Last night the Capitals held their annual event at Six Flags for Season Ticket Holders. This is the one event that I look forward to all year. I don't own season tickets myself but my work does so I have used their tickets the past three years. Its always awesome to see the players walking around the park and going on the rides and hanging with the fans though at the same time it can open a can of worms for some (more on that in a bit).
Two years ago when I went I had a blast. In the span of an hour or so I got autographs from about half the team and the coaches. That fed my passion for wanting to do this event every year as well as holding out hope that I could get there early enough to be one of the first 450 to get Ovechkin's autograph. In 2009, on the way back from having dinner at the park, we ran into a bunch of the players as the handlers were taking them to their spots for the autograph signings. There was Jose Theodore walking into the men's room in a fedora which lead to some laughs; Boudreau as he posed with my cousin that resembles him very much and is mistaken for Gabby quite often; Michael Nylander who was sporting the hat of a rival sports team and who I spent a good 5 minutes talking shit to because my favorite, Chris Bourque, was cut and claimed by Pittsburgh earlier in the day all because Nylander's contract couldn't be traded and he wouldn't accept a buyout; Fleischmann and Jurcina shooting baskets which I may not have turned around to see had my cousin not said to me "that guy's wearing a Jurcina jersey so I'm not the only guy who wants one" to which I had to tell him "hey stupid that is Jurcina." We headed off to get autographs and ended up with all the coaches, Sloan, Laing, Laich, Erskine (Lumberjack), Pothier, Steckel (man crush), Schultz (family whipping boy) and of all the stars we lucked into getting Alex Semin.
Last year was not nearly as pleasant. The initial night it rained so they rescheduled it for a later date. Well on that day Ovechkin and Varlamov couldn't participate because they were shooting a commercial at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT. This left more fans to go after the rest of the players and longer lines. It didn't help that the players got off some of the rides late which got them to their tables after the 7pm start time and they didn't want to keep the players past 8pm so they started cutting some lines off at 7:30pm. I went in with plans to get two autographs, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, as I had purchased 8x10 pictures of each of them just for this event. So after dinner we went and got into Nicklas Backstrom's line and after about 45 minutes we were able to get his autograph. Across from his set up was John Carlson, but they weren't allowing anyone in that line so we headed towards the lines for Mike Green and Mike Knuble. Knubes line was shorter so I got his and we were done. Disappointed that it was less of a haul than the previous year but still happy to have gotten Nick.
This year I planned ahead. I took off from work and hoped to get there early but when it was announced that Ovie's uncle had passed away and he'd be flying back to Russia getting there early was less of a necessity. As the day went on it seemed like the wheels were going to fall off as one family member dropped out and another wasn't sure they felt well enough to go. After a bit of convincing my mother (in her Ovie), my cousin Pam (in her Knuble) and I (in my Bourque) were on our way to Six Flags. We got there and had our plan. Pam wanted to get her Knuble jersey signed so we headed straight to his line, all the way on the other side of the park and waited about 45 minutes. On the way over we passed Neuvirth and as we stood in Knuble's line many of the players went walking by to get on the ride including Jason Chimera, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Schultz, Jeff Halpern, John Carlson, Matt Hendricks (who high 5's some fans) and Mike Green. We also pretty much stereotyped every black guy that went by as possibly being Joel Ward (or Joelle as my cousin Alex legitimately calls him...the boy ain't too bright). In fact I really thought one guy was until realized he was much too young and he looked more like Carlton Banks from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" which made me break out in the Carlton Dance and almost had to go ask him if he'd do it since I had the people in line cracking up.
Lucky for us we were probably around 10th in line for Knuble, who was about 5 minutes late, and after we got his autograph we were off to our next goal...John Carlson aka The All-American Hero. As we were headed there DJ King and his handler were walking to DJ's table, so I made some comments about how he sucks and I don't how he's on the roster when Bourque could be (and not be playing)...and of course I said it all loud enough so he could hopefully not hear me and I made sure to add "man you're a big dude please don't hit me." Anyways we get to Carlson's line since Alex wanted his jersey signed but couldn't make it so his sister, being the great person she is, got in line to get it signed for him. As it was he was one of 3 people I wanted to get autographs from as well. My mom on the other hand insisted on getting Jay Beagle because she's a huge fan of his...because we own a beagle...that's it, not other reason. So her and I hurry over to Beagle and Hamrlik who are the first table at the other end of where they're doing autographs...and of course my dumbass gets in the line for the coaches before quickly realizing my mistake and heading over to the Beagle line which had about 30 people in it...two years ago our shortest lines had about 10 (it was Schultz's line haha). After we got Beagle and the Hamerlik (sounds like a bad porn title/name) we ran back over to the Carlson line where we met up with Pam who had a handful of people ahead of her, got his and then had to decide if we wanted more or to call it a night even though there was about 15 mins left for autos. We headed towards King's line but opted not to get it, which I later regretted because I wanted Brouwer who was with him and decided to head into the arena to try for Mike Green. Lucky for me I had bought the picture last year I needed signed and have a Green jersey...unlucky for me both were at home so I had him sign on the poster the team was giving out that everyone else had signed for me. At that our night was done and it was a HUGE success and now I'm ready for next year's event.