Thursday, December 18, 2003

Well, it's been an eventful week. Let's see if we can recap...

First of all, on Sunday afternoon we attended the Chalk Talk prior to the Phantoms game. This is an event for season ticket holders, where one of the coaches comes into Bullies, talks about the team, answers fans' questions and shows game video. Because the weather was bad (freezing rain), Mark and I left early to make sure we would have no trouble getting a parking place. We arrived at Bullies just as Karla and Al did, so the four of us went in together.

I was thoroughly rained on, as I hadn't used an umbrella to walk from the car to the building. I was also regretting that decision, because not only was I dripping wet, but my glasses were completely covered with rain droplets to the point where I could barely see. When I removed the glasses and fished in my pocket for a tissue to dry them, I *still* couldn't see all that well because my glasses were off. So when Karla exclaimed, "Donna!", at first I had no idea why.

Then I heard the voice I'd recognize anywhere ask, in his familiar French accent, "Do you know where the signing is?"

I thought, "OMG, that's Bernie Parent, isn't it?", and looked in the direction of the person who spoke. All I could see was a white-haired, white-bearded blur, so I hastily dried my glasses with the first thing that was available -- the hem of my hockey jersey -- and put them back on. Yep, it was Bernie (AKA the God of Goaltending), all right!

It seems that upstairs in the Spectrum itself, there was a charity hockey game going on between the Flyers Alumni team and a team for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Bernie and the person with him (who just barely registered on my radar because I was so transfixed by the fact that my childhood hero was standing in front of me) were supposed to be signing autographs at the game, but they didn't know where in the building they were supposed to report.

None of us fans knew where the signing was. I explained that we were in Bullies for a Phantoms season ticket holder event that was at the same time as the charity game. Then I added, "If you can't find the signing, you're welcome to come back down here and sit with us", to which other fans were quick to agree. :o) I guess they found the signing all right, though, because unfortunately they didn't return to Bullies once they went upstairs.

Hmm... this has been a good few weeks for goalie sightings! On November 23 I got to chat with Maxime Ouellet AND Neil Little, and last Sunday I talked to Bernie Parent. That would be my three favorite people in hockey, for those who are keeping track. I don't know what's up with my goalie karma these days, but it's welcome to stay this good for a long time. :o)

After the game, I got to chat with Melissa from the Phantoms front office. She reported that she had been able to deliver the little parcel I'd left for Neil earlier that night. His birthday is this week (today, actually), and Sunday was the final home game prior to his b-day. I wanted him to get the present, but didn't want to wait outside the Spectrum player's entrance in the rain after the game in order to get it to him. So I asked if Melissa could bring it downstairs, and she agreed to do it.

I also asked her if she'd received the pictures I'd e-mailed her of Ben Stafford's fight. She did, and not only did she really like them (especially this one, which is my favorite too), she wanted to give Ben a copy of them. She said that she'd told him she had fight pics for him, but hadn't gotten around to actually giving them to him yet. As it happened, I had a bunch of game pics with me, ones that I'd uploaded to my hockey site and had printed. Most of them were of my Secret Player, which I am going to give to the Scrapbook Committee for his scrapbook, but some of the other prints included the ones I had made of the Ben Stafford fight. I'd intended to give THOSE to the Scrapbook Committee, too, for Ben's book. Instead, I told Melissa, "Hang on a minute". Then I picked out the prints of Ben's fight, and gave them to her to give to Ben. HIS birthday is December 18, too, so I figured that'd be a nice little b-day present for him.

So, Sunday was a nice hockey day... I talked to Bernie Parent and not only did the Phantoms beat our arch-rivals the Hershey Bears, but I managed to get little gifts to a pair of our birthday boys on the Phantoms.

It got even NICER when I arrived home and discovered that Maxime Ouellet had been CALLED UP to the NHL! Happy freaking New Year, now that's what I called good news! According to the Capitals discussion board that I frequent, he even stood a good chance of getting a start in goal in the very near future, because the Capitals' regular starter Olaf Kolzig was in need of a rest.

OK, then... fast-forward to Tuesday night. I was definitely glad that I'd set the VCR to tape the Caps game just in case Max was in goal. Sure enough, we got home from the Phan Club meeting in time to catch the third period of the game, and what did I see? My favorite baby goalie making a save. "OHO!", I yelled. "MAX IS IN!!!" Oh, he was in, all right. He was in a zone... he not only earned his first NHL win, but he got a SHUTOUT into the bargain. Needless to say, I promptly proceeded to dance for joy on the forum on the official Max fan site. Oh, how proud I am of him! :o) I wish he was still in the Flyers organization, but I'll be happy for his successes no matter where he plays.

Speaking of playing -- it's not easy to divide my attention between typing this post and watching the Flyers/Tampa Bay game on TV, so I am going to post this and return to watching the game for a while. I've been very migraine-prone all week, especially last night when I was in really bad shape, and my eyes need a rest from looking at computer screens for a while.

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