Thursday, February 28, 2008

So many Flyers, so little time!

"Oh no, she didn't!" says Lupul

Finally, here it is, a post about a happy occasion! Last Sunday, Soph and I spent the afternoon having a fabulous time at the Flyers Wives Carnival! It's a tradition for me to go to the Carnival with Pops, but when Soph wanted to go, he wasn't too heartbroken to let us girls go by ourselves. But he did send us on a mission: to get a jersey signed as a gift for my cousins. This task wouldn't seem so daunting, except that he was very specific about what he wanted: preferably Jason Smith's (!!) autograph by itself, but I could add someone like Sami Kapanen or Derian Hatcher if I wound up in their lines. I don't like having to complete someone else's vision... luckily, Soph was there to keep me sane!

So Soph and I got to the Carnival around noon because she wanted to get a picture with Marty Biron, and you could only pre-order those for the early session. For yyou fine readers who haven't been to the Carnival, you buy an admission ticket in advance, and you can also pre-order tickets for pictures or autographs with certain popular players (ie Mike Richards, Simon Gagne). If you want to meet other players, they're stationed at various booths around the Wachovia Center doing photo and autograph sessions. You get a schedule of appearances at the beginning of the day, and that helps you navigate things. I must say, I was very pleased that there were lots of photo booths with the "less popular" guys this year. Before, the "less popular" players only did autograph sessions, and most of the guys I liked fell into that category (ie Rusty Fedotenko, Kim Johnsson). The Phantoms are stationed around the concourse at game booths, and the Flyers'/Phantoms' wives either help out at their husband's booth or they sell "mystery bags" down on the floor. Anyway, I'm really awkward about meeting players, but Soph is fearless... she'll meet pretty much anyone and take pictures with them. So we ran around meeting some of the Phantoms while we killed time before Soph's 1:00 photo opt with Marty.

Marty Biron, Photo Booth

We didn't have to wait too long in line for Marty... At one point, we could actually look down as he took pictures with fans ahead of us, and, not surprisingly, he appeared to be talking non-stop! Once we got to the head of the line (and after some frantic "yes, no, maybe, well, no" consulting between Soph and me) she went to take her picture by herself. Even though I enjoy Marty, I declined the chance to join her because he's her Flyer husband, and I can't interfere with that. Plus, Soph's fluent in French, and Marty's fluent in French (well, duh), and I didn't want to sit there stupidly saying "oui" while they totally chatted. So I stayed on the other side of the curtain, and when it was done, we crossed the little platform to wait for Soph's picture to be printed.

Soph (whispering): "I think that's Marty's wife..."
Me (whispering): "Really? Her?" (The woman in question was wearing the black and white wives' jersey, but I hadn't pieced that all together yet. Plus, we had heard Marty's wife was pregnant, and we didn't notice the apparent baby bump at first.)
Mrs. Biron (very cheerfully): "Here you go!" (passes Soph her photo and I'm blinded by the gorgeous rock on her finger)
Soph and Me: "Thanks!" (We scurry off)

Verdict: I can't really weigh in on this one, but Soph says Marty was very nice. Not as chatty as she would have thought but still pretty talkative. Soph says that he was drinking water while she was talking to him, so that could have interfered, as even Marty can't drink and chat at the same time. In other news, I thought his wife seemed sweet...

Joffrey Lupul, Photo Booth

So while we're waiting in line for Marty, Soph decides that we're going to take a picture with Lupul. I immediately balked because I kind of like Lupul, and I'm even more of a spaz around players I like. And I hate taking pictures with players in general. But Soph was like, "Fine, I'll take one with him then!" so I jumped on board at the last second. There was only one person ahead of us in line, an older man (weird??), and I was surprised to see that Lupul was pretty chatty with him. Then it's our turn, and we make our way to the little platform that Lupul's sitting on. He seems nice enough. There's only one chair next to him, so I sit there and Soph stands behind. The photographer then asks Soph to fix her hair...

(sighing): "It's always my hair!"
Lupul: "Getting in your eyes, huh?"
Soph: "Yeah... that's the style, though!"
Me (thinking as I stare dreamily at him): "He speaks! And look at those eyes!" *swoon*

So they take the picture, and Lupul turns to us and smiles, saying, "Have a nice day, ladies." My brain was short-circuiting so I could only thank him, but Soph had the presence of mind to tell him to get better. (He's out with an ankle sprain and his splint/brace thing was sadly noticeable.) Like with Marty, we wait around and get the picture back... and in this picture, Lupul has like a total gangsta lean going on and a pimp-y smile... it's really funny! Normally, I'd want to smack someone like that, but for some reason, it was endearing. He's like the popular boy in school who's nice to you but you know you can never have.

Verdict: Well, I'm sunk. I had been able to resist the dreamy gaze of Lupul's vortex eyes for a few months, my luck was bound to run out sometime. I hadn't liked him at first, as I don't think his headshot is that attractive and he's pretty generic in interviews. (Not to mention that he apparently can't tune a guitar... lame!) But now that I've looked into those stunning eyes and seen that flawless smile up close, I'm a goner. What's wrong with me? I don't usually go for the P-I-M-Ps. I like dorks (ie Ruslan Fedotenko) and "old" men (ie Kyle McLaren)! And now I'm like a schoolgirl ready to write ol' Joff's name with hearts all over my notebooks! (Did you realize that "Lupul" is a palindrome? 'Cause I did yesterday...) Sigh... Well, obviously after this meeting, we had to go back and get autographs from Lupul later.

Randy Jones, Autograph Booth

Soph decided that she liked Randy Jones last summer when she discovered him on Extra, doing an interview as an eligible bachelor. In this interview, he confessed that he sometimes doesn't wear underwear (WHOA too much information!), but Soph found this hilarious and so she likes him a lot. Hence why we jumped in his line after Lupul. Luckily, Randy Jones was paired with Lasse Kukkonen, Pops' possible Flyers husband, so I got Kukkonen to sign something (NOTTHEJERSEY!) for Pops, and Soph got Randy Jones. (PS- We can't seem to refer to him by anything other than his full name.)

Soph: Hi! (She passes Randy Jones the Carnival program book, which has pictures of the players with their dogs or, if they don't have a dog, a rent-a-dog.)
Randy Jones: Hey! Cute dog, huh?
Soph: Uhhh... YEAH! (We exchange a panicked look that says, "Is that HIS dog???")

Verdict: Randy Jones was much chattier than I remember from last year. (It's probably just Soph's influence... *winknudge*) He seemed really nice and gave Soph an "All the Best!" when he signed for her. He may have horrible boy handwriting, but we won't count that against him. We still went and our got our picture taken with him later. Oh, and it was indeed his dog in the program, by the way.

Randy Jones brings a lot to the table, including his own dog

Jason Smith, Autograph Booth

After all this fun meeting Marty, Lupul, and Randy Jones, we decided to join the Jason Smith line and finally do something that Pops wanted! Unfortunately, Zebulon was paired with Steve Downie, who I don't like. It was the first and only bummer pairing of the day. Thankfully, we got the jump on their line, because it eventually wound all the way back through the concourse. So we waited our turn, watching Smith sign as his younger daughter adorably peered over his shoulder, and then we finally made it up to the man himself. I have Pops' jersey handy, but it's black, so I hope that Smith will just know to sign on the crest in silver without me having to tell him anything, as I am a nervous wreck. I pass him the jersey and am totally distracted by his FANTASTIC black eye. Holy crap, what a shiner! It was a rainbow of blues, yellows, purples, not to mention that he appeared to have blood in his eye. He's SO TOUGH! I wish I could have one ounce of his toughness! I'd be able to kill a man with a single glance... or make Butterscotch Krimpets magically appear, or something...
And this was his GOOD eye...

Anyway, so I give him the jersey and he immediately goes for the silver sharpie! Success! At least he'll write somewhere on the front, which is all I need. So I'm waiting to get the jersey back, and I'm wondering what's taking so long, when I realize that he's PASSED IT TO DOWNIE!!!OMG! Downie was NOT one of the guys on Pops' approved players list, not to mention that he irks me! So by the time Soph is done with Smith, I'm about to hyperventilate. We agree to go directly to Sami Kapanen (a Pops approved player) to fix this problem...

Verdict: Jersey-mishap aside, Soph and I both came out of this with odd fascinations/crushes with Jason Smith and decided afterward that we wanted to take a picture with him. (The picture came out totally awesome, by the way. It looks like it's a family portrait of us with our dad who got in a bar fight or something!) How can you not love him, the man is Captain Super Tough! As for Downie, Soph asked him to sign "To Sophie" and he totally blew her off! Ass! Like the awesome captain he is, though, Zebulon gave her a nice message.

Sami Kapanen, Autograph Booth

I love Sami Kapanen. He was my interim Flyers husband (and Pops deemed him "a good choice") until I was steamrolled by the S.S. Lupul. Sami just seems like a quality guy. I mean, geez, if the man could have a super power, he'd want to save children's lives! What's not to love? So if anyone was going to make me feel better about this jersey debacle, it would be him. Sami was by himself and had like no line when we found him. For some reason, this turned me back into my usual spazene self, as I kept refusing Soph while she repeatedly offered to take a picture of me with him.

Soph (passing Sami her program): "Hi! I love your dog, he's so cute!" (Soph loves dogs. The bigger, the better. Sami's dog is an Newfoundland... meaning he pretty much owns a small bear.)
Sami smiles and starts writing to her. He has adorable, school-teacher type printing. I compliment him on this, but he doesn't really respond.

Verdict: Sami wasn't very chatty, but as always, he seemed nice. He made me feel better about the jersey situation by adding his lovely signature to the others. And he has the neatest boy handwriting of the bunch, which deserves some props! The funny thing is that it looks almost like he added a question mark after Soph's message and then changed it into an exclamation point... "Best wishes?"maybe?

Autograph Booth, Joffrey Lupul and Denis Tolpeko

With a mustache, Tolpeko could totally save Princess Buttercup...

As we had decided earlier, Soph and I jumped in the Lupul autograph line, which surprisingly did not only consist of fifteen year old girls! While we waited in line, Soph got a look at Tolpeko and decided that she wanted a picture with him because "he reminds me of Westley from The Princess Bride!" And by that time, I guess full infatuation with Lupul had set in as I went into total "Who is THAT!?" mode when I saw a girl in a wife's jersey up there with them. (It was actually Tolpeko's girlfriend... I could only see the "5" of her "53".) Anyway, I recovered and took some creepy stalker shots of them in line before getting my one and only autograph of the day... But Tolpeko stole the show here! Tolpeko is Russian, so he repeated each letter of Soph's name as she spelled it for him. "S-O-P-H-I-E... SOPHIE!" Yes, he exclaimed her name at the end... it was really cute.

Verdict: Tolpeko was adorable. He isn't someone I would have sought out, but he was a fun one to meet. I'm glad his headshot doesn't do him justice... it only makes him look like a long-lost Sedin! Eeek! (Double eek, with my fear of red-haired boys!) As for Lupul, Soph and I both found him to be very smily and cute. He seemed to be living up to that line from "Joy to the World " that goes "You know I love the ladies..." But that's okay, he's allowed to be kind of pimp since he wasn't an ass to us.

Other exciting happenings from the Carnival:

-Soph and I both bought some mystery bags from Kimmo Timonen's wife. We each got an adult one, which was a small gray and black duffel with random stuff inside. (We both loved that aspect!) I got a puck shaped clock, an industrial-type flashlight that could easily double as a weapon (and came in handy later on when I was searching for a battery under a radiator), and an autographed picture of Mike Richards. Soph, though, got an umbrella, a beach mat (weird??), and, wait for it, and autographed picture of RANDY JONES (It kind of looks like he printed it out on his home computer)!!! It was the perfect bag for her! (Me: "Ah! Mrs. Timonen hooked you up!") Soph also bought a kids' bag, which is a mini backpack that had a rubik's cube and a FOUR-COLOR magna doodle in it.

-When we went to the Phantoms game a few weeks ago, Soph, Giggles, and I were disappointed to see that most of the current Phantoms take a hideous headshot... meaning we couldn't just pick Phantoms' husbands based on looks alone. At the game, we had to content ourselves with Kyle Greentree, since he scored and has an awesome name. But at the Carnival, we found ourselves quite a cutie on the Phantoms: Pete Zingoni! Here, take another look! Isn't he adorable? Soph actually stopped as we were walking past him and was like, "That guy's cute, let's meet him!"And he was paired with Kyle Greentree... could there be a better Phantoms duo?

That's Zingoni on the left and Greentree on the right

-There was a giant Peep walking around, and Soph got free Peeps for taking a picture with him. Woo!

So much cooler than the giant Peanut Chew!

- So this year, there was an area where you could play your favorite Flyer or Phantom in Guitar Hero! Kind of awesome except that I suck a Guitar Hero. (I get booed out of the high school gym.) We didn't actually stop there, because there was usually a big crowd in that section, but apparently Randy Jones was playing at the end of the day! We missed this, but once we got home, we saw him totally jammin' out on the telethon. Soph: "Ah! I want to play Randy Jones in Guitar Hero!"

So I think I may be able to embrace the Flyers more now. They traded Rusty and fell out of favor, but now they seem to have assembled a good bunch of guys that I can support again... though they won't usurp the Sharks, of course!

Edit: Click here for more pictures.

1 comment:

kristin said...

Phew! So much to read! Sorry I have waited so long to comment, I had to come back a few times!

It's nice to know that someone else is a spaz around players, especially players they like! I thought I was the only one!

And falling for Lupul! He's a *total* pimp! I'm sure the up close and personal with him made him hard to resist!

I'm glad you got to meet Tolpeko! He is so sweet and funny with that little accent of his!

But we need to see more pictures!!!!!