Well, I know my marching orders were technically to post these stories in the comments of Cat’s original post, but there’s so many of them that I’d like to share in a post. Part of what made Cat’s Christmas present so great was the fact that we had so many lovely stories about every single player we met and if there’s one thing we do here, it’s sharing the love!
Jenlo (and Tara) and I have to give a big thanks to the people around us in line. Stars fans are bar none the classiest sports fans I’ve met. Once we whipped out Jenlo’s awesome Photoshop picture, people began asking us how we got one and where THEY could get one. When we promptly explained, everyone was totally on board and asked us for updates. “How many do you have left? Who are you missing?” was asked often of us. Many people let us stick our little picture out to get it signed before them to make sure we got EVERYONE. Well played, Stars fans!
Mike Modano was extremely gracious and kind.
Brenden Morrow came to us first to sign. He was so sweet and Jen was so awestruck. Of course, Sergei Zubov followed directly after. I could hear Jenlo going, “Caitlin, don’t look. CAITLIN, DON’T LOOK.” Jenlo and Tara were trying not to laugh at the abject look of terror that was written very plainly across my face. (I have every reason to be afraid of Soviet Soldier Zubov, okay? He knows martial arts, according to Ralph & Razor.) Anyways, Zubov was very nice to us; he is very thorough about his signature as well. Jenlo told him thank you and he said, “No problem.” The only reason I’m telling you this is because I was four inches from the man and just about fell over. It was a very stressful day for me, okay? Also, Tara noticed that Russian has, well, a very large caboose, to jack a term from IPB. If we’re also going to jack things from IPB, Russian is probably in need of some Giovanni caboose-draping.
Thanks, Russian. We really appreciate it. I am sure I looked like a complete freakshow, since I was looking AWAY from you; I looked at your face and decided that was too much hardcore action going on and then I got that mental image in my head of you dropping your shoulder and totally Russianating a guy in your highlights and I had to look away. It was too much! Too much!
Mike “Ribbons” Ribeiro was next – how awesome is Ribs? We didn’t really say anything much to Ribs, and he was pretty quiet. Mattias Norstrom is just about the nicest man ever. When I said, “Thank you very much!”, Norstrom looked up at me, grinned and said, “You’re welcome very much!” Awww, Matty.
Stu Barnes, Trevor Daley, and Jeff Halpern were next. When Stu came out, some mom was pressuring her kid to yell “Hi!” at Stu. Reluctantly the kid did, only to get a “Hey!” back from Stu. Awww. Stu complimented us on the picture and I overexuberantly pointed to Jen and said, “She made it!!!” Daley and Halpie were nice and Halpie let Jenlo have a picture. (You won’t see any of these, as we’re secret agents that refuse to let you see our faces.)
Dave Tippett came out next and was pretty chatty. A security guard came over and offered to grab Tipp’s bag, only to have Tipp say, “No thanks, man! I got it!” (Awww, Tipp!) Tipp signed our poster and was generally really sweet. I do have to say that I felt enormous as a human being after I left – mainly because I looked over and realized that I AM TALLER THAN DAVE TIPPETT. (Sorry, Tipp.)
Niklas Hagman came out after that. Hags looked kinda sad and was really quiet. From everything I’ve heard about Hags, he’s generally pretty smiley and upbeat. Jenlo and I kinda wanted to give him a hug ’cause he looked a little beat down; I don’t know Hags but I’m guessing a game misconduct would make me pretty upset too. Following what I already suspected, it was a long line of Finnjas after that. Jussi Jokinen was the next out the door. Can I just say that Jussi is absolutely the most adorable human being? Jenlo and I were having to point out the players to sign by their places, and when we asked Jussi if we could have him sign, his response?
Then Jen piped up (because I was a little too freaked out), “Can we have a picture?”
Jussi just looks so sweet in our picture. Luckily, his pants were normal-sized. Apparently he only favors oversized pants for hockey.
Funniest story of the day: Brad Winchester came out and promptly skipped WAY past us in line and we were trying to quietly and politely get our attention. The lady next to me told me, “Oh, honey, you can’t be nice! Brad, WINCHESTER! THEY NEED YOU REALLY BAD DOWN HERE!” Everyone turned around and looked at us and almost everyone cracked up laughing. Jenlo and I were so embarrassed, but many thanks to Brad Winchester for coming back down and signing our picture for us.
Antti Miettinen came out next. He’s too adorkable to play hockey. He tried to walk off to his car, but some guy yelled, “MIEEEETTTIINENNNNNN” really loudly, and Mittens made this “aw, darn!” gesture with his arm, grinned and walked over. You know, if people called me “Metal-Hands” and “Mittens” (Mittens in a bad way, not in the way we use it) I’d be hesitant to go over and sign things for people too. We had to lean crossways over a barricade to get Mittens to sign, but sign he did! Thanks, Mittens! (Also, P.S.: Mittens, I’m very sorry if you heard me say a little loudly to Jenlo, “Vaara, Mittens, vaara!” in line, because I think you might have. It’s a joke and I’m sorry. Hopefully you’ll realize we say “danger, Mittens, danger!” because we are concerned for people touching you.)
Nicklas Grossman is really tall, and very nice. Quiet guy. (His phone kept going off and his ringtone amuses me and Jenlo to no end.) Krys Barch was, as always, incredibly nice. No stories about his kid this time, but he did lean down and ask the three kids next to us how they were doing and how they liked hockey and everything. Joel Lundqvist and Loui Eriksson came out with them, so it was like five Stars players all in a row, so I didn’t get a chance to stop and get lots of pictures or anything.
Also, Swedish Fish Original Flavor, aka Loui Eriksson: Please eat a cookie. You look so frail. I’m concerned for you now. Your cheekbones are razor-sharp and you looked so skinny. Stop letting Brett Hull steal all your food. Eriksson did like a triple-take when he signed our thing. I don’t know why; I’ve only ever met Eriksson once previously (although it is possible he remembered me as the semi-retarded girl from the Ice Breaker who just would not take her freaking signed card).
Chris Conner was the next one to stop by us in line and we TOTALLY got a picture for Jenlo. I asked Chris to sign our picture and asked him if he would take a picture and then stepped back and told Jenlo to GO FOR IT! So she did. I figured she wanted a picture with the glorious Midget all by her lonesome.
Steve Ott was out after that, and Otter is my new hero. Not only was he chatting up everyone in line, but he signed extra stuff for me and then everyone saw Marty & Smitty come out and load up into a truck. It looked like they were going to leave, so Otter yells really loudly, “Marty! That is BRUTAL! BOOOOOOOOO!!” The entire crowd started booing and Otter just sat there and laughed his ass off. Then the entire crowd started chanting, “Marty, Marty! Smitty, Smitty!” Off in the corner, I see poor little Stephane Robidas standing there, just kind of looking around, so in a moment that I will never in a million years live down, I yelled “Robi!!!!!”
Poor Robi. He gets no love, man!
Well, Stephane Robidas did come over to sign stuff and was absolutely awesome. Robi broke my heart though! He did, he broke it right into a thousand little pieces. When Jen and I asked him for a photo, he looked at us and went, “Really? Sure!”
ROBI. You should NEVER have to be shocked that people want your picture. Robi, you’re gonna get sick of me. At every promotional event I come to where you’re signing autographs, I will be in your line first every time. I freakin’ want to get a Robi jersey now, because I’ve only ever seen one person with one! He is so nice and took such a great picture with us.
Marty Turco and Mike Smith then came over to sign, and Marty was so sweet. Smitty was hilarious. He kind of did a double take at his photo and then when we asked him to sign “To Cat”, Jen said, “It’s C-A-T, like ‘meow’ “, which then prompted Smitty to write “To Cat, “meow” ” on Cat’s present. My cry of “Awww, Smitty, THANKS!” was probably way too loud, but thanks Mike.
Every single player was SO AWESOME. Niskanen drove off before we could meet him, because they were filming video for the Stars website of the infamous car leaving, so there you go.
In other news, briefly: MITTENS RETURNS TOMORROW! MITTENS IS PLAYING AGAIN! Oilers, consider yourself on watch: I’m informing you now that touching Mittens = not cool, in case you haven’t gotten the memo yet. Sadly, we will not be at the game (we’ll be attending the Habs game on the 23rd and the Red Wings game on the 5th of January) but not this one.
My big hope for this game is that Mittens’ groin doesn’t go wonky again. He did so well on the Morrow-Ribeiro line that I’m psyched to see what he’s going to do in this game.
I am so ready for all of the Finns to be back in the lineup that it’s not even funny. We’ll have Jokinen and Mittens on Monday; Lehtinen’s out for another month and a half at least and there’s no word on Hagman, as a game misconduct is an automatic indefinite suspension until the league reviews the hit and declares their findings.
Jen & I might start doing a Finnja* of the Month thing up here, or something. We already vote of Finnja of the Game (which Finn played best?) but we’ll see.
*Finnja: the word ninja + Finn; coined by Untypical Girl Caitlin after seeing a picture of Antti Miettinen holding his stick in a very ninja-like fashion in a photo of the Halloween Stars/Blackhawks game. Used to describe crafty Finnish hockey players who are awesome. Hence, Lehtinen, Hagman, Miettinen and Jokinen are all Finnjas.