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The Invincible M.A.E.


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Patrick Marleau
harleymae

Ze Wild game

Wow, that was a fun game to watch. It's weird that the Sharks would be cutting loose and going aggro on the Wild, of all teams, given their illustrious history of trapping, although they were short some key personnel. But it was so good to watch everyone fly. What a crazy little team we have this season. :)

I have a couple of video clips. I've somehow accumulated a bunch of Penguins fans on my friends list, so here's a Crosby interview for you. :P



Patty was first star of the game, and saved the puck from his goal for his newborn son Landon, who was at the game that night. :D



Patty's "My Hometown" clip (where he talks about lil' Aneroid, Saskatchewan) is here.

And the most squeeful thing of all for me, Patty referring to his kid as "the little guy". :)

ONE FOR THE KID
Patrick Marleau’s three-week old son attended his first Sharks game Tuesday night and dad delivered. Marleau set up the first goal with a pretty cross ice pass. Then he put the icing on the cake with a late third period tally.

The puck was promptly dug out of the net for the youngster.

“It was his first game and I wanted a goal for the little guy,” said Marleau.

For all the highlight level goals Marleau has scored in his career, he certainly didn’t plan on the follow through on the one dedicated to his new son..

“I definitely didn’t plan on falling down,” said Marleau.


So a bunch of the Wild players' fathers (16 players' dads, 23 dads altogether, including GM) accompanied them on their current road trip. They got a couple of rows at the Sharks game and were all wearing third jerseys with their sons' name and number, hehe! So cute and bizarre.



I'm in love with the whole father-son trip thing. I have spam!

Wild: Just for dads! That's a trip
Doug Risebrough hit upon idea of honoring fathers of Wild players and officials by taking them on road trip with the team. The first-ever Wild father-son travel extravaganza began Monday.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Wes Walz hasn't lived at home in more than 20 years, but when he roomed with his dad at the 2001 World Championships, the Wild center got a deafening reminder of one thing.

"I had a taste of what it was like sleeping beside my dad in the same room," Walz, 36, said. "My dad's snoring can knock one of the walls out."

Walz and his father, Frank, a semi-retired construction worker from Alberta, checked into a San Jose hotel room Monday afternoon.

How long before Frank gets the boot depends largely on his nostrils and Wes' tossing and turning.

"Dad might be getting his own room on the road," Walz said, laughing. "I'll be happy to foot the bill for that."

In a very cool thank you to the dads who dragged their sons from rink to rink in the wee hours of many cold, dark mornings to lay the groundwork for a career in hockey, the Wild's first-ever father-son road trip commenced Monday morning at Xcel Energy Center with individual and group photos.

Twenty-three fathers, including those of 16 players, assistant coach Mike Ramsey and General Manager Doug Risebrough, then hit the road to get a firsthand, up-close-and-personal view of what it's like to travel with an NHL team. They'll be in the crowd tonight when the Wild plays the Sharks.

They'll get to live the posh, but highly-stressful, road existence with their sons.

Monday, they boarded the team's all-first-class-seat charter airplane and headed west. They arrived in San Jose, where they bused to HP Pavilion for the first practice that began the Wild's five-game, 11-day odyssey that starts tonight against the Sharks and ends Nov. 16 in Nashville.

The dads then checked into the team's upscale downtown hotel where they're rooming with their sons. After today's game, they'll fly with the team to Los Angeles, where they'll arrive after midnight and immediately bus to a resort in Huntington Beach. Wednesday, after practice, the fathers and sons will spend the day at Universal Studios in Hollywood before a team dinner.

The dad's trip will end with games in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday before the sons continue on to Phoenix.

"I know my dad [Gene] loves the game as much as I do, and for him to get to see the little things he's never seen before, how things work on the day of games on the road, how we prepare and focus, it's just a nice gift from the team," said winger Mark Parrish, whose father teaches at IHM-St. Luke's in St. Paul.

Coach Jacques Lemaire is worried about extra "distractions," although maybe the trip will supply that extra motivation because, let's be honest, you want to play well in front of pops.

Risebrough came up with the idea for the trip over the summer. Director of Hockey Operations Chris Snow took over the day-to-day legwork and involved the core of the team, guys like Walz, Brian Rolston, Todd White, Nick Schultz, Marian Gaborik and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, in every step of the planning.

For instance on Wednesday, the fathers and sons originally had a choice of fishing or golfing. But that would have split the group, plus Pavol Demitra said most the European dads don't golf.

So White came up with the Universal Studios idea. The dads will fish together Friday.

"I don't know about the other dads, but my dad is pretty psyched up," said goalie Manny Fernandez, whose father Marc, a plane crash investigator in Canada, underwent a triple bypass during the 2003 Western Conference Finals. "He's been calling me every day to know what to pack."

Although, judging from Monday's practice, the dad's need to undergo some break-the-ice, team-bonding exercises. Amusingly, the dads were divided in cliques. The Finns, Slovaks, Americans, French Canadians, Western Canadians and Ontarians sat in separate sections of HP Pavilion.

"I think they need a couple drinks," joked Petteri Nummelin, whose father, Timo, watched with Jukka Koivu and Dick Backstrom.

"It would have been funny if [the dads] were set up like a globe," Parrish joked. "That would have been crazy."

Walz, whose father watched practice with Robert Schultz and Orval Risebrough, admitted, "My dad's a little nervous about not knowing any of the other fathers, but all the fathers are in the same boat. They all have a common ground -- their sons play in the NHL. That's a pretty good ice breaker."

When he played for the Islanders, Parrish once did a wives' trip. But he's always been envious of other teams doing dad's trips.

"Mom's a little jealous," Parrish said of his mother, Barb. "She actually called me last night and asked when the mom's trip was. But that would be a little weird."

Wes Walz wanting to get a separate room for his dad cos' his snoring bugs him! All the dads forming little cliques based on what country they're from, and the Finnish guy suggesting that they need drinks to mix with each other. :) Haha, and Manny's dad calling him every day to ask him what to pack.

For these dads, road trip turns back time
Fathers of Wild players reunite with their grown-up rink rats
BY BRIAN MURPHY
Pioneer Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jack Carney remembers loading the van with his son's hockey gear on Friday nights and driving throughout New England for weekend games in rinks so cold the only heat source was the steam wafting from the cup of coffee in his hand.

Traveling today is much easier for his former passenger, Wild defenseman Keith Carney.

Someone is always there to carry his equipment. A spacious charter plane gets him to the next town where there is a bed at a first-class hotel. And the $85 per diem can fetch fine-dining reservations instead of drive-through window fare.

Missing are those moments between father and son on the road or at the rinks that defined youth hockey for many NHL players. Over the next week, 16 Wild players and their dads have a chance to relive bygone days and make new memories during the team's trip through California.

Consider it take your dad to work, NHL style, a behind-the-curtain experience of a lifetime for the parent whose best connection to his son's career is usually a satellite dish to watch far-away games on television.

"It's going to be like the old days," Jack Carney said.

It started Monday morning with a breakfast meeting and group photo on the ice at the Xcel Energy Center followed by the team flight to San Jose, where the dads had an empty HP Pavilion to spread out and watch the first Wild practice of a five-game, 11-day trip.

After attending today's morning skate and game against the Sharks, they will follow the same routine for games at Los Angeles on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday, with a tour of Universal Studio on tap Wednesday afternoon.

The team is staying three days at an oceanfront resort in Huntington Beach, so there will be time to soak up sunshine, catch up on life experiences and break bread with fellow NHL fathers from Europe and North America.

"There are events in your life that are very special, and I believe this will be one of them," said Marc Fernandez, the father of the Wild's No. 1 goalie, Manny Fernandez. "I didn't even discuss it when he called me and asked whether I wanted to go. I said you're asking a blind man if he wants to see."

The fathers of Marian Gaborik (Pavol), Branko Radivojevic (Matija) and Pavol Demitra (Pavel) flew in from Slovakia together while those of Mikko Koivu (Jukka), Petteri Nummelin (Timo) and Niklas Backstrom (Dick) came from Finland.

"When I was a young player, my dad never missed a practice or a game," said Branko Radivojevic. "He's seen me play in the NHL a couple of times when I was in Phoenix. But I think this is a good payday for him. He told me it was his dream to see how it goes on the road, so it's going to be exciting."

Bringing along Dad is a team-building exercise that other teams have planned in recent years. The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings did it last season, and their positive feedback intrigued Wild general manager Doug Risebrough.

The loose schedule and warm-weather locale made it attractive to stage this week. Moreover, the Wild brought in six new players this season, and Risebrough wondered what better time to socialize and bond off the ice.

"When I look at this group, there are a lot of veteran players, and there's been a number of changes. This is a good way to get everyone to know everyone very quickly," said Risebrough, whose father, Orval, is one of seven traveling from hockey operations.

"It's not just teammates. It's guys getting to know a guy's father, and a father getting to know another player."

Hockey players are creatures of habit, and coach Jacques Lemaire is trying during this unconventional trip not to disrupt routine and keep his players focused on what is going to be a grueling trip. But he also knows the next six days will be a special time for many of them.

Lemaire was 13 years old and playing peewee hockey when his father, Paul-Emile, died of polio, never having the chance to watch his son's hall of fame NHL career.

"I just hope the players realize what the organization is trying to do. I think it's a great gesture," Lemaire said.

Guy Veilleux was nervous about traveling with the Wild because he does not speak a lick of English and was unsure whether he could get a week off work, according to his son, Stephane.

Veilleux supervises the county snow removal crew in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec. The city of 28,000 near the Maine border was buried last month by an early snowfall. Turns out, the trip was an easy sell to the boss.

So Guy Veilleux flew to Minnesota from Montreal with Pierre-Marc Bouchard's father, Denis, to join the caravan. The father who built a backyard rink and first put skates on Stephane's feet when he was 5 years old has seen his son play only a couple of professional games in person and has never seen California.

"Every game he watches on TV, he wishes he could be beside me. It's going to be a dream for him," Stephane Veilleux said.

Marc Fernandez said he is interested in seeing how his son prepares himself as one of the NHL's elite goaltenders. But he also looks forward to talking about parenthood with Manny, who has a young son and an infant daughter.

"There are things to discuss and share, and sometimes we don't have the time, we're so busy," Marc Fernandez said. "I understand. I remember being a young father at that age."

Marc Fernandez, 56, plans to retire in May from his job as an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. He is a licensed pilot who flies to crash scenes. His career in the aviation industry kept him traveling when Manny was growing up, although he brought his son in the cockpit with him on several trips.

"Manny flew airplanes at 12 years old," he said.

The son is eager to return the favor.

Manny Fernandez recalled his dad being around to challenge the politics of youth hockey when some coaches played favorites and is forever grateful.

"If he decided not to drive me every morning at 5 o'clock every time we had to practice there's no way I'd be here. He fought through the system to make sure I had the chance I needed to have," Fernandez said. "It's a little bit of peace to have him here just because that's what dads do. They take care of their sons and make sure they're treated properly."

Oh man, this one makes me kind of weepy, especially about Lemaire's dad. I love how enthusiastic Manny's dad is: "I didn't even discuss it when he called me and asked whether I wanted to go. I said you're asking a blind man if he wants to see."

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I think all teams should do a father son roadtrip like that. It is absolutely adorable!!!!

I know the Sharks are going to do one, and at least a few other teams have. It's a really good idea. :)

Mom-son road trip would be hilarious!

Oh my gosh ... that last article made me get teary. That's such a wonderful idea, and such an incredible time for those boys and dads. Really ... teary!!

Fernandez dad is the mushiest one! But yeah, it made me teary too. :)

Thank you for sharing that by the way (I'm so rude ... I didn't say that first ...


Aww, you're very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed. :)

Patty is so cute referring to his son as "the little guy". He is so sweet getting the puck for his son's first game=)

That father son outing by the Wild is to sweet.

See now look I have a Mark Smith icon now=)

Gah, I know. I'd never heard of hockey players doing that before so I was like *squees to death*

SMITTY!!!

I LOVE YOU FOR GIVING ME BRANKO DAD!!!!!!!

He must be all happy now with his Slovak buddies. :P

I know! Lol. I read an article that said he flew over with the other Slovak dads and what not

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That's because he has 3 hat tricks in the playoffs, haha.

The Sharks are doing one soonish, too! I hope there'll be lots of pictures and stuff, hehe.

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I'm sure they'd have a little Finnish clique. They're probably very quiet guys!

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