How was your trip to Philly?
-Everyone I know
That is the question that people have been asking me since I returned from my trip to Philadelphia to cover the Winter Classic. I’m pretty sure Justin Bourne, Derek Snider (producer and chaperone), and Ryan Harris (camera man) have heard it too. In short , it was amazing. But the short answer is pretty boring, so I thought I would give you a point by account of the last 5 days (WARNING: this post is much longer than usual…deal with it)
* My alarm goes off at 3:30 am and I don’t hit the snooze button once. I was headed to the Winter Classic and I was pumped about it
* After checking our bags, Derek Snider and I board the plane (on time), and sit on the runway for a LONG time while they “De-Ice” the plane
* I look at my watch a lot becasue there was a media game at Citizens Bank Park at noon and I was NOT going to miss that (especially since I lugged all my gear to the airport!)
* We finally take off and get to Philly. Ryan Harris picks us up at the airport and after dropping our stuff off at he Hotel, we meet up with Justin and head to the rink
* After checking in to get our credentials we head to the media “dressing room”. That is in quotations becasue it was actually a large broom closet (I’m not kidding). You know what is NOT in a broom closet? Showers. More on that later. We get there at 11:55
* We dress in our gear quickly and just as we are about to head onto the ice, we are told there may be a “slight delay”. The sun was directly over the ice and was causing some problems. I begin to worry.
* I worry even more when I’m told the game has been pushed to 2:00pm, then 2:30
* Justin and I decide we could kill some time by doing a quick vodcast in which we mock some of the media members accent equipment
* There was some media availabilities upstairs so we had to put our regular clothes back on (yup, after having bad smelling gear on seconds later) and head upstairs
* After a few scrums we head to the media lunch. As I’m putting food on my plate I wait for the gentleman in front of me to finish getting lasagna….wait a minute, that gentleman is Vito Spatafore! I HAVE to interview him.
*At 2:30 the game begins and most of us are in complete awe. The rink actually looks small because the venue is so huge
* I get a breakaway and miss (I curse)
* I get another breakaway and score (thank God)
* Justin Scores too…Team Score is off and running
*Me and Justin finally get on the ice together and hook up for a goal. (which was later called back to goalie interference but I fail to recognize the call)
*Great game and we were mic’ed up and it was taped, can’t wait to see the edited footage
* After some more interviews we headed back to the hotel to take a much needed shower because to be quite honest…we smelled ….well….TERRIBLE.
*Dinner and Drinks to celebrate a good day
* This day was all about the Alumni Game. The faceoff had originally been scheduled for 1pm, then changed to 3pm because of weather and ice issues
* As the game time closer, we start saying to each other “there are A LOT of people here”
* attendance: 45,808…WHAT???
* Loudest ovation: Bernie Parent (seriously it was FRIGGEN LOUD) . He stops Ron Duguay on a breakaway and the place explodes. He plays just over 5 minutes of shutout hockey and wins player of the game
*Talked to some CRAZY Philly fans
* Easiest post game work I have ever done. Players were not in a rush to get out of the dressing room and I got to chat with numerous HOF’ers that added up to about a million rings
*Then we get some interesting news. The Flyers practice for tomorrow has been changed from 11am to 9pm. There is a collective groan from the media becasue that was New Years Day
*Dinner and Drinks to celebrate a good day/New Years
* I start out by cursing the my alarm clock that was going off ay 7am. First time in my life I have been up that early on New Years Day
* Big news of the day: Who would be the starter for the Flyers. Bobrovski said (through his interpreter) that is was “confidential”. Then Ilya Brygalov (in a way only he can) says that he has been told he is NOT starting. Head Coach Peter Laviollete says he has not spoke to the goaltenders yet (and seems very agitated) . All the media has their story for the day.
* After Rangers practice we head back to the hotel for…
*Dinner and Drinks to celebrate a good day
* GAME DAY. Once again we had a time change. Faceoff was not set for 3pm instead of 1pm. Which gave me time for one of the best days of my life:
* The rest of the crew mocked me for running the stairs, but ended up doing it themselves. I guess their Hearts were on Fire
* Upon getting to the rink we saw that we had one seat in the actual press box and Justin let me have it.
*The windows in the Press box were closed, but many members of the media wanted to feel and hear the crowd and cold weather. So with enough complaints, they were opened.
*Not going to give you a game recap here, but AWESOME finish as you probably already know.
* Post game interviews followed by….
*Dinner and Drinks to celebrate a good day. One quick note about that night. We were in the hotel bar when Ryan Harris suddenly had a shocked look on his face. I asked him what was up and he says “The Roots just walked in”. He (and Justin) are HUGE Roots fans. We ended up having drinks with them for a while and I did a little camera work for the two guys that couldn’t stop giggling all night.
All in all it was a great trip. Good times, good game and great company. Big thanks to Derek for all his help and Ryan for his great work. Be sure to listen to the podcast today, there is only so much I could fit in this very long post!