I arrived at the Bell Sensplex, the Ottawa Senators’ practice rink in Kanata, ON, very early (around 10:00) for the Sens practice, which was scheduled for 12:00. I went there hoping to get some of my cards signed, obviously, but I was especially hoping to get my Daniel Alfredsson jersey signed as well as a puck commemorating his 1000th NHL game if I got really lucky...
Matt Carkner and Bobby Butler were the first to arrive at 11:00 and each signed the 2 cards I had of them while Matt was telling me what he remembered of his visits to Quebec City back when he played a few exhibition games with the Québec Citadelles, one of the Montréal Canadiens’ former farm clubs:
The rest of the players and the coaches eventually arrived and I was able to get all these cards signed by Craig Anderson, Alex Auld, Luke Richardson, Rick Wamsley, Colin Greening, Sergei Gonchar, Nick Foligno, Stéphane Da Costa, Jared Cowen, Erik Condra, Milan Michalek, Filip Kuba, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza as they parked and walked to the entrance of the arena:
Also, Mika Zibanejad, of whom I had no cards, signed this puck for me:
Erik Karlsson said he would sign after practice, while Zenon Konopka said he only signs for kids. Unfortunately, Daniel Alfredsson never came! The only other hound who was there before practice said Mr. Alfredsson usually arrives with Erik Karlsson, but Erik arrived by himself today. My first time hounding the Senators and my favorite player gets a day off, just my luck! At least I managed to get several other autographs from the rest of the players!
I hung around after practice and I was able to get a few more autographs, this time from Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza (again), Chris Phillips (again), Brian Lee, Paul MacLean and Jesse Winchester:
Actually, Chris Neil was the first to come out of practice but when I asked him if he would sign my cards, he said he didn’t have time, that he was leaving early because he had an appointment. It’s a classic excuse, but he looked sincere, for what it’s worth! He had signed for the other hound before practice, but I had missed him while getting someone else’s autograph...
When I saw Sergei Gonchar again, I asked him if he would sign a Penguins puck I had, but he replied that he had already signed for me before practice. I was still able to convince him to sign my puck, only to end up smearing it by putting my fingers all over the freshly signed puck when I saw Erik Karlsson come out and I scrambled to find my card of him! Oh well, at least I had gotten Mr. Gonchar’s autograph on 2 cards before practice.
So all in all, I’m really happy with my first experience hounding the Senators! Most of them don’t seem to mind signing autographs, which is great! Now if they can just get some wins...
I went to the game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Ottawa Senators earlier tonight at the Scotiabank Place in Kanata, ON, and at the team store, there were mystery pucks on sale for $20 each to benefit the Hockey Fights Cancer charity. The pucks were autographed by either a player from the Senators or the Flyers, whom the Sens played 2 days ago. They were in white cardboard boxes, so you didn’t know which puck you were getting before you bought it. I ended up getting a puck signed by Chris Phillips, which is not that bad! Not much "star value", but still a former 1st overall draft pick. It could have been worse! :o)
The Montréal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning played their last preseason game earlier tonight at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, QC.
During the 1st intermission, I went and waited next to the stairs leading up to the press gallery where Steve Yzerman, the Lightning's general manager, was watching the game. I waited the whole intermission as well as the beginning of the 2nd period, but he never came off the press gallery. On the other hand, I was able to get autographs from 2 players from the Lightning who were scratched from tonight's lineup: Bruno Gervais (very friendly) and Ryan Shannon, who was nice enough to wait while I was looking for his card. Here's what I got signed:
I could also have gotten the Canadiens' Ryan White's autograph, but I didn't have anything for him to sign.
As the 3rd period was nearing its end, I went back to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the press gallery and waited for Steve Yzerman to come down. About 15 minutes after the game had ended, he finally came down the stairs with 2 other men. My friend got his Red Wings puck signed and Mr. Yzerman signed one of the 2 cards I handed him:
After that, I headed to the area where the players leave the arena. The Lightning's bus was parked inside, so I didn't see any of their players after the game. On the other hand, the Canadiens' bus was parked outside, so they had to walk from the arena to the bus. Several players signed either while walking to their bus, or inside the arena because they had gone through the wrong door. :o) I got autographs from Brian Gionta, Erik Cole and Scott Gomez inside the arena as well as Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn outside as they were walking to their bus.
Lars Eller commented on how the card I had him sign looked nice but unfortunately, the marker he used didn't adhere to the card very well... As for the card Scott Gomez signed for me, I had already gotten it signed by Alex Tanguay last year at the Pro-Am Simon Gagné.