Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry 2011-2012 NHL Trade Deadline!

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Do you remember what December 23rd felt like as a kid? Do you remember going to school that day, knowing that once noon hit that you would be on your way home? Do you remember how good it felt to get on the bus, or in your parents car, or in that stranger’s van (with no windows, of course)? And then subsequently, how good it felt to get home, knowing that Christmas was just two sleeps away?

Do you remember that feeling? The anticipation that built, the butterflies, the adrenaline, the jitters and the like, knowing that you were two sleeps away from an over sized, jolly, benevolent old fellow climbing down your chimney to leave you all sorts of toys and presents?

Now that was joyous.

If you weren’t Christian, or if you didn’t celebrate Christmas, first of all, I’m sorry, and second of all then I guess you enjoyed lighting those little Jew candles and spinning clay tops, or something. (I’m just kidding, but no really, you probably just should have celebrated Christmas, so that this analogy was a tad bit more relevant).

Can you remember that anticipation? Because I can. I’m feeling it right now. I know what you’re thinking, what? How? It’s February. What good, on the scale of National Liverwurst Day to Christmas, could possibly come out of February?

Keep reading.

As I write this blog, us hockey fans are currently three sleeps away from the most wondrous part of the regular season, the trade deadline.

On February 27th, teams all over the NHL will be scrambling, trying to find that last piece (or pieces) that they need to make a deep run into the playoffs, or if they aren’t making the playoffs, they will be looking to sell those players that have either become expendable, or will be unrestricted free agents at years end. If they haven’t made a deal yet, they will at the very least be checking their lists twice because once 3pm EST hits, all trades are off the table until the 2012 NHL Draft.

But going out there, and picking up what you need is never that easy.

Nothing is.

Teams frequently will not trade to those within their division (most times, even conference), because they don’t want to help their competition, unless that means of course that they are being grossly overpaid. Because why wouldn’t you trade Alexei Yashin for some scrub winger, Zdeno Chara and a 2nd overall pick (Jason Spezza).

Oh, Mike Milbury.

Anyway, as you get closer to the deadline, and as less players become available, the prices of the available players, inevitably goes up. So, how much do you pay for that third line winger? How much do you pay for that top 4 defensemen? And how much do you pay for that ever elusive superstar?

It varies from year to year, but this year, the answer to those questions are; a 2nd round pick, a 2nd and 4th round pick, and entirely too much.

The actual answer to how much you will pay this year for that ever elusive superstar has not been made evident yet, but it has been made clear that this years bell of the ball, Columbus Blue Jacket’s star forward, Rick Nash, is not being traded for anything less than a young roster player, a top prospect, and a first round pick.

Is he worth it? To an extent.

Are they going to get it? We’ll see.

Either way, it won’t be easy. Why? Two reasons, his cap hit and his no movement clause. There aren’t many teams out there than can just take on 7.8 million dollars. Sure, some teams could move players out to be able to afford it, but then they would have to take into account that they are stuck with 7.8 million dollars tied up into one player. Sure, Rich Nash is an incredible player, but is he worth 7.8 million a year? Is he going to be worth it for the next six years?

It’s debatable.

Nash has put up at least 30 goals in six of his past seven seasons, while putting up 40 for twice with little to no assistance. Yes, the players around him were professional players. Yes, they had to have talent to get this far. I get that, but imagine the kind of damage this kind of player could do with a number one center (that isn’t Jeff Carter..) or with someone that fit his play style. If Phil Kessel is having the dynamite year he is having because he has finally built some chemistry with a player like Lupul, imagine the damage Nash could do if he played with Giroux? Or Thornton? Or the Sedins/Kesler? Or Datsyuk/Zetterberg? Or even Kopitar/Richards?

The thought alone is enough to excite any hockey fan. It’s our dream to see star players and imagine them on our team, playing alongside our home town favorites, playing alongside our own superstars.

When it comes down to it, we want everyone. We see stars, we want them. We want Ovechkin. We want Malkin. We even want Crybaby Crosby, but it just isn’t likely. Those players are never available, and for good reason. They are the untouchables. They are the players that never get traded, and up until these past few weeks, Nash was one of those untouchables. He was the face of the franchise in Columbus (I suppose for all intents and purposes, he still is).

But does he want to be? Would you want to be?

I know that it’s a part of an athlete’s job to play where he is signed. I know that it’s their job to play the sport to the best of their ability day in and day out, but how do you give it your all when you know you’re not wanted? How do you play as hard as you can, when you know that any minute, you could receive a phone call and be told that you’re heading to Philadelphia? Or Los Angeles?

I guess the good thing for players like Nash and Carter is that they can’t get the phone call that Jeff got over the summer that said, “Hey… buddy… How ya doing? Great. So, listen. You’re going to Columbus.”

That’s a phone call that no NHL player wants to hear.

Poor Jack Johnson.

The only positive for Nash is that he has a no movement clause, and ultimately, he gets to choose where he ends up because he doesn’t have to accept a trade if he doesn’t want to go there. So, at the very least, he’ll likely be moved to a market that appreciates hockey and that can afford to give him the support that he needs to thrive.

The problem here is that those same teams aren’t willing to part with the pieces that GM Scott Howson thinks that Nash demands in return. Is he asking too much? Probably not. He’s probably asking for fair value, but since he has a limited selection in which to trade to, I believe that from here on out, Nash’s trade value will only diminish and that if Howson wants to move him, he’ll have to accept less than Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, and a 1st Round Pick, because quite frankly, he’s not going to get it.

In that case, Howson will have a decision to make very shortly. Does Nash stay a Blue Jacket (for at least the remainder of the regular season and maybe onward?) or does he accept less to move forward with his plans?

For me, ideally, he would be on the move, if for nothing else but to end the anticipation and to be a game changer, adding offensive depth for a run to the Stanley Cup (but only for any of the teams that I follow, for anyone else, I say stay in Columbus!).

I think that he brings a lot to the table. I know that a lot of people will argue with me and say that he’s not worth it, that he doesn’t bring enough to command 7.8 million dollars a year, but I believe that he does. Am I saying that taking a player with a 7.8 million dollar cap hit, and a six year contract is an ideal situation? No. Would I rather have Kovalchuk at 6.6 million dollars for the next forever? Absolutely. But I can guarantee you that Kovalchuk is not going anywhere for many years to come, and neither are most other star forwards. It’s not too often that players of this caliber become available, and you have to take it for what it is (or leave it).

The only problem I have with acquiring Nash is that you don’t want to give up too much of your future for a player that doesn’t drastically change your present. Realistically, it doesn’t make sense for the Flyers or the Red Wings to pick up Rick Nash. Their problem isn’t that they can’t score enough goals. The Flyers are currently number two in the NHL, and the Red Wings are tied for third.

For the Flyers, it’s not a secret that their back checking is non-existent. It’s not a secret that their defense is collapsing, and it’s certainly not a secret that their goaltenders are struggling. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to go out and pick up a 30 goal scorer just because.

For the Red Wings, they know that they’ll be in trouble defensively in the years to come with the possibility of Lidstrom retiring, and Stuart moving out West in the off season. Therefore, they might not want to trade away key pieces for a star forward, when they’re going to have to keep their eye on the back end.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to see Nash in New York. I don’t want to see him in Boston, and I certainly don’t want to see him in Vancouver.

But if the asking price comes down, you can bet that Detroit and Philadelphia would have to be back in the game, at least inquiring. But for now, assuming that the price stays the same, and that Philadelphia and Detroit are out of the game. The only logical step is for Nash to come here, to Phoenix. Yes, I know they’re not in the market for Nash. Yes, I know that they can hardly afford to pay Bissonette to sit on the bench, and yes, I also know that they might not be here next year.

But how awesome would it be?

There’s not a hotter team in the NHL, and can you imagine how much better they would be if new ownership came in, and added a franchise player to the pack? It would be glorious. I can tell you for sure that I’d have season tickets for the 2012-2013 season, and that I’d be touting a Nash jersey (as well as a Yandle, that much is obvious).

Either way, I don’t see Nash being moved until the Summer. I don’t see Howson getting what he wants, and I don’t see him lowering that price until he feels like he has to (assuming he’s not fired by then).

For now, the deadline is only three sleeps away, and there is still a lot to be done (ironically enough, sleep is the one thing that most GM’s and players will not be taking part of in the next three days). So, rest your eyes, and get some sleep because Sunday into Monday is going to be (at least) as glorious as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae with Oreos at Applebees.

Yeah, I know. It’s delicious. Go have one, thank me later.

Merry 2011-2012 NHL trade deadline to all, and to all a goodnight.

Unemployment of the Third Kind: The Impossibility of Landing a Job Post Graduation

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I absolutely abhor applying for jobs.

If you think about it, it is the most absolute ridiculous process ever. Companies are out there, searching for the missing links to their inner workings. They are looking for the precise nuts and bolts to not only sustain their inner machines, but to perfect them. So, to find them, they post these incredibly thorough job applications on the internet that ask questions like, “If you were cheese, which milk would you be derived from? And why?” and “If seven dogs are sitting on the roof of a train, and that train is headed to Albuquerque, but gets derailed in Amarillo, and sixteen cats board it, what color is the house in Pennsylvania?”

Okay. Maybe they don’t ask that exact question. But they might as well.

Then, after you complete their seventy-eight minute application, they ask for you to upload your resume.

Sure. No problem. I click browse, find the resume that I detailed to this particular job, then click upload. I always sit there and think, well that was easy.

But nothing’s that easy.

The screen that follows that  is always asking for your most recent employer. It’s at this time that I start pulling my hair out and throwing my mouse across the room. Like, did you not just ask for this exact information? Did I not just upload my entire resume, including my ENTIRE employment history to your website? Oh, I did. That’s right. I forgot. You must have forgotten too, because otherwise asking me for my employment history after already receiving my employment history would be sort of silly.

It bothers me to no end. It’s like they enjoy wasting my time. Sometimes I swear that they just do it to mess with people. Like, this entire process is just a joke to them and that the job that they posted isn’t even real. They just put it up there so they can see how many people can actually get through the entire application.

They probably sit back with a smug grin, look at each other and take bets on how many people actually manage to finish it (with coherent answers). Unfortunately, falling asleep while your face holds down the enter key does not count for a completed application.

The thing is, it gets better. It gets better because not only is this job not real, but they probably create a job for someone to create this application. But they don’t use the Internet to hire someone. No, then we’d have to divide by zero. Instead, they just hire their secretary’s next door neighbor’s cousin who they met once at a company picnic.

Because that’s how you get a job.

You know someone.

People always tell me that they get jobs from applying to places on the internet. I want to call them out on it, and tell them that they’re lying. But the truth is, they were probably hired by the people that create posts on the internet to tell me that they got jobs on the internet, because I can’t think of anything else.

Either that or their in sales.

If you go on Careerbuilder, Indeed, Monster, or any of the other websites, I’d say that it’s a 99% chance that any job that you come across will be a sales position. Even if it says that it isn’t, it is.

“Kindergarten Teacher for Seventeen Year Old Ambidextrous Children?” Sales.
“Snake Charmer in Downtown Phoenix?” Sales
“Zamboni Driver for the Phoenix Suns?” Sales.

You get it. Okay, maybe those jobs don’t exist, but the ones that do? The Academic Success Specialists and Advisors? The Marketing Project Managers?

All sales.

And let’s face it, I don’t want to sell your shitty product. Also, the reason that your ad never leaves is because turn around rates are high, because no one else wants to sell your shitty products either.

While this post is obviously a rant because I can’t seem to land employment, it is also a serious query of sorts, because I will never understand Internet applications. In all honesty, I will never understand any real job applications.

I have probably applied for close to a hundred and fifty jobs that I have been qualified for in the past year, and have heard back from, maybe five to ten (depending on how you define call backs).

I’m getting tired of writing the same old cover letters. I’m getting tired of writing and changing my resume. I’m getting tired of all of this stuff, because to me, it doesn’t matter. No cover letter, or resume, or anything for that matter can describe what type of person I am. You’re not going to know how hard I work, or how much I commit myself, or how determined I am to finish a project based on this sophisticated jargon.

Sure, I can make counting money and appeasing customers sound impressive, but who cares? No one. No one cares if I can take basic, every day tasks that anyone can complete, and make them sound like I just built the next wonder of the world. The entire process is pure redundancy.

At the end of the day, who cares what I did before? Who cares what I’ve accomplished? I know that it’s important that I have experience, but really, you’re just going to want me to do things that way that you want them done. Not how my last boss wanted them done, and not how the one before them wanted it done. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from college, it’s that you’re going to tailor your work to the person that gives you a grade (or in this case, your paycheck).

If you like me to write in the second person, you’re goddamn right I’m going to write in the second person. If you want me to end a sentence in a preposition, I’ll do my goddamn best to end a sentence in a preposition. If you want me to write my entire essay in the form of a haiku, well, you get the point. You learn how your teacher grades, and you adjust. It’s how you get by (I also hate the grading system, but that’s another blog).

Clearly, since I’ve managed to get through seven years of college while on the Dean’s list, I’ve managed to at least do what I’m told.

I don’t know.

To me, it seems like the people that end up getting hired are those that can lie the best, or the ones that have some insider information, knowing exactly what a company is looking for. Because let’s face it, there are a thousand people out there that have the same exact resume. They may have a slightly different template from Microsoft Word, but I can assure you, that the content is damn near identical. The work experience isn’t far off, at this point everyone and their mother has a Bachelor’s degree, and everyone has the same brown nosing cover letter.

They all say, “Oh so and so, I want to work for your company over every other one in the world because I always dreamed that some day, I could work in the in the liver and brussels sprouts industry.”

Come on, no one wants to work in the liver and brussells sprouts industry, not even the people that like those things.

At this point in my life, it seems like I went to college, just to be in debt for the rest of my life. I am no closer to knowing what I want to do. I am no closer to finding that out, and in the mean time, I can’t find something that I wouldn’t hate doing. If I need to get a job selling Oversized Mexican Jumping Beans to Eskimos in Jamaica, I’ll do it.

I just want to want to do something.

It would make life so much more pleasant, but until then, I’ll be here, editing, rewriting, applying and ripping my hair out, a strand at a time, trying to do what seems to be the impossible these days, land a job post college graduation.

Some Things Are That Bad.

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There are certain things in life that we like just to like, love just to love, and hate just to hate. But why? Why do we like something just to like it? Why do we love something just to love it? And why do we hate something just to hate it?

As a society, we have a tendency to form an opinion on a matter before we realize it. Sometimes, it is the reputation of something that unknowingly forms our bias, sometimes it comes from prior experiences, and other times it comes from those around us. It might be something small, like, let’s say your ex-girlfriend loved Ryan Reynolds and made you watch every Ryan Reynolds movie ever. After you break up, you might be tired of seeing Ryan Reynolds all of the time and might feel a strong distaste for any film that he’s in before you even see it, like, let’s say The Green Lantern. (I’m not saying this is possible. Honestly, I’d chalk up watching Ryan Reynolds all the time as a win. He’s is pretty awesome, and he was banging Scarlett Johansson. Actually, in hindsight, I take back the declaration of awesome, but only out of envy).

But you might see the trailer for the Green Lantern, see its terrible special effects, see Ryan Reynolds acting like Ryan Reynolds and go on a rant about how crappy that movie was without ever seeing it. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t be too far off because let’s face it, no matter how you feel about Ryan Reynolds, the Green Lantern just looked like a shitty movie. No one could have saved that train wreck.

The point is, people form opinions on things all of the time without even realizing it. I would say that more often than not, people form opinions on things and never think about why they feel the way that they do about it. In their minds, they just do. They like something because they like it, they love something because they love it, and they hate something because they hate it.

Sure, if they think about it, they could probably figure out why they feel that way. They could probably discover the discourse of their bias, but at the same time, does it really matter? Who cares if I love or hate Ryan Reynolds? Who cares if I think that watching Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on repeat is slightly less painful than watching any Phillies game? No one, and that’s the beauty of it. We can all have our own opinions and the planet will continue to spin on its axis uninterrupted.

I know what you’re thinking, where is this even going? Why the broad generalizations and the guesswork? Why bring Scarlett Johansson up without posting any pictures of her? Be patient, I’m getting there. Not to the pictures, sorry, but to the point. (Remember, Google is your friend)

Sometimes, we want to think that the reputation something holds isn’t always justified. Sometimes, we want to think that it is the reputation of something that has formed our opinion. Sometimes, we think that things deserve a second chance.

That’s how I feel anyway.

But sometimes things are just that bad.

I know that this is an incredibly long preface for something that was already obvious, but I went to the movies tonight to see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D and somehow, it was worse than I remember it.

I know, I know.

I think that we can all agree to agree that the prequel trilogy is pretty terrible. Sure, each movie has its bright spot (yes, spot, as in singular), but I kind of forgot that everything else was so bad. Like tonight, as I watched Episode I on the big screen, I kept thinking to myself, the man that brought the original Star Wars trilogy into existence, some of the greatest films ever created, thought that this was a good idea. He thought that a character named Jar Jar Binks, that quoted Stephanie Tanner, was a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Full House. I grew up on it. I would certainly never complain about that. However, I will ask this. What could George Lucas possibly have been thinking? Was he thinking, well, since kids can’t grow up watching Stephanie Tanner say, “How Rude”, maybe I should implement a character that, mind you hardly speaks a lick of english, says it awkwardly, looking at the camera, like he’s waiting to wink and give a thumbs up?

Well, actually, that seems sort of plausible.

But that doesn’t make it right.

Trust me, I know that the dialogue and the acting was certainly sub par in the original trilogy, but don’t you think that’s something that you might improve upon? Don’t you think you might get better at scripting dialogue after 20 years? Don’t you think you might find better actors when you have a budget larger than the hopes of Star Wars fans everywhere, when they heard that George Lucas was working on three more films?

Again, I know that this isn’t something new. There is no revelation here. It’s not like I went into the movies tonight thinking that seeing Episode I in theaters again would make it suck less. It’s not like I thought that by going to to see it on a very large screen, that I would fall in love with it, but somehow, I also didn’t remember it being this bad either. I’m not sure if some part of that was repression, or what, but it was bad. Really bad. I don’t think that I would go as far as to say that I hate it because Episode I did bring with it some good things, like Ewan McGregor, Darth Maul and some epic battle music, but unfortunately, I think that the lone existence of Jar Jar, the presence of Samuel L. Jackson and the revelation of Midichlorians somehow outweighs those positive benefactors.

Yeah, I know that I am stating the obvious. I know that Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is far from a good movie. I know that it has a bad reputation and that people that are seeing it for the first time, know what they’re getting themselves into based off of that reputation. They know when they pay $12.50, get their popcorn, and sit down that they’re not getting to see Empire Strikes Back. They know that they’re not getting to see The Lion King 1.5. They know that they’re not even getting to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (yeah, the one where they go back in time to medieval Japan. The one where they don’t even fight Shredder. How do you have a Ninja Turtles movie without Shredder? Ugh. Don’t get me started).

People seeing it know what they’re getting into because of the reputation it holds. Does it deserve it? Well, yes. I think that’s unanimous. No one comes out of the theater and says, “Let’s nominate that one for the Lifetime Movie Achievement Award” (is that even a thing?). No one even says, well, that wasn’t as painful as I remember it, because it is every bit as painful as you remember it.

Yet somehow, despite the pain, despite the disappointment and despite this moderate bout of trash talking, deep down, somehow, I still like it. I certainly don’t love it, but I wouldn’t say that I hate it either. It’s bound in this tiny little realm of like because at the end of the day, it’s still Star Wars. It’s still part of that branded culture that I grew up on. It still means something, and therefore, some part of me will always feel the need to defend it. (Please do not associate my Star Wars defense with that travesty of a television show that is known as The Clone Wars, because that is not Star Wars. That show is to Star Wars as the Japanese Super Man toy you see in the dollar store, packaged with Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles, that has a Spider Man box, and says “I am Iron Man!” is to the Super Man toy made by Mattel on the shelves in Toys R Us).

Some part of me will always think back on it, and think, “you know what? It wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.”

Even if deep down, I know that it is.

On that note, thank you George Lucas, I now have to bury this sense of awareness, and cleanse my pallet by watching the original trilogy again.

The Legacy Winter Classic (Part I of II)

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When I was told that we were going to have to sell a thousand tickets to the AHL Winter Classic, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a problem. I knew that it was going to be something that we could do collectively. The only problem was that we had to get the money for a deposit, we had to have the money ready for a thousand tickets so that we could reserve the ice slot, and so we could get the tickets in our hands.

When I first talked to the representative from the Wells Fargo Center, I was told that we would have the slot after the AHL Winter Classic. However, we weren’t quick enough. Before I could even get the word out to see who was interested, the slot was taken. I called back a few days later with more interest, but was told again that the slot was taken and that there were none left. He then said that if any slots were to open, that he would call me and that we were next in line. Anyone that called after us was simply being turned away. I began the prep work and organization for the event immediately, because I took what he said in true Dumb and Dumber fashion. I took what he said as, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”

And I’m glad that I did, because if I didn’t start organizing when I did, there is no way that things would have come together the way that they did.

If this was going to happen, I wanted to be sure that it was done right. The collective group that was playing was from all over. Sure, most of them were from Legacy, but not everyone, and not everyone had both Red and White jerseys. So, I began work on getting jerseys made for the game. However, I knew it was going to be problematic for many reasons. Mostly because jerseys are very, very expensive and people might not want to buy them. It didn’t help matters that the game was going to be less than two weeks after Christmas. I couldn’t expect people to have money to put out, so I began working on a sponsor and ways to raise money.

Before I began raising money though, for something that might not even exist, I had to get confirmation that it could be done. We have a long standing relationship with the guys at the Hockey Shed, but even they have their limitations. They have done all of our jerseys for us over the past seven years, and I knew that if anyone would get it done, and done right, it would be them. After a brief phone call, I was assured that it could absolutely be done in our limited time frame. Now, I just needed an ice slot, the money for the tickets/jerseys and to confirm the roster.

On December 12th, I received a phone call. It was three weeks away from the AHL Winter Classic, but we were offered an ice slot if we could get the deposit to them that day. I had to think about it (for about a second), could we sell a thousand tickets in less than three weeks? Could we raise the money for both the jerseys and the tickets? Before I could let logic set in, I accepted the slot. I gave him my credit card, winced, and said charge it.

I put a lot of faith in people, about $12,000 worth.

But now I knew we had something to work towards. I knew that we had a once in a lifetime experience on the horizon. The first person that I went to was Joe Santucci. Joe has been a great guy to Legacy as a team, and to each of us as an individual. Our teams have combated in some great competitive games, and I knew that he would want to be a part of this experience. Before I even said anything, he said that he was in and that he would contribute in any way that he could. Long story short, we raised money for our jerseys through ticket sales to the AHL Winter Classic and thanks to Joe Santucci as a sponsor.

Next was setting the rosters. It didn’t take long. I had to have people that were committed and that had money. I kind of knew before I even asked who would want to do it and who wouldn’t. Sure, in hindsight, I do wish a few people had taken part, but I wasn’t about to make anyone do it. I didn’t have the time, and if they weren’t interested enough, well, then that was going to be on them. I just needed a general idea of who we would have so that I could order the jerseys and get the process underway.

I had already determined that we would mimic the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. We would be using Rangers and Flyers jerseys. We would use the Navy Third jersey for the Rangers, and the former Winter Classic/Current Away jersey for the Flyers. I called to assure inventory on the order because I have had orders take three weeks to process in the past because they didn’t have sufficient inventory in stock, and weren’t exactly the greatest customer service company to call and tell the customer that. (Here’s to you Hockeymonkey). But thankfully I did call, because here we ran into a bit of a problem. There were no Flyers jerseys in stock in XL, and the Rangers jerseys had no Mediums. Whatever, I thought. I would just organize it so that players that needed an XL would be on the Rangers, and players that needed Mediums would be put on the Flyers.


Two seconds later, I found out things weren’t so perfect. Somehow, CCM/Reebok hasn’t manufactured their Edge products in quite some time because the socks are out of stock everywhere. This also explains why the Flyers do not have XL jerseys, and why the Rangers do not have Mediums. It also explains why I could not get Capitals socks last year, and why we could not get White Caps goalie jerseys anywhere. This definitely put a kink in my plans because the other colors for these jerseys were even more limited in quantities, and so were the socks. And let’s face it, I didn’t exactly what to be using Panthers and Thrashers jerseys.

So, I put faith in another company and put an order in with Kobe for Flyers socks, and just hoped that the colors would be close enough.

From here, everything started to fall in line, a little bit too fast and a little bit too perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a ton of work and a ton of organization, but it couldn’t have gone any smoother on my end. I received the tickets, I organized them in a spread sheet and began to distribute them to the players on the team. Once they were out, we ended up selling them in less than a week. It was kind of surreal that were able to sell a thousand tickets in less than seven days. Everyone involved did their part, (some did theirs and then some, like Mark Butterline and our late addition to the roster, Tim Kelly).

With the tickets gone, the only thing left was to pick up the jerseys and hit the ice. I had a few roster changes over the two weeks leading up to the Winter Classic, and the Hockey Shed did a wonderful job accommodating the changes on the jerseys. I can’t thank them enough for their part in this.

Two days before the game, I drove up to Havertown, picked them up and headed home. It wasn’t until then that it set in. It wasn’t until I saw the jerseys that I realized just how incredible that this experience was going to be.

Friday, January 6th, a bunch of us met up at Citizen’s Bank Park and tailgated the AHL Winter Classic. We were in good company. The Phantoms won, and we got to eat Santucci’s.

It was the perfect start to a perfect weekend.

Day Five: Flagstaff, AZ to Surprise, AZ

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I know that it has been some time since I have written a blog. Honestly, I just have not had a chance to sit down and write, but since I have some time now, I will update everyone!

The last day of the trip was simple. It was a two and a half hour drive. We were leaving the snowy mountains of Flagstaff for the warm weather of the Valley in Phoenix. By this point, I’m pretty sure it was something that we all needed.

For the end of the venture, I stayed with the group. It didn’t make much sense to go ahead. I wasn’t getting a hotel room. I wasn’t scouting the area out for food or to rest up. We were almost at our destination. It was kind of a good feeling. You know, to know that it was almost over. To know we were almost in Phoenix.

The final two and a half hours went without a hitch. We arrived in Surprise in the middle of the afternoon and got established in the Lemma residence. It felt nice to just get somewhere. It felt nice to relax and hang out. For Kyle, it was nice to get back to his wife, his children and his dog. The entire experience was just pleasant.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time to rest. Not for me at least. I had to find us a house. I had been searching on Craigslist and on for months trying to find a place, but every time that I found one that I liked, I emailed the realtor about it only to find out that it was taken. This was a process that was repeated over ten times. It was frustrating, so I stopped. There was no reason to try to find a house beforehand, by the time we got to Phoenix it would probably be gone. It was important that we got to see it in person because I wasn’t going to just sign a lease over the phone or the internet.

But what that meant was, we were very limited on time. We arrived in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, and we had to return our moving truck by Sunday morning at 9:00 am. I called Penske and found out that it cost $100 for each additional day that we kept the truck. Needless to say, we were short on cash before we arrived, so we didn’t exactly have an additional $100 to spend each day we didn’t find a house.

Kyle offered us storage through his work, but no one wanted to unpack all of our belongings from the truck and then try to fit them in a storage container, and then have to unload it again back into the house (once we found one). So, I locked myself in the bedroom upstairs and started calling houses and realtors and pretty much anything else that I could find.

We needed to find a house.

It wasn’t until the following day (Friday, Day Six) that we started to get around and got to see some houses. We were looking primarily in the Surprise area, but unfortunately weren’t finding much. There was a house across the street from Kyle that was available, however, it was not even close to big enough.

The most important thing for us in this house hunt was space, because if we didn’t have enough room to not be on top of each other 24/7, I can guarantee you that we would have killed each other by now, but it seemed like the rental market in Surprise just wasn’t there for us. We couldn’t find anything that suited our needs. We found a house that was a little bit East of Kyle’s that was nice, but it was a bit out of our price range. So, we started branching out more.

I found an ad on Craigslist for a house in Phoenix. The ad was a little bit shady. It didn’t have any pictures of the place, and the details were pretty spare, but we were desperate, so we carried on. The ad specifically requested that you text the owner because it was the way to get the fastest response. Being someone that needed a quick response, I texted him. I waited an hour, no response. Texted again, no response, so, I called him.

Of course, he answered.

The guy told me to go check the property out. He said to look at the outside and if I liked it to give him a call and he said that he would come show it to us. As soon as we got there, we decided unanimously that it was definitely worth checking out the interior, so I called him.

No answer. Called again, no answer, so we waited.

And waited.

After fifteen or twenty minutes, we decided that we were going to leave because he wasn’t going to answer, but on our way out of the development, we saw a similar house with a realtor sign. We got the number and gave them a call, but of course there was no answer. It seemed like we were out of options and we didn’t have much else to look at, so we headed back to Kyle’s a tad bit frustrated.

On our way back, the realtor called us and said that if we wanted to look at the house that she would give me the lock box combination if I sent her a picture of my driver’s license (which was incredibly, incredibly convenient. Also, getting to look at a house without someone drooling down your neck is pretty wonderful).

She sent the lockbox combo rather quickly and we raced back down to Phoenix to check the house out.

First of all, the house was huge. It was everything that we could ask for in a house (besides the lack of a pool), but it was beautiful. It was roughly 4100 square foot with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a three car garage and a corner lot with plenty of yard space.

The only problem was that the property wasn’t cleaned and wasn’t going to be done until later that week. I explained to the realtor that we didn’t have that kind of time, and asked if there was anyway that we could get in the following day (Saturday). She expressed some uncertainty, but suggested that if we could get our credit applications in, that she would do her best.

We scrambled to get everything we needed in line for that morning. We got our bank statements, our drivers licenses, our applications and the fees together and met with her at 8:30 AM. After we handed it over to her, she said that she would get in contact with me as soon as possible.

We were left with nothing but the hope that the owner of the house would be okay with us renting despite the fact that we had two large dogs and more importantly, were currently unemployed.

We were optimistic. There was some doubt, as a collective group, our credit score wasn’t exactly something to brag about, but we were assured it was good enough to rent. Still, I think that in these types of situations, you’re always a little bit nervous because you never know what’s going to happen. It’s kind of silly really, because realistically you know your credit history. You know if there’s something bad on there or not, yet for some reason, you still have this inkling of doubt. You still feel like there’s a chance that something unfavorable might just pop up. You still feel a little bit unsure.

After a few hours of waiting, I received a phone call from the realtor telling us we were approved and that we would be able to meet up with her in two hours to sign the lease, then we could move in.

Up to this point, everything seemed too easy. It seemed like everything had gone too well. At every turn, I was waiting for a monkey wrench to get thrown in our plans, or to find some kink that we had to work out, but it never came. The road trip from New Jersey to Arizona couldn’t have gone better (well, aside from getting a ticket). Finding a house (that we weren’t settling for) in less than two days, couldn’t have gone better.

Everything went perfect.

We got the moving truck to the house, we got all of our stuff inside and we slowly began to unpack. From there, we have just been in a constant state of exploration (mostly of Wal Marts, Pizza places, and Targets).

Sure, there have been upsides and there have been downsides. Sure, it still doesn’t feel like home. It doesn’t feel like I live here, but I think it will get there.


For now, I’ll just have to get used to it being 70 and sunny every day.