The cold is still in NC- WHY?? It’s going to be snowing 3 days in a row? Worst winter since I moved here. Moving on…
1. Cam Ward in his 500th NHL game! Only 3 active goaltenders have hit this mark. Ward won the Conn Smythe in 2006 as a rookie goalie. I asked him about what stood out about his first NHL game, he said “You have a lot of flashbacks of all the hard work that you put forth as a kid and the sacrifices [from] your parents, growing up.
On his first NHL start: Mario Lemieux. (long pause). I can remember he took the first shot on me in that game and to be able to win in a shootout, as we all know now shootouts aren’t my specialty; I was 1-0 at one time!
On achieving the milestone after reflecting on the goaltenders who have gotten to it: I feel likeI still have a lot of hockey left in me.
Ward’s parents should be in attendance from western Canada, making a special trip for the occasion!
2. Coach Peters-
For the Father’s Trip in Nashville I asked Bill Peters about his relationship with his father. He talked a lot about family being the foundation for success and said his parents did a good job with him and now he hopes to pass that on to his children. Peters grew up with two sisters in western Canada and remembers the whole family getting out on the pond with mismatched socks and gear. He remembers using elastic bands from vegetables instead of hockey tape because hey, when you’re a kid just enjoying the game you’re going for fun not style points!
3. Devan Dubnyk from the Minnesota Wild has been on a fantastic run!
In the span of 1 calendar year, he’s been with five different organizations, which isn’t easy or fun for anyone to get comfortable and confident. Imagine changing bosses and cities that many times!? His first born is 18 months- Nathaniel had to go 10 straight weeks at one point without seeing his dad. Devan missed many of the baby’s ‘firsts’ with the constant change.
But what’s made him play so well? He said a new mindset of focusing more on enjoying every second of the game has done wonders. He reconnected with his Pee Wee coach who reminded him of this- there are ups and downs in the NHL but no one can take the time you do have to play in this league. It’s a good reminder to live in the moment.
4. Rob Zepp, 33 years old, made history in Decemeber becoming the oldest goalie to win in his NHL debut since 1929. It was a 4-3 OT win in Winnipeg on Decemeber 21. He was born and Germany and went through the grind for YEARS in the ECHL, European teams and the AHL before getting the chance to play in the National Hockey League. He earned a 2-way contract with the Flyers and due to injuries of Ray Emery and Mason Raymond, Zepp finally got his chance. They say never give up and here’s THE example of why.
5. Casino Night was a very good time. After getting some great interviews and footage, I hit the Blackjack table. Since I am not an experienced gambler, I was thrilled to get an Ace and Jack on the final hand with my fake ‘Stormy Cash.’
It was awesome to catch up with so many people in the organization and fans. Shout out to our Black jack table! The food was incredible and the decor was perfect! Well done!
(By the way- Tim Gleason dressed up in the pirate theme because his 3-year-old son begged him to. It was a hit!)
6. Brad Malone is playing his 100th NHL game tonight. He gets a lot of praise from his teammates not just for being a hard worker and playing physical but also because how well he communicates on the ice. Talking to everyone on the team, ‘checking in,’ getting the bench discussion going is small but valuable. Coach Peters said he will “get much more than 100 [games], the way he’s playing right now.”
7. For a long read on different perspective of women in sports journalism, check this piece out. My girl Laura Keeley from N&O is interviewed!