Actual Hockey Was Played

Since we couldn’t attend Canada on Saturday evening, welcome Alison (@alisonsykora) with a guest post!

I told myself I didn’t care anymore. The lockout was dragging and NHL hockey was no longer a part of my life. I had accepted it and moved on.

Then the RBC Charity Challenge happened.

“Mwhahahaha,” said Stamkos.

The NHLPA threw James Neal, Steven Stamkos, Logan Couture, Michael Del Zotto, Joffrey Lupul, PK Subban, and a bunch of other players on the same sheet of ice, and my inner fangirl was doomed from the very announcement.

I paid my $30, got a third row ticket and emotionally prepared myself.

I knew it was going to be a great night when I saw PK Subban on my way to the grocery store.  I did what any other normal person would do – speed-walked right past him in stunned silence then tweeted about it immediately.

Eventually it was game time. I could talk about how much I missed the sights, sounds and smells of a hockey arena, but I have far too many pictures of James Neal and Steven Stamkos for that.  I know what you really want.

First came the warm-up.  Team Subban debuted, then Team Stamkos.  That’s when we all died fangirl deaths.  Look, NHLPA. You can’t just put Stammer, Nealer, and MDZ on the same team and expect every female in the place to contain herself.  (Pants Note: Word.)

It was arguably the best part of the entire game, because the players skated without their helmets on and we got to see all of this:

During the game, the announcer gave James Neal the not-actually-real award of “Best Hair on the Ice.” Pascal Dupuis may not have been there to rub his stick in it (that sounds inappropriate!), but Nealer’s hair looked, as always, pretty fabulous.

Puck drop: Steven Stamkos, Elisha Cuthbert’s fiancé, and 4 other guys that you’re probably not going to know unless you’re a Leafs fan.  (Are there any of you out there, or am I alone in my misery?)

Fun fact: PK and Steven used to be teammates when they were little kids. Like that one stacked team in every rec league that wins all the trophies.

Jim Cuddy sang the national anthem. This picture is so Canadian it hurts.

 What follows is a random selection of the best pictures from throughout the game. If you’re not a fan of James Neal’s face, maybe just skip this part.

(Pants Note: Maybe just skip this blog!)

This just seemed like a necessary inclusion.

Nealer and Purcell having a serious discussion about which of them is better friends with Stamkos.  (Pants Note: Awkward foreground moment.)

Oh my god, just stop it.

If only they were facing the camera.

Obligatory James Neal tongue photo. Sorry about your ovaries, Pants.

Versteeg is probably singing “Glamorous” by Fergie to Stammer right here.

I’d totally be staring at/taking pictures of Teddy Purcell’s butt, too.

It took until the second period for me to remember that Team Subban existed.

I have nothing coherent to say. I just spent 5 minutes staring at Stammer here.

Bless your heart, Phil the Thrill. You put on a stickhandling clinic through traffic in the slot, then missed the shot, lost your footing, crashed into the boards and got up laughing.

My three boyfriends. But I guess I can share.

Pretty sure this line combined for like 30 points. 

These poor, misguided children. You are setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache and despair. RUN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

It’s impossible not to like Joffrey Lupul. He sasses Gary Bettman, has great taste in music, and has that face.

I was so distracted by Team Stamkos that I unfairly neglected Logan Couture until the 3rd period.

Wojtek “the Polish Prince” Wolski, just for Chuck.

Last picture of James Neal, I SWEAR.

Sadly, the game eventually ended and I remembered that the lockout still exists. But at least I have all these pictures to get me through it.

On my way home I saw David Steckel who, despite what I’m about to say, seemed to be a lovely and fantastic person who I’m sure did not mean to hit Sidney Crosby in the head.

But while everyone else was asking him for autographs, I experienced an intense rage flashback. It took everything in me not to angrily shout something about staying away from Canada’s National Treasure. (Last week, against my better judgment, I re-watched “Pens/Caps: 24/7” and I’m. Still. Bitter.)

Hope you guys enjoyed my little recap, and more importantly, the pictures! If you’re looking for pictures of a specific player from the game, let me know. I literally took hundreds of pictures, so this is just a small sampling, and I don’t mind sharing.

Thanks to Pants and Chuck for letting me do this guest blog! Also a big thank you to Elena for fangirling with me throughout the entire thing!

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  1. Steph Reply

    I was there too…was able to get my son’s PK Subban jersey signed (poor kid was at home with the flu)…and then in a fit of insanity I gave my 10 year old daughter my picture of Joffrey Lupul in his KHL Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg jersey and the sharpie and sent her down to the tunnel…and didn’t she get it signed. God that kid is gonna score big at Christmas this year.

    Great to finally see these guys back on the ice and at Maple Leaf Gardens. I miss hockey.

  2. MDZ. YES. Now I have to go back and re-visit his Foxy Friday post to relive it. Especially his sexy scar.

    I’m giggling at those Leafs children. Poor, poor fans – will they ever learn?? And I’m with you on Steckel. Like I said before, you should have tossed an elbow – there isn’t a judge in Canada that would convict you in defense of Sid.

    • I think I’m going to make an MDZ photoset on Diptic. Or two or three. I think I might have almost as many pictures of him as I do of Neal. I have a great one of his running his hand through his hair. I’ll send it to you.

  3. Yay Alison!! Good job 🙂

    And I applaud your mastery of the RUN AWAY! technique when faces with real players in real life.

  4. MB Reply

    Awesome! Thanks so much, great job. And, just to be clear, one can never have too much James Neal, ever. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Alison. Hope Santa is good to you!

  5. Your pictures are lovely and thanks so much for sharing! I watched online for a bit since I’m crazy jealous none of these have been put on in Boston yet. Get on this one, boys!

    And I also employ the ‘speed walk as fast as humanly possible’ approach to being in the same space as hockey players! I’ve found that actively ignoring them works, too.

  6. Thanks, everyone!

    I hope everyone gets the chance to attend an NHLPA charity game sometime soon! Or an actual NHL game, that would be acceptable, too.

  7. jana Reply

    Fantastic photos and commentary Alison! I was thisclose to driving the nine hours–passport in hand–to Toronto to see the game!

  8. Ness Reply

    Phillip I love you!!!!(Yes! Us Leaf fans exist! Thanks for the Leaf love 🙂 ) And about 95% of team Stamkos… Oh those poor boys, its too late for us, save yourselves!!!