Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Iowa Wild @ Adirondack Flames 2/4/15

A couple weeks ago, I got to go back to Glens Falls again. This time, the Iowa Wild were in town to play the soon to be moving to California Adirondack Flames. I'll just jump right into all the fun.

While walking down the stairs while the Flames were skating, I noticed a puck in the stands. After picking it up, I noticed it was an Adirondack Flames official game puck. Once I looked at the ice, I saw that most of the pucks used in the skate were official game pucks. Maybe they figured that since they are leaving, they might as well use all the pucks while they can. Here's the puck near where I found it, it's a beauty. I don't know about everyone, but I'm a big fan of the classic Atlanta Flames 'A' logo that Adirondack adopted for this season

When I got over to the Flames side, I was able to get a few autographs from players as they were heading off the ice near the locker room. I got five players (Drew Shore, Max Reinhart, Mark Cundari, Mathiu Tousignant and Garnet Hathaway) to sign a basic Flames 4x6 logo sheet I had printed out. Here it is with the people that signed it.

I also got Shore to sign a 4x6 photo that I pritend out. Shore was recently traded to the Flames from the Panthers and promptly got sent down to Adriondack. I wouldn't be surprised if he's back up with Calgary real soon.

Later, assistant coach Todd Gill walked off the ice and came over to me, and I asked, "Mr. Gill, can you please sign?"
He joked, "No because you called me mister."
Then, he signed for a couple other people before coming over to me again. This time I called him Todd and asked him to sign.
He said, "No because you called me Todd."
Then he took my sharpie, signed the photo and said, "Call me mister because I'm older than you"
That was an interesting moment to say the least, but I'm happy to say Gill was just busting my chops.

The last Flames person who I got an autograph from was Trevor Gillies. I met Gillies earlier this season, but a friend gave me a couple cards of Gillies, so I tried to get them signed. Eventually, Gillies walked right over to me and signed all the cards. He's a nice guy.

That was all I got for the Flames. I missed a couple guys that I was hoping to get, but I'll give it another try later in the season. Eventually, the Iowa Wild came out for the morning skate, but they were missing a couple players I was hoping to meet. Former Islanders Ruslan Fedotenko and Joel Rechlicz both didn't make the trip to Glens Falls, and no reason was specifically given for why. That was disappointing, but there was nothing anybody could do about it. I took this picture during the Iowa skate.

The Wild had a rough morning skate, as a scuffle broke out in the middle of it. A couple players dropped their gloves, curse words were yelled, and a couple players had to be restrained. Ultimately, nothing too serious happened and the skate continued without incident.

The first one off the ice was starting goalie Darcy Kuemper. He was sent down because Devan Dubnyk has had a strong season for the Minnesota Wild. Kuemper walked off the ice, handed his blocker, glove, and stick to an equipment manager and started signing. I got him to sign a 4x6 photo and an Iowa Wild team sheet. He signed for everyone then went on to get a shutout in the game that night.

Later on, fellow goalie John Curry came off and also signed a 4x6 and my team sheet. He was a nice guy. I don't usually get AHL photos signed too much, but I didn't have much else for him so I figured I'd print out something cool. Curry was with the Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup a few years ago in 2009 even though he didn't play in a playoff game.

While the former Islanders weren't present for the Wild, the former Rangers were there. I had printed photos of Stu Bickel and Justin Falk to get signed, and as I was reorganizing my stuff, Bickel walked off the ice. I barely had enough time to fumble the picture of Bickel so he could sign it, but it his signature smudged onto Falk's photo as well. Falk later signed the photo as well as the team sheet. Here are both signed photos. You can see where Bickel's signature went onto Falk's photo. Falk's photo is on the right, Bickel's is on the left.

Those were all the photos I got signed. To the right is a photo of a player that I just can't remember signing for everyone. I'm a fan of the Iowa Wild practice jerseys. They have a good color scheme. If anyone knows who this player is, let me know.

Below is my signed team sheet along with a list of everyone that signed it and the number (if any) that they signed with in no particular order. I'm pretty sure I got every player that was on the ice except Bickel to sign the team sheet.
21-Brady Brassart 3-Jason Gregoire 29-Marc Hagel 27-Brett Sutter 
4-Tyler Graovac 25-Danny Syvret 2-Guillaume Gelinas 25-Darcy Kuemper 
19-Stephane Veilleux 17-Brett Bulmer 36-Michael Keranen 24-Alex Gudbranson 
44-Justin Falk 33-John Curry 39-Kurtis Gabriel 7-Jonathon Blum 
28-Raphael Bussieres 51-Zack Phillips 18-Zack Mitchell

That does it for this entry. Thanks for reading and good luck graphing! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jack McKeon and Multiple Jets: What a Weekend

Some weekends are more fun than others, and this weekend was one of them. Three straight days of graphing opportunities arose, and I took full advantage of all of them, and covered a wide variety of different sports while doing so.

Friday 1/30
Last season, the St. John's IceCaps knocked out the Albany Devils in the first round of the AHL playoffs. I met some of the IceCaps, the Winnipeg Jets AHL Affiliate, after game one last season. They were nice. This year, they were coming back to Albany, and I figured I'd try and get some more autographs.

Since I had some extra time on Friday, I went down towards the Times Union Center before the game, something I rarely do. I didn't have too much stuff, so I printed out a couple 4x6 photos to get a bunch of people on.

I didn't have much individual stuff, but one person I did have stuff for was Carl Klingberg. He came walking out and signed a 4x6 photo I had printed out of him. He is one of the Jets top prospects and he should be in the NHL again real soon. He also said that his hometown is Sweden is closer to St. Johns than we thought it was.

Many other players were walking toward me, and I got most of them to sign one of two other photos I had printed. One was a basic Winnipeg Jets 4x6 logo paper, and the other was a photo I took before game one of last year's playoffs. Here are both photos and everyone that signed them.
34-JC Lipon 16-John Albert 25-Blair Riley
8-Brenden Kichton 48-Carl Klingberg 7-Kris Fredheim

19-Kyle MacKinnon 26-Nicolas Blanchard 50-Austen Brassard
7-Keaton Ellerby 49-Julien Brouillette 9-Ryan Olsen 

That was all I got from the IceCaps on Saturday. The IceCaps then beat the Devils on Friday, and lost to them on Saturday. 

Saturday 1/31
A friend of mine works for the Amsterdam Mohawks, a collegiate summer-league team. Every year, the Mohawks have a winter hot-stove dinner with a guest speaker. Doc Gooden was one of the speakers a few years ago. My friend invited me to join him for the dinner, and I was happy to accept the invitation. This year, former Marlins manger and World Series Champion manager Jack McKeon was scheduled to be the guest speaker, as he played in the Amsterdam area in the 1950s. 

After getting a little lost on the way there, my friend and I made it to the event during the cocktail hour. An autograph signing with McKeon was scheduled for the cocktail hour, but my friend and I missed that portion of it. Eventually, we sat down for the dinner. A few people gave speeches, and food was served. I was able to grab photo that he already signed at the signing during the dinner. So, at least I wouldn't go home empty handed. 

Eventually, I noticed McKeon go into a room where a silent auction was being held. He was taking pictures with a couple people who were honored at the event. After the photos were over, I walked up to McKeon while he was standing by himself and asked him if he could sign a couple cards for me. He said he would and I handed him a sharpie. I put the cards on a nearby table and McKeon leaned over and signed them all beautifully. I then thanked him, shook his hand, and told him I was looking forward to his speech. Here are the cards he signed for me.

His speech was pretty funny. My favorite moment is when he recalled his playing days and said, "I hit three ways, right, left, and seldom." That drew a large applause from the crowd. He talked about his managerial days, his time in the Amsterdam area, and many other topics. He was pretty funny and one of his main messages was to follow your dream. He said his dream wasn't accomplished until he was 72 and managed the Marlins to a World Series title. He is the oldest manager in MLB history to win the World Series. On our way out of the dinner, my friend and I stopped McKeon and asked if we could get pictures. He happily obliged, and we left the dinner in a good mood. 

Sunday 2/1 
Super Bowl Sunday, always a fun day. Long story short, a few of the football coaches at my college played in the NFL, and I heard they were doing an autograph signing during a basketball game. I had found a card of longtime New York Jets center Jim Sweeney at home a few weeks ago. I was happy to get that card signed and a friend gave me a card of Nate Byham, a new assistant coach, which he signed. 

That is it for this entry. It was a fun weekend and I should have some more stories up soon. Good luck graphing and thanks for reading!