehill to add his ‘graph.  Luckily, he was trade to the Flyers at the end of last season & he signed it last night.

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Claude Giroux, Matt Read & Wayne Simmonds

I made a few photos of these three sitting on the bench after Matt Read scored a goal in a Carolina Hurricanes game [end of the 2012-13 season].  I printed a few variations for each of the players & they all signed this one for me.

PS: Claude also signed a another photo I’d edited — a goalie win celly photo. IMG_0794

 

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Sean Couturier

I had a cool picture of Sean Couturier that he signed for me.  I gave him a copy of the pic I had signed and another pretty picture of him and goalie Steve Mason.  Sean Couturier is always really nice when at the Flyers events.  [I may or may not have mentioned he looks slightly better clean shaven.

Zac Rinaldo

I used Zac Rinaldo’s infamous hockey quote to create an inspirational photo, since he has a way of ‘inspiring’ other players to give up the puck.  He signed a copy for me & I gave him one.

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Luke & Brayden Schenn

My Dad wanted to get a hockey puck signed by the Schenn Brothers.  I didn’t have any pictures of them.  I let Luke Schenn sign my tee shirt.  I know lots of women have a thing for Brayden Schenn [although I’m not entirely sure why] but I think Steve Mason is way hotter, so I only got Luke’s autograph on my tee shirt, not Brayden’s.

It was a lot of fun & the Flyers Volunteer that walked us around to get all of the autographs was really nice & very helpful.


Steve Stamkos [Not A Goalie] – Atlantic City, NJ Hurricane Sandy Benefit Game

During the lockout, Scott Hartnell & Brad Richards organized a charity event in Atlantic City, sponsored by Caesars.   Brad Richards’s team was mostly Rangers [and Ex-Rangers] with 2 Ducks [Corey Perry & Bobby Ryan] and James Neal.  Scott Hartnell’s team was mostly Flyers & Devils, a few left coast Flyers [aka Kings], Steve Stamkos, OK Subban & the legendary Martin Brodeur.  Interestingly enough the Flyers were still unable to win a game against Henrik Lundqvist.

The audience composed mostly of Flyers, Devils and Rangers fans with a few other teams scattered in the mix.  As they announced each player, Flyers & Devils fans boo’d the Ranger players.  Devils and Rangers fans boo’d the Flyers players.  Flyers and Rangers fans boo’d the Devils players.  If there’s one thing Flyers, Rangers & Devils fans can agree on, none of us liked the Pittsburgh Penguins.  James Neal drew the most & loudest boos from just about everyone in the arena.

The game was a lot of fun [I’ll post pics later] & afterwards my Dad and I went back to Caesars.  Since Caesars had sponsored the game, we figured there might be some players around we could get autographs from.  I’d already gotten the only goalies, Martin Brodeur & Henrik Lundqvist’s ‘graphs on my stick so I decided to try to get Steve Stamkos’s autograph on a hockey puck.  I changed from my Flyers Tee shirt into a Tampa Bay sweatshirt I’d had in my backpack, grabbed a Tampa puck & paint pen out of my back pack so I’d have it handy in case we saw him.   The nightclub at Caesars was having an after-party, but I don’t think my Dad realized that ‘after party’ meant ‘several hours after’.  I’m also pretty sure he’d never been to a nightclub as he didn’t seem to understand why I didn’t think it’d be a great idea getting his wheelchair into the nightclub.  [We tried anyway, and I don’t think my dad will be visiting any nightclubs any time soon.  I had an idea where some of the players might be, but my Dad said I was crazy and didn’t believe me.  After the wheelchair in the nightclub debacle, I told my Dad we should go to where I thought the players would be, but he wasn’t convicned so we decided to head home.

I don’t really understand why, but Caesars valet [car] claim is not in the same place as where we’d left the car.  The valet ticket needs to be brought upstairs and THEN you have to go back down to where you dropped the car off.  Instead of pushing my Dad around the entire casino again looking for elevators, I decided to leave him downstairs while I ran up to get the valet parking ticket scanned.  I conveniently left my Dad right in front of the place I’d told him all the hockey players would be at.  With my luck, Steve Stamkos would probably walk by while I was upstairs handing in the valet ticket.  Soooo..  I left the Tampa Bay puck and paint pen with my Dad and told him if he saw Steve Stamkos to get an autograph for me.  My Dad sarcastically agreed to do this for me & I ran up to the valet claim.

Having handed in the valet claim check, I went back downstairs to find my Dad holding a [now signed] Tampa Bay Lightning puck.  Sure enough only one hockey players had passed by and just happened to be Mr. Stamkos [one of the few current NHL players my Dad could easily recognize].  He was with Steve Downie, but I’d only given my Dad the one puck and I’m pretty sure he didn’t recognize Mr. Downie.  My dad had asked him to sign the puck for me.  At first I thought my Dad had scribbled on the puck to mess with me because he didn’t think I knew where the players were hanging out at.  Or since I’d left him with just a Tampa puck.  The other people waiting in the valet area said they’d seen him sign the puck for my dad.   They thought it was strange my Dad holding onto a Tampa puck hoping he’d run into Steve Stamkos in Atlantic City.

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Our car hadn’t arrived yet & I asked my Dad if he wanted any of the players signatures while we waited for valet to bring the car around.  He said he wanted to get Henrik Lundqvist’s autograph, so I gave him a New York Rangers puck from my backpack and shook the paint pen.  Not even 5 minutes had passed when the very next person we saw [I swear it was the weirdest thing] Henrik Lundqvist walk by.  [Another one of the few current players my Dad recognized].  Henrk signed the Rangers puck for my Dad and then my car showed up at the valet. At this point my dad realized I DID know where the hockey players would be, we just thought it was weird that we just happened to see the two people we wanted to get autographs from.

I told this story to a few other people, who wanted to know why I carried unsigned hockey pucks for other teams & a Tampa Bay sweatshirt in my backpack.  Especially since they know were from Philly.  What is it you guys think women keep in the big purse we carry around with us?

Puck Drop IMG_2624 'New York' Starting Line Up ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? Stamkos 91???????????????????????????????       IMG_2661 ??????????????????????????????? IMG_2674 IMG_2675 IMG_2676 IMG_2677 IMG_2690 IMG_2692

Anyone know the last time these guys had a friendly chat during warm-ups?

Or shook hands like old pals?

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For More info on Operation Hat Trick game & the supported foundations:
http://atlanticcitynj.com/visitors/thingstodo/operationhattrick.aspx


Eddie Lack – Chicago Wolves Game [November 20, 2012 ]

(Note: Post was written during the NHL’s 3rd work stoppage — the great “Fall Lockout of 2012”)

It’s weird not taking my dad to hockey games.  I’m trying to pretend it’s still summer but it’s cold & I lost my summer tan.

I put one of my doggies [Fifi] to sleep Monday so it was sort of bad week.  I figured a mini vacation would help.  Watch some hockey, try 2 get goalie ‘graphs during the lockout.  I picked Chicago because their AHL team has a cute goalie that should be in the NHL after the lockout.  His NHL team is in Canada so getting his ‘graph in Chicago, is one less Canadian city to fly to.  [Goalies on Canadian teams are REALLY difficult to get].  My fave hotel is in Chicago too, the Palmer House Hotel (Hilton) which is the oldest ‘continuously operating hotel’ in the USA.  A millionaire named Potter Palmer gave the hotel to his wife as a wedding present.  Talk about overtly romantic gestures.  You don’t see wedding presents like that anymore*.  The hotel retains it’s historic looks from the outside and most of the common areas in the interior like the (humongous) foyer, lobby & hallways, but all of the rooms have been recently renovated to include modern amenities such as huge brand new flat screen HDTVs.

*Note:  Less than 2 weeks after Potter presented the hotel to his wife, it burned to the ground  in the “Great Chicago Fire” (1871)

I’m flying to Chicago Monday.  Tuesday I’ll see the Chicago Wolves game.  [Really cute goalie] and he’s good a at keeping the pucks out of the net.  See…

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Sidebar:

I’ve tried a few times to get goalie ‘graphs before/after warm-up at local NHL games when I take my dad but visiting goalies don’t seem to like people that live in my city.  I’ve never seen any of the visiting goalies sign, wave or do anything nice for ANY of the fans at my arena — even fans of their own team.  When you see goalies on TV being nice to fans at an arena their visiting, whatever arena they’re at is NOT the Wells Fargo Center.  I find this slightly confusing given the strong sentiment Philadelphia fans have for their team, it takes a lot of courage, loyalty and an overt personality to show up at the Wells Fargo Center wearing anything that isn’t orange and black.  Anyone can wear a Detroit Red Wings jersey at a Columbus Blue Jackets home game, but it takes a special kind of person to wear a limited edition, commemorative, autographed [and might I add very expensive] Montreal Canadiens sweater bought by someone’s parents from the visiting goalie’s official website (you know who I mean — CP31).  I would think there would MORE of an appreciation from players on the visiting team for at least their own fans in a hockey market like Philadelphia, but the goalies don’t want anything to do with anyone that lives there.

I have to say with only one exception, the visiting Captains will always toss pucks over the net for fans — their own and even Flyers fans, but I’ve only once seen a visiting player sign an autograph after warmups at the Wells Fargo Center (Ottawa Senators Chris Neil – very nice guy) So while the captains [except for one] are always nice, the goalies never even smile at fans (even those wearing extremely expensive merchandise purchased from their official web sites) let alone sign autographs after warmups or even after a game.  While I can certainly understand they’re in their own little goalie world & all, I’d be somewhat more understanding if I hadn’t seen & heard of numerous occasions where the visiting goaltender WILL give away a stick or sign autographs for fans at just about every other arena in the league.  Sometimes to fans wearing their colors in a rival city, other times just to the rival teams’ fans.  Yet those same goalies can’t even crack a smile for their fans in Philadelphia.

I”m sure by now the ushers for the section next to the visiting team ice entrance must think I’m not too bright because I keep trying 2 get goalie ‘graphs even though I’ve not gotten one this way yet.  I always think maybe tonight if I smile really pretty at the new prospect backup before warm-ups, maybe he’ll think it’s b/c usually everyone pays attention to the other goalie & here was someone interested in them, maybe they’d think it’s cool sign my goalie stick.  But no luck.  Would you believe at a PRE-SEASON game [vs Toronto September 2011) with NO ONE wearing Blue & White even the BACKUP goaltender can’t manage to make eye contact with a fan screaming his name [….  Jonas Gustavsson] ?  (Maybe I was pronouncing it incorrectly?)

As we’ve established attempting to collect goalie ‘graphs before / after games / warmups isn’t very efficient, I should also point out that other common options for obtaining visiting players’ graphs are also not available in the Philadelphia area.  The visiting teams’ practice sessions are always closed, so this isn’t a viable option.  The area where the visiting team enters & leaves the arena to / from the visiting team bus is in a secured area making it impossible to obtain autographs the way I’ve seen pictures of people doing at other arenas.

I now return you to my post where I’m in the process of seeking alternative means of obtaining [active] NHL goalie ‘graphs ….

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My dad’s same friends said I should try 2 get visiting goalie ‘graphs at their hotels but I think that’s sort of creepy.  They also said when I go to warm-ups 2 wear low-cut tops & bounce a lot.  [I’m really good at it, I’m just not entirely sure it send the message that I want their autograph].  The next suggestion from my Dad’s friends was that I Tweet the goalie’s and ask them how I can maybe get their goalie ‘graph ahead of time.  I’m not really into social media overall and I’m not entirely sure if tweeting players is viewed in the same way that stalking them at their hotel would be however it seems slightly less intrusive so I thought I’d give it a try.  I got a Twitter account [iHeartHockey31]  & looked for cute goalies I was missing on my stick.  Given it was a new account with no followings attempting to contact high profile twitter accounts, I’m fairly certain my tweets have all ended up being flagged as potential spam and likely aren’t even seen by the players but what the heck.

Since I don’t mind getting ‘graphs at organized signings or charity events & goalies usually sign their name prettier when people are paying (or dontaing money to charity) for their ‘graph, maybe when I tweet them, I could offer to donate $ to their teams’ charity & see if they’d sign for me.  Since it’s Mo’vember (2012), I asked some of the cute goalies if they’d sign theGoalieStick in exchange for dontations to their Mo’vember pages.  The goalie for the Chicago Wolves [Vancouver Canucks] was the first one I tweeted & he said he’d sign theGoalieStick for me if I donated to his page, so I gave $250 for his Mo page and he said he’d sign for me at a game in Chicago.

Sweet…  one of my fave cities to visit [i LOOOOOOVE chicago style pizza  — and not that thick crust crap Pizzeria Unos calls ‘Chicago Pizza’, I mean real ‘Chicago Pizza’ like Gino’s East, Giordanos’s, Eduardo’s  where there’s layers of crust and toppings buried in between like a giant pie that takes 45 minutes to cook]

I’ve been to games in lots of NHL cities but don’t think I’ve been to an AHL game.  The Wolves didn’t have home games until the end of November.  The 20th was a weekday game where my fave hotel had a suite & airfare wasn’t expensive.  I had to get a ticket for the game.

AHL tickets were even LESS money then Tampa Bay tickets.  $50 for  first row seats behind the goalies.   I had to figure which side to sit by.  I checked out the visiting goalies to see if they were cute [or any good].  They weren’t [cute or good].  I wanted to sit behind the cute Chicago goalie but wasn’t sure which he was at twice.  I had to match up the wolfie mascot on the ice in a game to the ticket map & figure it out.  I think I got the right seats.

Now the big wardrobe question.  What team’s Girlie Tee to wear to the game.  [This whole T-Shirt issue probably needs a post of its own but anyway…. ]. As I’d decided not to buy new Flyers T’s  that wouldn’t work.  I tried really hard to buy a Rangers Tee, since I’d decided to be a Rangers fan since the last playoffs.  I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t bring my self to buy a Rangers Tee shirt.  The AHL & Chicago Wolves online store didn’t have girlie tees with goalie names on them so I finally settled on the idea of buying a Canucks T, the NHL team affiliated with Chicago.

I don’t understand what marketing genius at the shop.nsh site thought they’d make money by preventing all roster player names to be used on their custom T-shirts, but discovered this to be the case as I tried to order a Canucks Tee with ‘Lack’ on the back.  No joke…  Here I was thinking .. what a cool way to let people pick out their favorite player without having to stock every size/color/name but no, not so much. U can have anything u want written on the back of a tee except the name players on the team.  [More on this coming soon.  Is it just me or is the NHL again finding new & creative ways of NOT letting me spend money?   [I’m beginning to see the source of the NHL’s revenue issues.] .

I managed to find a Canucks Tee that was made by the same company that made my fave Flyers Tee & finally settled on that.  When I got the Tee in the mail it fit just like my 5th & Ocean Flyers Tee did.  [how comfy are vintage burn-out tees]

Gameday – November 20, 2012

I flew in yesterday to make sure my stick would make it too [not that I’ve ever had issues on American, just being cautious].  It’s almost 10AM [technically in Chicago it’s almost 9AM here, but I’m not here long enough to bother with changing the zones on the laptop].  My fave pizza place in Chicago brought me the best pizza ever!!  [I can only eat one slice before I’m full].  You can’t get pizza anywhere else in the country like that [except for Giordano’s in Orlando & a place that I can’t remember the name of in Greektown in Detroit].  It’s not like that stupid chain Uno’s that claims to have Chicago Pizza.  It’s the yummiest stuff pizza pie ever.  [Totally worth the 2 hours in the gym for a slice].

Now to find something exciting to do in Chicago for the next few hours till the game.  Shouldn’t be too hard?

The game was pretty cool.  I had tickets for seats in the front row & tried to get some good pics, but the glass was really scratchy so it was hard to get really clear pics through the glass.  It was also a little foggy/cloudy [maybe from the pre-game fireworks] so pics across the ice didn’t come out too great.  [I noticed the same foggy effect when I watched the game later on TV].

Eddie Lack played really good and made lots of saves through the night.  The other goalie was really bad.  Really bad.  He got pulled [for an even worse goalie] after the second period].   The other team wasn’t doing a good job keeping the crease clear of people for him.  A few times I’m pretty sure his own team may have been screening him.  Eddie was way better than the Admirals’ goalies.

One of the ushers showed me where the players came out after the game to sign autographs, but I was a little worried about missing my flight later that night.  I had the last flight out that night.   There was a lady at the customer service desk, Becca.  When I told her I’d flown in to see the game, she said for a donation to the Chicago Wolves Charity, she’d take the stick back for me right after the game so I wouldn’t miss my flight.  She only asked for a $25  donation, but I gave $100 since it was for charity.

I brought theGoalieStick over to Becca during the second intermission.  After the game I waited where she’d told me to meet her.  Shortly after the game ended, she brought the stick out to me with Eddie’s signature on it!

Here’s where Eddie added his signature to theGoalieStick for me:

How Sweet is That 🙂

Thanks for the Goalie ‘Graph Eddie Lack !!!!

PS: Eddie’s team won the game.  And I made from flight home.  theGoalieStick wasn’t as lucky as it was stuck in Chicago for another night in Chicago.  Thanks to American Airlines for getting my stick back to me at 1AM in the morning almost TWO ENTIRE DAYS after I arrived home.  [Hence my biggest issue traveling to other cities to collect goalie ‘graphs, luckily this was the way home & not the way there)

** Update **

Eddie is now officially the backup for the Vancouver Canucks & has been doing really well since his debut this season (2013-14).  Now if only the Canucks can manage to trade Roberto Luongo’s huge contract, I might not have to visit Vancouver to get any goalie ‘graphs.  Also, Eddie had offered fans autographed items in exchange for Mo’vember donations.  In addition to signing my goalie stick, I (unexpectedly) also receive an autograph photograph AND an autographed puck a few weeks later in the mail, so I wanted to say thanks to Eddie Lack for the surprise gifts too.

Eddie Lack, you’re a true Swedish Sweetheart & I wish you all the best & lots of success in your NHL career.  


To Be… Or Not To Be… [A Rangers Fan]

Sorry for the ‘Conspiracy-Like’ rant.   As it turns out the lockout may be over but the Philadelphia Flyers are still blacked out for non-Comcast fans [and season ticket holders] in Philadelphia.

For the 2011-12 NHL season I not only bought season tickets for my Dad, but I went to [almost] every game with him.  At the games, I love watching all the visiting goalies.  Despite liking all the visiting goalies, I do have a sense of hometown pride & proudly wore Philadelphia Flyers T-Shirts, hoodies, jewelry [with matching Philadelphia Flyers purse].  Once I wore the visiting teams’ goalie jersey over my Flyers Tee while watching warm-ups hoping the goalie would notice & maybe sign the goalie stick after warm-ups.  AND I took it off once I was back at my seat.  AND I only did it because it was Carey — my favorite.  Aside from that Canadiens game, I always supported the Flyers by buying and wearing all of their merchandise. As they are my home team, I cheered for the Flyers and wanted them to win, even if I really liked the visiting goalie.  [I just didn’t want them to win by a lot, so it wouldn’t hurt my fave goalies’ save %] .

I got sick during the 2011-12 season and had to miss a few games, so my Dad went with my Mom.  I figured I’d watch the game from home so I could talk to my Dad about it afterwards, and stay up to date on what was going on with my hometown team.  That night, at 7:05, puck-drop time, I turned to my local sports channel and there they were, my hometown team on my local sports channel [Known as an RSN in the television industry – Regional Sports network], wearing their classic red & blue jerseys.  Wait a minute, that’s not right.   After recalibrating the colors on my HDTV, and still not seeing any orange & black, it hit me.  DirecTV probably figured since I live in New Jersey, I must be in the New York sports market area.  It’s a common mistake, whenever I tell them I’m from NJ, they automatically assume its North Jersey in the suburbs of New York, when I actually am right across the Delaware River from the city of Philadelphia.  I just need DirecTV to switch my RSN from MSG [The North Jersey & New York Market are RSN] to CSN [the Philadelphia are RSN].  I called DirecTV and was repeatedly informed their database indicated MSG was RSN assignment.  While they didn’t outright explain why their database had the wrong market area for my RSN, research later showed that apparently CSN REFUSED to provide their programming to DirecTV.  To meet FCC regulations requiring television programming providers to provide a regional sports network to every subscriber, they’d struck a deal to provide me with programming from MSG.  [Had I lived 18 miles south, in Delaware, I’d be seeing Capitals games instead of the Rangers].

Wanting to keep up with my home town Flyers when they were on the road, I purchased DirecTV’s Center Ice package.  My understanding of ‘blackouts’ was applicable to ‘local’ [or ‘home’] games but while on the road, I could see them on Center Ice via the other teams’ ‘out-of-market’ RSN.   As it turns out, when the NHL references their ‘occasional blackout’, they actually mean “every Flyers game except when the Flyers visit the Islanders, Devils & Rangers’.  [Those games being provided by my ‘local’ RSN’ – MSG.  [While I don’t know if it is still the case, I’d heard that MSG did something similar with the MSG RSN & and the Cablevision Cable company they also own.  ]

I also tried a subscription to Game Center Live which yielded the same results.  I discovered when travelling to OTHER areas, outside of the Flyers’ market area, I was still unable to watch ANY non-MSG Flyers games AND in addition, I could no longer watch any games featuring the team whose local market area I had traveled into.  [Even if the local team’s RSN was not one of the stations available at my hotel].

If your not familiar with the Philadelphia area, you’re probably thinking, why would an RSN like CSN not want additional revenue from selling programming to DirecTV subscribers?  Or, why wouldn’t NHL teams want people IN THEIR OWN MARKET area to see games [promoting the sport to a wider audience & broadening the potential fanbase — possibly increasing hockey revenues].  According to a report provided by the FCC,  if CSN [Comcast Sports Network] programming were available to television providers competing with the Comcast Cable company, Comcast would no longer have  40% more subscribers in the Philadelphia market than any other area they operate in.  [Charging higher subscription rates than those offered in every other area in which they operate.]

Those of you not from Philadelphia wondering how the Philadelphia Flyers feel about their programming being limited to Comcast subscribers [along with lost revenue DirecTV would have paid to the team [aka HRR], guess who OWNS the Philadelphia Flyers.  Would it surprise you to learn the Philadelphia Flyers were owned by Comcast.

** Fun Fact…   Did you know Comcast recently purchased majority controlling share [51%]  in another company, NBC/Universal.  That would be the same ‘NBC’ as ‘The NHL on NBC’. The ‘NHL on NBC’ refers to the long-term multi-billion dollar television deal between the NHL and NBC [51% of which is owned by the same company that owns ONE of the NHL teams]

Already in the middle of a DirecTV contract and not happy with previous Comcast customer experiences I came to accept the reality that is never being able to see regular season Flyers games on TV.  As my Dad really enjoys going to the games and I liked spending time with my Dad [and watching the visiting goalies].  I intended to continue purchasing season tickets, but decided I wouldn’t provide additional support for a company that engaged in that type of business practices  [Which are in violation of several FCC regulations].  I stopped buying new Flyers T’s, clothes & merchandise at the arena-based store.  I ate dinner [or lunch] before games & brought fruit or snacks with me to the arena.  [Unless we aren’t allowed to bring food/snacks into the arena, in which case I DID NOT bring food/snacks into the arena].

I eventually went back to wearing my Flyers Tee’s and of course there was always a new Tee or Hoodie at the arena store that I was unable to live without.  As the hockey season moved on, I enjoyed my Center Ice & Game Center subscriptions watching all of my favorite goalies play all of their games that weren’t against my home team & my distaste for Comcast eventually faded.  [But Not so much that I was willing to subscribe to their Cable service].

As a season ticket holder, I also bought tickets to all of the playoff games and cheered for my hometown Flyers when I took my Dad to the home playoff home games. [Does Round 1 Flyers-Penguins playoff hockey sound familiar]  After going to 2 very exciting home games, I couldn’t wait to watch the drama unfold in Pittsburgh during Game 5.  The game was being broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Center, a channel which I did receive although NOT included in DirecTV’s base package, it required a higher priced package to be purchased].  I’m sure you can picture how I felt as I tuned to the nationally available NBCSC a few minutes before the game and saw a message across the blacked-out screen instructing me to view the game on my local RSN.  I wasn’t surprised MY local RSN [MSG, according to DirecTV]  was NOT broadcasting the Flyers Penguins game as per the message on the blacked out Nationally broadcast NBCSC station.  I argued with DirecTV for some time about their database stating I was in MSG’s market area and thus should not be blacked out of games in another team’s market area.  Reasearch revealed the NHL on NBC’s contract provisions entitled the local RSNs for round 1 games [aka it was being broadcast on CSN, the RSN which is unavailable to DirecTV subscribers, yet required DirecTV to BLACK-OUT the game on the national station NBCSC from all of DirecTV’s Philadelphia Market area subscribers.  [Someone at Comcast must have gotten the idea that BLACKING OUT nationally televised playoff games from one of the team’s market area would be a good way to win over those 15% of subscribers still receiving television service from DirecTV.  [If anything, this made for a convincing argument of exactly WHY I did not want Comcast Cable as my television service provider.   Who wants to buy products/services from a company that engages in this type of unfair business practice despite SPECIFIC DIRECTIVE from the FCC to discontinue such practices.

This wasn’t a local game, it was in Pittsburgh.  Despite marketing & advertising claiming that my Center Ice and GameCenter Live packages would include all of the playoff games.  It was not a situation where a few games were blacked out, the NHL completely discontinued these services in the US at the START of the playoffs.  It was deemed unneccessary because  “every game, every night” was being broadcast via the ‘NHL on NBC’.  Everyone in the country could watch all of the games on the NATIONALLY broadcast NBC Sports Center [and other nationally broadcast NBC stations] so the NHL felt there was no reason to continue these services into the playoffs, despite CONTINUING to market that playoff games were included with GameCenter Live Throughout the playoffs.  Those of us here in Philly took the new marketing campaign of “every game every night” to mean “every game, every night,  unless u live n Philadelphia and don’t subscribe to Comcast”.

For a moment despite the $400 DirecTV contract breaking fee, I considered purchasing Comcast service again.   [Several previous experiences with Comcast had me spending long hour on the phone having admittedly  erroneous charges removed from my bill, only to see them appear again the following month, along with several $35 charges for ‘free service’ visits to fix the continuous issues with their service, thus my hesitation to deal with them again].

Their website advertises a promotional rate of $29.95 for their lowest programming tier [which includes local RSN sports programming].  [I understand the offered promotional rate is for a limited amount of time]  I attempted to purchase their base service level for $29.95 service.  The very first piece of information required was my zip code.  Upon entering my [Philadelphia Market Area ] zip code, I was informed that the $29.95 package was ‘not available in my area’, but I could buy a ‘similar’ package for just $39.95.  I suddenly remembered why I had switched to DirecTV in the first place.

I can not understand for the amount of money I spent on season tickets, playoff tickets, parking, food, merchandise, [Cadillac Grille Membership] just at the Wells Fargo Center.  Combined with money spent on NHL stuff like Center Ice, Game Center Live, more merchandise from shop.nhl.com the Philadelphia Flyers & NHL thank me for my support my blacking out my home team’s away playoff games.  Really?  [I had cancelled my Center Ice & Game Center subscriptions LONG before the word lockout started to be tossed around.

With the lockout over I have to say, I’m MORE upset about the blackout of the playoff games the I was about the lockout.  The lockout is over yet DirecTV subscribers in Philadelphia still can’t see their home town team on TV.

Being unable to follow my actual local home team, I’ve been debating becoming a Rangers Fan.  I’m just not sure if I REALLY REALLY want to be a Rangers fan or if what I REALLY want is to buy Rangers girlie Tees & wear them to Flyers games with my dad.  [My initial thought was to wear Penguin’s Tees just because that would likely garner more attention, but since I don’t intend on paying for ‘out of market’ game packages [because of the blackout thing not the lockout] from the NHL I won’t get to see them on TV.  The Rangers do have a REALLY hot looking goalie.  And he’s really good, so it’d be cool to be a fan of a team with a decent goalie for a change right?

My other option is to move 18 miles South to Delaware.  Obviously Delaware is too far South to justify MSG as ‘local regional sports’ so non-Comcast subscribers in Delaware [within the Philadelphia Market Area]  are assigned the home team of the Capitals.  [Which oddly enough is broadcast over a Comcast-based regional network.  Comcast isn’t opposed to selling their other area CSN programming to alternate providers, only  the Philadelphia CSN RSN.  The Capitals DO have a hot goalie [Holtby] AND Ovi.

Decisions Decisions.

*** Update ***

Having analyzed my television viewing habits during the lockout, I determined that without NHL hockey, the majority of television I consumed was available on NetFlix, Amazon & other various sources on my Sony Smart TV.  [Before you can say Hulu, you should know Hulu is owned by NBC [51% of which is owned by Comcast], they weren’t going to get $7.95 /month from me.  So I cancelled DirecTV.  I discovered my ‘Smart TV’ wasn’t ‘Smart’ enough for all of the programming I wanted to watch [like the AHL games — where I was able to see ‘the Flyers’ on my TV for the first time, just being called ‘Phantoms’].  So I bought my TV a computer that just tunes in whatever I want to watch on the Internet and HDMI connects to my TV.

Following the lockout, as a season ticket holder, the NHL offered a free one-month subscription to their Game Center Live package.  I initially thought this to be a great concession to the fans [season ticket holder anyway.]  Despite the one-month subscription not costing anything, I found it quite annoying to discover not only could I still NOT watch Philadelphia Flyers games.  [Or any games being broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Center] but Game Center Live was also blacking out all of those teams provided by MSG.  A total of 4 teams [and their opponents] would be blacked out.  Without inter conference-play, this meant at any point in time, there were 8 different teams in the Eastern Conference whose games I was unable to see [Flyers, Devils, Rangers, Islanders and the 4 teams they were playing against].  Leaving me pretty much with a large assortment of Western Conference teams.

As it turns out, it doesn’t look like ‘Rangers Fan’ is an option for me anymore.  I’m left to select from mostly Western Conference teams [coincidentally enough I won’t get to see this season.].

One of the recurring themes during the lockout was a reference to the NHL’s lack of ‘the casual fan’.  From the articles I’ve read, the NHL hasn’t quite figured out why they don’t appeal to the casual fan.  I don’t work in the field of marketing, but it would seem to me that the casual fan might be more attainable if the NHL allowed EVERYONE living in an NHL market area to WATCH their local NHL team on TV regardless of their television provider. I would think the ‘casual fan’ would be someone wanting to support their local hometown team.  It seems counter-intuitive the sport will be able to broaden its audience & appeal to a wider fanbase when potential fans are unable to watch their local team on TV.   I can’t imagine  a ‘casual fan’ as the type of person to be interested only in games occurring on the other side of the country.


Evander Kane [Not a Goalie] Twitter Page Contest

Evander Kane [Winnipeg Jets – not a goalie] Twitter Page Contest

View My Design on the demo Twitter Account @DemoTheme

[Alternate Header /Avatar File Below]

I thought it’d be fun to design a theme for Mr. Kane, [even though he’s not a goalie] seeing as I’m sure you’re aware there isn’t going to be much to do in Philly this winter.

My second favorite [regular season] game from last season was when the Winnipeg Jets visited Philly last October.  It was a really weird game.  The Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec started the game, but let some goals in, so they let their other goalie Chris Mason play.  He let a few too many goals in as well.  Since both goalies weren’t doing too well, the Jets apparently determined that Ondrej was the lesser of 2 evils and put him BACK in the game.  Having 2 goalie swaps [not due to injuries] in the same game, wasn’t the strangest part of the night. [Technically there were 3 goalie swaps between the two teams].    It turns out our goalies combined were a goal worse than the Jet’s goalies combined because  we lost the game 9-8.  It was still pretty exciting game [Seeing 4 goalies play in one game]

I wasn’t sure where to start so I watched goal videos for his 30 NHL goals.  [Sidenote:  Apparently shootout goals don’t count toward skater’s ‘goals’ on their stats.  As I hadn’t realized this, I became quite confused for some time as there were 31 goal highlights [plus 2 pre-season goals] but his stats said ’30’.  At some point it dawned on me that since skaters scoring a SO goal doesn’t factor into the goalie’s GAA or Sv%, it probably doesn’t get to count for the skater’s regular stats either.  I’m not sure if this is really fair & I’m also now confused as to whether or not the shootout goal [along with the 2 other goals he scored that night] constitutes a hat trick or not.  I’m still not sure on this although it might possibly be related to whether or not any actual hats were thrown.]

I had trouble finding cool pics of Mr. Kane [not because he didn’t look cool in any pics, there just weren’t a lot of high res photos online that made cool graphics.  I liked his current background pic because he looked really good there so I tried a few things with it, but wanted to find some different pics.  I had a cool idea for the header & tried it out with his current pic until I could find something else.  [I didn’t realize how hot he was until I saw that background photo of him]

This is how the header would have looked with the originally using his current background photo:

This is the header I created using a different photo of Mr. Kane with his friends:

I like the first one but figured if he was having a contest for a new theme, maybe he’s tired of that pic & wanted something new

My first [few] ideas for the background were interesting but pretty complicated [as are most things I do].  I’d liked how the [first] header came out so I wanted to incorporate some of the same design elements.  Based on some of Mr. Kane’s Tweets about other designs, he appears to like things that are blue and or have flames.     That’s cool.  I like things that are purple and/or shiny so…  He also seems to like being depicted as a superhero.  I used a lot of blue because that’s the color of the team he’s supposed to be playing for.  I found a cool pic that would fit nicely on the sidebar & designed it so that he’d stand out.  [No fire, just a faint blue glow].

It’s large enough that it shouldn’t tile on wide browser windows but doesn’t have too may graphics that low res screens would be missing anything.

Using a demo Twitter account I uploaded the theme pieces: background, header, & Avatar/Profile so u can see how the theme will look.
@DemoTheme is the demo account.  My real Twitter account is iHeartHockey31

I really like the first header better.  He looks a lot better there.  I guess it depends on whether Mr. Kane wants to keep the background image from his old twitter for his new header or use all new photos.  Maybe I can tweet the other header file to him.

Here’s how the page looks with the original header [high res, max’d browser]:

This is with the alternate [different photo] header.

You can try the theme out my visiting the Twitter ID @DemoTheme

My Real Twitter Account is @iHeartHockey31 

Here are the pieces to download the theme:

BackGround Image
Current Header Image
Avatar/Profile Image [Needed With this Header]

Alternate Header Files

Alternate Header Image
Avatar/Profile Image [For the Alternate Header File]

—  @iHeartHockey31

__________________________________________

PS: It was nice to have something interesting to do for the past few days.  One of my doggies is really sick & I’ve been home taking care of her.  I’m kind of sad too because I don’t think she’s going 2 get better & needed something to take my mind off her being sick.


Martin Brodeur – North Jersey

Martin Brodeur – Central Park Restaurant in Roselle, NJ

People from other states don’t often consider NJ a state where the distinction ‘North Jersey’ or ‘South Jersey’ tends to make a difference.  Those same people have likely never driven on the NJ Turnpike.  To hockey fans, the North/South distinction can mean a world of difference when it comes to team loyalties, as the NJ Devils make their home in the Northern Part of the state while only the Delaware River stands between South Jersey & Flyers Territory.

Once again, I convinced my Dad to leave our friendly Philadelphia Flyers market area in South NJ & head up North into enemy territory to collect another goalie ‘graph.

The Martin Brodeur signing @ Central Park was listed on http://www.signingshotline.com.  I got a ticket as soon as my dad agreed to drive up there with me. [The Turnpike makes me sleepy, I can’t drive up & back the same day].  I was excited Ito add a ‘graph from a goaltending legend like Martin Brodeur.  The day of the event I made sure we left early to avoid traffic.  We got 2 Central Park in Roselle, NJ about an hour before the signing would begin.  There was event space at the restaurant where people already started waiting in line, but it was a large space so it didn’t feel over crowded & we could relax and talk to the other people there.  I showed my Dad cool hockey video clips on my Motorola Xoom while waiting for Mr Brodeur to arrive.  My Dad held our place in line while I wandered around to see what was going on.  A few of the other autograph-seekers began to notice the black & orange logo on my fave Flyer’s tee.  I happened to look up at my Dad & realized he’d conveniently decided 2 wear a RED polo shirt that day.  Somehow being female makes it OK to wear my teams’ colors into enemy territory.  I’m not sure if it’s an overall appreciation of having a female fans appreciate the sport in general or the distraction of my ‘lady lumps’ (as Fergie would call them) distorting the team logo on my tee shirt, but most men don’t seem to mind what teams’ tee shirt I wear regardless of where I am.

Other than starting up a few interesting conversations, I’ve never been seriously given a hard time anywhere in the United States for wearing Flyers T’s in other NHL cities.  Trying to pass through customs in Montreal wearing a Flyers Tee was a whole other story.  [I’ve not been back to Canada since].

Back to NJ….  As people began to notice the differing color scheme between my Tee & theirs, there was an increase in the stares & comments.  I explained I was a Flyers fan b/c they were my hometown team however I’d spent the day [and my dad’s day] driving up the turnpike and waiting here in line because [like them] I wanted an autograph from the all-time best goalie ever.  This explanation seemed to satisfy their curiosity and no issues ensued.  It’s well-known for years Philly that hasn’t seen any decent action between the pipes, so they were more than happy letting me visit their record-breaking netminder.  It could also have been the snug fit of my Tee-Shirt.  Either way, as usual, everyone was pretty friendly.

Note:  I try to wear a Flyers tee (when the dress code of the event permits) when collecting goalie ‘graphs because how cool is it to have pictures of other teams’ goalies standing next to someone wearing a Flyers Tee — usually smiling.  Aside from times when I had to dress nice for an event the only time I’ve cheated on the Flyers Tee so far was when getting Henrik Lundqvist’s goalie ‘graph.  I only cheated a little as it was right after the Winter Classic & I’d worn a Flyers vs Rangers Winter Classic Tee.  It was Grey with mostly blue writing but DID have a Flyer’s logo.  I’m not sure why but Rangers fans are slightly more intimidating than any of the other teams’ goalies’ whose ‘graphs I’ve collected so far.  [I’m not entirely sure I punctuated that last sentence correctly — my bad]

Back to NJ [again], once Mr. Brodeur arrived at the event, the line moved pretty quick.  This was the exact moment I realized I’d left my Canon Elph in the car [Elph not Elf  —  it’s a tiny pink camera that takes awesome pics when anyone other than my dad is using it.] There wasn’t enough time 2 run out to my car.  My dad had his iPhone.  When we got to the front of the line Mr Brodeur signed theGoalieStick for me.  My dad wanted a pic with Marty but there was a riser blocking wheelchair access so Mr Brodeur was really sweet & came over 2 pose for a pic with us.  Suffice to say I won’t be replacing my camera with an iPhone any time soon, but it’s still a sweet photo.  I thought it was very nice of Mr. Brodeur to come over so my Dad could be in the photo, especially when he had a long line of people to sign autographs for & given I was wearing his rival teams’ tee shirt.

Overall, the tickets for Marty’s goalie ‘graph weren’t too too expensive & the event was was well-organized.  We didn’t wait in line too long once Mr. Brodeur arrived (on time) so the event overall went very smoothly.

Martin Brodeur’s ‘graph was a really nice ‘graph so I wanted to make sure he could sign on a smooth (non-textured) part of the stick.  Since of the non-textured space on the front of the blade was filled, I had him start the other side of the blade with his ‘graph.  I handed him a red sharpie because that’s the color of the NJ Devils.  Marty also has a really pretty ‘graph like Henrik.  So far Marty and Henrik’s ‘graphs are my two favorites (maybe no one tell Nabby I said that).

I only need one more ‘graph and I’ll have all the starting goalies in the Atlantic Division.  I’m thinking the Pittsburgh Penguin’s goalie ‘graph is going to be somewhat challenging to obtain.  After the whole round 1 playoff thing, I may need 2 get a Penguin’s Tee 2 wear.  Not because I find Penguins fans intimidating but I’m slightly concerned their goalie might refuse 2 sign 4 me if he see’s I’m from Philly.

*** Update ***

The recent realignment of NHL divisions and recent changes in starting goaltenders has created a slight setback in my attempt to (at the very least) complete the starting goalies of my division, the now [awkwardly] named ‘Metropolitan Division‘  In addition to Marc-Andre Fluery [and / or Tomas Vokoun depending on whether he comes back or not] I also need to obtain Cam Ward and Braden Holtby’s ‘graphs.  Since having originally obtained New York Islanders goalie ‘graphs, I now also need to acquire Kevin Poulin and Anders Nillson’s ‘graphs.  This project continues to become more & more challenging.


Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky [Bob] – Meet the Team Event [Season Ticket Holders]

Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei [Bob] Bobrovsky

The easiest goalie ‘graphs to get were from Ilya and Bob since they’re here in Philly [Before Bob had to leave for Columbus].  The Flyers have a ‘Meet the Team’ Event for season ticket holders every year.  Bob and Ilya were in the same group so we were able to get both of their ‘graphs at the same time.  One of the staff members escorted us up to the club level so my dad could access the autograph with his wheelchair.  Wayne Simmonds [not a goalie] was in the same group — he signed pucks for me and my Dad].  I wanted to have Bob and Ilya sign in the pretty gold oil paint marker.  I thought since they’re my hometown goalies, they’re ‘graphs would look cool in gold.  I’d try to get the other ‘graphs in the goalies’ team color sharpie markers.  [Except teams with yellow colors since that won’t show up well.]

Ilya came over to where my dad and I were with a black sharpie all ready in his hand.  I tried to give him my gold paint pen and asked him to sign with that, but he said black would look better on the white stick, then signed with the sharpie he’d been holding.  Bob didn’t mind signing with the pretty gold paint pen.   Since players were only signing autographs at that time I couldn’t get a picture with them signing thegoaliestick but I did get photos with Bob and Ilya [and Kimmo, ‘Roo, Reader & Rinny] a few months later at the Flyers Carnival.]

Here’s pics with Bob & Ilya from the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Charity Carnival :

[BTW: I still think the gold color looks way cooler then the black sharpie but WHATever].