I'm pretty sure he would have signed my 3 cards, but from what I can see, the envelope made it to him in pretty bad shape and the cards must have been soaked in water. He returned 2 cards, but one (his 1990-91 Upper Deck card) is too damaged to keep (and has remains of my 2005-06 Parkhurst card stuck on its back). The only one that's salvageable is his 2006-07 Upper Deck card, which is warped, but doesn't have any creases (just water damage not visible on the scan)...
Today's game was the big final between Russia and Canada that would determine who would win the gold medal and who would have to leave with the silver medal! I got to the Colisée early because I wanted to catch some VIP guests as they arrived. There were about 5 or 6 of us waiting outside for autographs... One of the others told me he had heard on the radio that Ken Dryden would be coming to the game with other politicians. Unfortunately, I hadn't brought anything of him. :o(
Unlike the other games, many players from Team Canada got to the arena in tournament shuttles by groups of 2 or 3. I got Martin St. Louis to sign my Tampa Bay Lightning puck when he showed up with Jason Spezza:
When Team Canada's bus arrived, none of the players signed. I guess they wanted to keep their focus on the game...
A bit later, Glenn Anderson and Kevin Lowe arrived together. I was happy to get an autograph from each of them, since I had missed them after the Legends game last Thursday!
Many politicians arrived afterwards, including the Prime Minister of Canada. Ken Dryden also showed up. He signed everything that was handed to him, but he would personalize everything. He signed for about a minute or two before heading inside. I had a blank index card I wanted to get signed, but I left the chance to the others who had photos and cards...
A few minutes later I was a bit surprised to see Viacheslav Fetisov arrive, since he was supposed to play last Thursday at the Legends game, but hadn't! It's a good thing that I had left my 2 cards of him in my small box of cards! He signed them for me:
Another one that was even less expected was Borje Salming, who arrived soon after Mr. Fetisov. I didn't have any cards of Mr. Salming with me, but I still got his autograph on a blank index card:
About 5 minutes after the game had begun, I was about to leave since it appeared unlikely that anyone else would be showing up. My plan was to go home, watch the game on TV, find my cards of Borje Salming and Ken Dryden, get back to the Colisée near the end of the game and try to get my cards signed. That's when I noticed a guy from the tournament talking to a family of four that was hanging out at the back of the Colisée (presumably so that their kids could see the players come in - they were a bit late I guess!). Anyhow, the guy asked them if they had tickets for the game and they told him they didn't. The guy took out a pile of tickets from his pocket and handed them a ticket each! As the guy from the tournament was about to get inside the Colisée, I ran up to him and asked him if he wouldn't have an extra ticket available for one person (by that time, I was the only one left at that entrance). He said he didn't mind giving me one, since the game had already begun!!! Here's a scan:
So I ended up going to the gold medal game! I was ecstatic! It was such a surprise, so unexpected! When I got to my seat, the score was 1-1 and only 6 minutes had been played in the 1st period. From what I could gather, the ticket I was given came from a batch that the tournament was keeping for VIP guests. For instance, if Wayne Gretzky had decided to come to the game without a ticket, he could very well have been sitting next to me! Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson and Jyrki Lumme were all in my section...
Autograph-wise, my day was not over! During the first intermission, I was walking in the corridor when I stumbled upon someone who I had been looking for the whole week: Alexander Yakushev! I asked him if he would autograph my card and he did!
I'm not sure if he spoke or understood English though. Furthermore, he looked as though he had never seen the card I asked him to sign! :o) I can't blame him, since it's only limited to 240 copies...
Before getting back to my seat for the 2nd period, I also saw Valeri Kamensky in the corridor, so I had him sign this card:
After the game, I went to the back of the Colisée to get autographs from the players, but there were MANY Russians there to greet their team. Many were pushing, so I felt it wouldn't be any good for autographs, seeing how I didn't even have much space to move and I didn't want to damage the cards I was holding! I then moved to the North-West entrance and waited there.
Rick Nash came out from that entrance way before any of the other players came out from the garage door behind the Colisée. I guess he felt bad for causing the power play during which the Russians scored in overtime and he wanted to avoid the media, or something like that. I could have asked for an autograph, but decided this would probably be a bad time...
A bit later, Craig MacTavish came out. I got his autograph on this card:
Once Team Russia had come out and their bus left, the Russians that had been waiting behind the Colisée also left. Team Canada had yet to come out, but their bus was parked in the garage for the first time of the tournament, which wasn't a good sign! Even though the remaining fans kept shouting "CANADA" and wanted them to come out, the players were already in the bus when it rolled out of the garage and left.
Today Finland was playing against Sweden for the bronze medal. After the game, Team Finland was the first to come out and I got autographs from Mikko Koivu, Saku Koivu and Niko Kapanen.
There were many Finnish fans waiting outside for Team Finland to come out and Olli Jokinen was really great with them! He lent them his bronze medal and took pictures of them with the medal around their necks! The fans were all really excited!
When Team Sweden came out, I finally decided to get my Washington Capitals puck signed by Nicklas Backstrom, since Alexander Ovechkin wouldn't sign it.
Anyways, from what I've seen on the autographs he has signed for other people, I wouldn't have cared much for Mr. Ovechkin's scribble, which is nowhere near as nice as his usual autograph (which I guess he reserves for paid signings or events like that). Not that Mr. Backstrom's autograph looks much better though! hahaha ;o) But at least his is consistent.
Every time I went for autographs after Finland's games, I was hoping to get Niklas Backstrom's and Tuomo Ruutu's autographs, but I haven't been able to recognize them at all! I almost got Tuomo Ruutu's autograph though. A Finnish player signed a t-shirt for the girl beside me and when I looked at the signature, I realized it was Tuomo Ruutu! Unfortunately, when I called him over it was already too late, as he was headed for the bus... :o(
The semifinals were played today, so I took the afternoon off, not knowing how the weather would be like this weekend... The afternoon's game was between Russia and Finland. Here's what I got after the game:
As you can see, very few Russian players stopped to sign...
After going home for dinner, I got back to the Colisée at the end of the game between Canada and Sweden. When Team Canada came out, I had Jonathan Toews sign my Chicago Blackhawks puck once again, but this time with my new silver marker (I had removed the ink from his previous signature with lighter fluid). It worked great!
Here's what else I got signed by the Canadians:
Team Sweden came out soon afterwards and all I got signed is this card of Henrik Lundqvist:
I was wondering why he signed it with #35, but after doing a bit of research on the Internet, I found out that he had used that number for Sweden in 2005.
There were no games scheduled today as part of the tournament, since they had planned some time for the two semifinalists from Halifax (Canada and Finland) to get back to Quebec City. On the other hand, a Legends game had been announced earlier this week for tonight. The game featured a team of IIHF legends (the World Stars) playing against Gazprom, the biggest corporation of Russia. The referees were René Fasel (IIHF president) and Paul Stewart.
Team Gazprom's best known players: Alexander Medvedev (Gazprom vice-president and president of the Russian club SKA St. Petersburg), Valeri Kamensky, Darius Kasparaitis, Vladimir Lutchenko and Sergei Makarov.
World Stars' best known players: Jim Balsillie (CEO of Research in Motion - currently looking to buy an NHL franchise), Ray Ferraro, Patrick Roy (playing as a forward), Esa Tikkanen, Glenn Anderson, Michel Goulet, Igor Larionov, Mats Naslund, Tony Granato, Vladimir Malakhov, Scott Young, Philippe Bozon, Doug Brown, Jyrki Lumme, Bob Sweeney, Mark Fusco, Angela James, Cammi Granato and Geraldine Heaney (as a coach).
Scotty Bowman, Sean Burke, Jari Kurri, Alexander Yakushev and Viacheslav Fetisov were also supposed to play (or coach in Mr. Bowman's case) according to the lineup sheet, but they weren't there. Actually, I heard Mr. Bowman watched the game from a seat in the arena. I was really disappointed to learn that Alexander Yakushev was not playing tonight, as I bought a card of him earlier this week after seeing him on the JumboTron at Monday's game! :o( As for the game, well it was pretty boring, but it was worth the $5 admission ticket!
After the game, I went to the back of the Colisée hoping to score some autographs, but I didn't know if the players had come by bus, since it wasn't a regular game... It turns out there was one bus in the parking lot and it appeared to be for the Gazprom players. Some players eventually came out and I got this card signed by Valeri Kamensky.
The players only came out to drop their equipment in the bus though; they all got back inside afterwards. As it happened, a private party was held for the players at the restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Colisée. I entered the Colisée through the North-West entrance and saw some players taking the escalator to the restaurant. I got Scott Young's and Jyrki Lumme's autographs as they were waiting for the escalator.
Once the players were all upstairs, the only thing to do was to wait for them at the entrance of the Colisée and hope that they were only upstairs for a quick drink. Patrick Roy came out early and signed for everybody that was waiting. I got him to sign a Colorado Avalanche puck, but he was using the same black marker for everyone and wouldn't switch to my silver marker for my puck, so the autograph doesn't show very well. I didn't bother scanning it... Scotty Bowman also came out early, but when the 5 or 6 people waiting for autographs asked him for one, he wouldn't sign. I saw him sign an autograph to some woman as he was about to get in his ride though, so I went up to him and asked him if he wouldn't mind signing just this one card that I had. He did!
I didn't know Mr. Bowman was such a tough signer in person! I had already gotten his autograph on 3 custom index cards through the mail, so I had figured he must be great in person too...
After getting his autograph, I went back to the entrance of the Colisée and saw Vladimir Malakhov come out. He signed the 2 cards I had:
After that I had to leave, so I missed everyone else, unfortunately...