Oct. 2, 2008 12 p.m.
Hi, Wild fans. Not much time to blog right now, as I have to run down to practice, then head over to the airport for our 3 p.m. flight to Columbus. Check back later today for more updates. Thanks to all the e-mails, I have a lot to get through and put on today's blog. Between the fourth season of House M.D., and a Billy Joel DVD that came in "The Stranger" collectors edition, I'll have a busy flight to the Buckeye State. Thanks, also, to all those offering well-wishes to Josh Harding
over e-mail. I will try and have an update on him later as well. He was at the rink this morning (earlier than I was, I may add). Feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com
! 3 p.m.
I am always so excited to turn on the laptop -- and not just because my screensaver is still of David Tyree’s amazing catch in the Super Bowl as my Giants toppled web guru Jamie MacDonald’s Patriots. No, Wild fans, it’s because it’s officially Blog time.
[Ed note: It's still baseball season for some teams.]
It is for now at least. For some reason, the power cord isn’t currently charging the laptop, even though I’m plugged in on the plane. We’ll keep you apprised of this important situation.
It appears as though we are on time for departure, which will keep me in the penthouse, instead of the doghouse.
Quickly before sitting down, I conferred with Director of Hockey Operations Chris Snow for an injury update. Neither Josh Harding
nor Marek Zidlicky are on this trip with us. Harding, as you saw last night, was caught with a stick in the eye -- through his goalie mask -- and has a scratched cornea. He’ll be re-evaluated when we return Sunday. Zidlicky is still hampered by a sore leg and will miss these two games also.
I arrived at our flight hangar shortly before 2 p.m. with a manifest in hand. The flight attendants were still loading our food onto the plane, so we began screening a short while later. We really have a superb group of players overall -- especially our veterans, who, believe it or not, are usually some of the first ones to show up. Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette were on the plane by 2:25. Our last guy arrived at 2:40 -- perhaps another new record, so we’re on our way.
PR/traveling gurus have different ways of handing out per diem. A lot of guys want to get some extra work done at the office, so they go later to the hangar, and some of the players are already on the plane. I had finished my work at practice today, so I quickly made my way over to the airport in order to hand out per diem just after the players were screened, but before they got on the plane. This way, I can do important things, such as blog ... and eat!
Since this is a relatively short flight and not around a major meal time, we have rather light fare. Sliced fruit and mini chicken sandwiches with provolone cheese for appetizers -- served before I board, as I’m the last one on the plane. No entrees today -- which disappoints me because I suddenly realized that I am very, very, very hungry. Fortunately, we have salads and sandwiches on board, too, as well as desserts. I can’t wait until tomorrow night’s postgame of chicken calzones. Wait, that’s just the appetizer. We’ll have our choice of chicken marsala or grilled filet mignon once we are airborne.
Back to the per diem story I started -- Nick Schultz told me that he is a big fan of getting per diem before you get on the plane. Maybe he’s blogging too?
This morning’s skate was rather short -- Jacques Lemaire was off the ice within 25 minutes, while most players stayed on, at most, 45. There was a photo shoot after practice for a local paper, so a few guys stayed on the ice a bit longer.
We are about to launch into the mother of all mailbags. And I have to start writing down some things I want to include in this blog, because I tend to forget when there is a lot on my mind. Such as …
The last minute deletions of Harding and Zidlicky from the manifest. Fortunately, travel vixen Mary Kenna is on top of this and has us in the right direction. She also had to change some rooms around at each hotel on this trip. Mary is the one who will buy airfare for players to meet us on the road in case of call-up, and helps us with the hotel and meals as well. Mary will be a blog star by Christmas.
OK, to that mailbag.
Q: Hi Ryan. Are you really an "edia Relations and Team Services Coordinator" for the Wild? I guess I don't understand, what's an edia anyways?
Ha! Just messing around. I'm sure you've been made aware of the typo, but maybe I'm the first to point this out and I'll get a free reply e-mail back for my troubles!?
I'm a very new reader of your blog, as in the Oct. 1 entry is my second one. I'm really enjoying it. I like hearing what goes one behind the scenes of the game and the prep for it.
Craig from parts unknown
A: Craig -- awesome e-mail, although some on this plane may argue I need to find cool before I stay cool. I am, however, fashioning a brand new suit today.
Thanks for noticing the typo. Wild.com editor Jamie MacDonald thanks you too, and in our humble opinions, this mention trumps even an e-mail back! We’re very glad that you’re enjoying the blog. It’s taken off more than we thought. Three weeks ago, I figured by this point, I’d be back to sleeping in my downtime away from the rink!
[Ed note: Thank you, Craig. Between working 16 of the past 17 days, including the first back-to-back 15-hour efforts of the young season, we are clearly still in need of a few more preseason days.]
Q: Thanks for the personalized updates. Pretty cool since I'm in Chicago now and can't be at the games. Got my tix for their games here, though :) Question ... any chance you know where I can get one of the white practice jerseys? Saw them in pics on the website. Look awesome, but all I can find online is Red & Green. Are the white available?
Cheers & Go Wild !!
Karry from Chicago
A: Karry -- We can’t wait for you to cheer the Wild on in Chicago. I asked Wild merchandise guru Nikki Braxmeier, and she said that, at present, the white jerseys are not available for retail sale. But she has inquired with Rbk, and others have, as well. Those are some sharp looking sweaters!
Q: Is it true that the Wild are getting a mascot?
Bobbi from the western Twin Cities
A: Bobbi -- that is true! The mascot will be unveiled at an exclusive Hot Tamales Kids Club event this Sunday at Xcel Energy Center! I wish I was a better skater -- I’d have been all over that job. Stay tuned for some mascot coverage on Wild.com! I am pretty sure fans will even be able to e-mail the mascot!
[Ed. note: That is true, Wild fans. You will be able to e-mail the mascot, and we, too, are looking forward to our special mascot section on Wild.com.]
We interject this mailbag for great news from our lead flight attendant, Laurie. There are mini chicken sandwiches left! I’m going to have a snack, and then go toward the back of the plane and figure out our ticket situation for Saturday in Montreal. We have a limit of 50 tickets, and the game is sold out, so we’re going to hope we don’t have more requests than that!
Let me finish wiping (OK, licking) the Boar’s Head mustard off my fingers ... OK, here we go ...
So we are up to 46 tickets already out of our allotment of 50. Something tells me I am going to be down on hands and knees begging for a few more ticket purchases Saturday morning. This is our first trip to Montreal since Nov. 22, 2006.
Back to the mailbag
: Hey Ryan. My brother-in-law is related to John Scott, and I was just wondering if you could tell me how he’s doing so far this camp. The fact he hasn’t been sent down yet is promising. Take care.
Danny in Vineland, Ont.A
: Thanks for the e-mail Danny. “Big John” Scott, all 6-foot-8 of him (and the nicest kid you’ll ever meet), is one of 12 defensemen still listed on the Wild’s training camp roster. Kurtis Foster
is injured, so that’s essentially down to 11. Teams generally keep seven or eight defensemen. Scott has impressed Jacques Lemaire in camp – even drawing an assignment in back-to-back preseason games this week. His skating is vastly improved from when I first met him, back in the September 2006, when he joined me with the Houston Aeros.
I’d also like to thank Tom for sending words of encouragement on the blog -- this is easy to do when the Team of 18,000 is behind me.
Time to watch Billy Joel, filmed in concert for The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC 1 in March 1978 -- two months before I was born. I’ve seen him probably 10 times in concert, and he’s just the best.
While we’re jamming to the Piano Man -- before he was the Piano man, I’d like to throw some good luck out there to Aaron Sickman and his Milwaukee Brewers tonight. (Wow, what a head of hair on Billy Joel back then, and the corduroy jacket is awesome, too.) Sickman will be cheering his Brewers on in person Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). That may be good for Sickman, so he doesn’t have to witness Sunday’s fantasy football matchup with me. “Sick’s Stompin Unit” is 1-3 (picking no starting running backs was a great idea, Sick) and will collide with the 4-0 “Giants Back-to-Back” this weekend.
Here comes my personal favorite part of our flight -- the freshly-baked cookies. So fresh, in fact, that I think I have a morsel of piping hot, melted chocolate chip on my fingers now.
That’s about it Wild fans. We’re probably about 30 minutes from landing. I’m typing up some stuff for a later blog -- tomorrow, possibly, about my favorite road cities. I often get asked about my favorite cities, and tomorrow you can find out. Keep the questions coming -- I have an afternoon tomorrow to answer questions. Let’s hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We’ve had some good names for the blog, but please send more of those in too!