The schools have in turn submitted photos of their students taking part, and we've put the best ones into a gallery here.
One of our favorite photos came yesterday from Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary in Anaheim, which you may recall was part of a Ducks Power PLAY! campus beautification project back in 2012. Part of that project was building the students a street hockey rink on their playground, and they all crammed into it yesterday to take these fantastic photos (click for a larger version):
But there was one story from last night that you probably didn't see.
After the game was over, and all of the magic from that postgame ovation had finally died down, a pretty big group of fans waited for Teemu at the top of the ramp at the north end of Honda Center. You'll frequently see a handful of fans there after games, because that's where players drive out of the arena on their way home. But well after the game had ended, they had yet to see Teemu.
That's because he was still in the building, having a late dinner at the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Club with his business manager, Pasi Jaatinen, and about a half dozen friends who flew in from Finland to surprise him. In fact, it's a lot of the same guys who he brought in to watch him play in the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, and last night he didn't know they were there until they showed up behind the glass during warmups.
|Here's Teemu signing for the fans at around 1:30 a.m.
When he finally headed out of Honda Center at around 1:30 a.m., those fans were still up there waiting for him. According to Teemu, the modest group of mostly adults all of a sudden got much larger when he arrived, growing to close to 100 people. That's because those fans' kids were sleeping in their cars and were woken up to join the group once Teemu pulled up.
Nevertheless, he stayed and signed for every last one of them. When I told him I couldn't believe that, he just laughed and said, "How could I not?!"
He’s been amazing. I’ve said this ever since I met him, that he’s a guy who comes to the rink with a smile on his face every single day. He works hard and he’s passionate about the game. I don’t think you’ll find a nicer guy in the NHL – in sports – than him. The way he is with the fans, the coaches, his teammates, everything he does is all about respect. That’s the way he carries himself.
He’s been great. “T” obviously has established himself as an elite player in this league for a long time. Anyone who has that kind of longevity, you can learn a lot from. He brings a lot to our locker room, and always has. That’s the biggest thing he’s taught me in the game, is how to enjoy it on a daily basis. I’ve told the story many times, but when we won the Cup in ’07, he said he was retiring, so I asked him for a signed stick. Then he signed one for me for the next three or four years before I finally gave up and stopped asking. I have four of them at home.
It’ll be an emotional game for everybody. We obviously have the playoffs coming up, but it’s his last regular season game and he’s done so much for this organization and hockey in general. For myself, he’s been a mentor ever since my first NHL game. I’m still kind of in awe looking over at him, knowing what he’s accomplished and the kind of guy he is. The passion he has kind of flows through our team. It’s going to be a special moment for him, but it’s a moment everyone is going to cherish, including the fans and including us. Going forward, there is no better way to send him out than going all the way.
I’ve played with a lot of very special players so far in my career. I’ve played with Getzlaf and Perry and Koivu and Crosby and Malkin. But I didn’t grow up idolizing them. When I was an 8-, 9-, 10-year-old kid, Teemu was one of the best players in the world. He was a player you grew up idolizing. To be a teammate of his now, to get to know him as a hockey player and personally, has just been so special. It’s been so much fun to play with him, but even cooler to get to know him and what he’s all about. They will be memories I’ll forever treasure.
He’s a great mentor. He plays the game so well, but he’s an even better guy in the room. It’s obviously a big blow to hockey that he’s done, but he’s given so much to the game. He’s probably the most passionate I’ve ever seen about it. I’m happy for him, and I hope Honda Center treats him well on that last night.
He was one of my biggest idols when I was growing up in Finland, and now I’ve had a chance to get to know him. He’s a big part of my career, and he’s helping me with everything. He’s even been loaning me his car. He’s such a nice guy, and we had some great times in the Olympics [for Team Finland] too. He will be missed.
What can really be said that hasn’t been said? He’s a great hockey player, and a fun guy to be around. When you’re teammates, you’re around each other a lot, and it’s a lot of fun coming to the rink when you’re teammates with someone like that. Whether it’s passing him the puck, and he’s usually putting it in the net, or having fun on the bus. I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of great players and great people, and he’s certainly one of them.
“T” has been amazing. He’s everything everyone thinks he is. He’s a legend. The first day I was here, he came and said hi. He always talks to the young guys, always helps you in any way he can, gives you tips. He’s got tons of energy. He’s just a great guy. It’s been an absolute honor playing with him the last four or five years.
He’s meant a lot to me. Obviously since Day 1 when I came here, I’ve just noticed him in the locker room always having fun, always having a smile on his face, coming to the rink every day and just enjoying every minute. It’s been great for everybody who’s been around him.
To be lucky enough to play with “T” has been a huge honor for me. I’ve learned a lot from him, not only on the ice but off the ice too. Just the way he treats people and the respect that he has for everybody around him – staff, coaches, everybody. That’s the one thing that will stick with me, and he’s been great to me, so it’s definitely been a privilege to play alongside him.
He’s had such a successful career, and everyone appreciates everything he does. For me growing up watching him play, it’s pretty cool playing on the same line as him. He’s the biggest role model that I’ve ever had in my hockey career, and it’s been a special moment to play with him. To get the chance to play alongside him this year is pretty neat. To get to play with Teemu Selanne, I don’t think any rookie would complain about that. Even just sitting beside him on the bench … The things he does, how he takes care of himself, the way he approaches everything, his smile and his face every practice and game day is pretty cool.
As I've previously mentioned in this space, the Contact Us emails we get through AnaheimDucks.com can be at times bewildering, sometimes frustrating and frequently inspiring. We got another good one just today:
My husband and I went to the Monday (3/31) game against the Winnipeg Jets. It was an amazing comeback and it was one of the best games we've ever experienced at the Honda Center.
The next day, we managed to catch the Ducks practice at Anaheim Ice. We were also able to grab some pictures and autographs from some of the players.
I just wanted to say, how awesome and nice the players are. They didn't deny any autographs or pictures. Even though it's after practice and they probably just want to go home, they were welcoming of the fans.
One player that stood out was Tim Jackman. He was friendly to the fans and I had no idea he was a funny guy. As my husband was counting down "1,2,3" to take a picture of us, Tim was like "Ducks!" and it made us giggle. And he has such a charming smile!
It might not be a big deal to the players, but as a fan it meant a lot to me. It was priceless and not only did they make my day, they made my entire year! I was extremely happy and giddy. I was also happy for my husband who managed to get Getzy's autograph on his Getzy jersey, because he's been wanting it for years. He was happy for me that I got my Hiller autograph. :)
I want to say thank you to the Ducks players and the organization for being so awesome to the fans and bringing smiles to our faces.
I am extremely proud to be a Ducks fan.
Thank you again.
Forever a Ducks fan,
To celebrate their eight-year anniversary, Twitter is giving people the ability to discover their first-ever tweet. We gathered some of the Ducks' first tweets (although a few of them were just retweets or replies) and posted them below. We also asked our fans to show us their first ones if they were Ducks-related.
@Matt_Beleskey Last day of camp tomorrow. Then to the real fun— Matt Beleskey (@Matt_Beleskey) September 20, 2010
What's up twitter, seems silly to tweet to 0 followers but I already committed to it— Nick Bonino (@NickBonino) November 7, 2011
first day of twitter, overcast in pretentious town— daniel winnik (@Danwinnik34) April 23, 2011
I'm thinking Emerson Etem is regretting this one...
goin rollerbladin' killin some hills!!— Emerson Etem (@tweetem_up) April 1, 2010
Apparently Ben Lovejoy was dealing with an imposter...
I'm in the twitter game to clear my name. @benlovejoy6 isn't nearly witty enough to be the real Ben.— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) October 30, 2011
Cam Fowler actually re-joined Twitter with his current handle, and used his first tweet back to chirp a (now former) teammate...
Kyle Palmieri had a little early trouble with the lingo...
let the controversial twatting begin— Kyle Palmieri (@kylepalmieri) August 14, 2011
@309steve celebrated Scott Niedermayer getting elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame...
@Matt_Beleskey Glad to hear you're OK, Matt. Rest up and hope to see you on the ice Friday night!— Phil (@philloveshockey) October 27, 2010
@SKEleven said the Ducks were the reason she joined Twitter in the first place...
Enjoying my three day weekend and anxiously waiting for tomorrows match up between the Ducks and the NY Rangers! GO DUCKS!— SK (@SKeleven) January 19, 2009
I finally gave in an joined but it's only so I can stalk my fav hockey team #anaheim ducks ;)— Cristina (@ducksfan89) March 9, 2013
@ducksfan713 kicked things off with a good old-fashioned chirping of a Sharks fan
@sharkie24 why do you guys get so amped up over a preseason game?maybe because you won't choke in the preseason?— michael (@ducksfan713) September 25, 2010
And the first tweet for famous Ducks fan @LadyTennisBall was apparently a reply to me...
@AdamJBrady a few extra TV's around the house to watch sports (mostly hockey) are always a good idea!! Definitely not a ridiculous idea!— Dawn (@LadyTennisBall) September 13, 2010
Incidentally, here was my cringe-worthy first effort...
I've decided I have a big enough ego to start Tweeting on a regular basis. So, let's see how this baby goes. I'm all atwitter. (God, I suck)— Adam Brady (@AdamJBrady) June 29, 2010
As you may or may not already know, one of my job responsibilities is periodically monitoring the emails that come to us through Contact Us on this website. And as you can imagine, when the team has lost a few games in a row and/or they trade away a popular player, the Contact Us emails can be ... let's just say intriguing. And as I'm sure you can also imagine, they are always well thought-out and impeccably written with perfect grammar, punctuation and capitalization.
Okay, maybe not.
But then there are those emails that make my day, a couple of which I've run in this blog before. The latest came from a man named Thomas Elwell and it read:
The little things ... On March 11th, upon arriving in Calgary to face off against the Flames the next day, your team graciously welcomed my son's Novice squad to view practice and meet the team post. I am not sure if this was completely cleared with all members but it happened and it changed the lives of several young boys, namely my 7-year-old son Owen.
You should be very proud of the young men that represent your organization and the city of Anaheim. Getz, Teemu, Jackman, Perry … a few amongst a fantastic group of guys that were genuinely kind to our boys. I just wanted your organization to know how much it was appreciated and thank your team for a moment that will last forever in the minds and hearts of 15 young boys (and us parents of course).
They’re completely unqualified since most of them haven’t seen all of the nine nominees – and also, you know, they’re hockey players – but here are their thoughts below. (As usual, Luca Sbisa offers the best commentary, once again horrifying yet another family member.)
I’ve seen American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity. I fell asleep watching Her and I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. I would pick either American Hustle or The Wolf of Wall Street. American Hustle is a movie I saw in the previews for like half a year, and it looked so good. So, I got really fired up for that movie, and usually when I do that, it disappoints me. But that one didn’t. Even though some guys say it was slow, I actually liked it. It had some good acting, and I like that ‘70s era stuff.
My girlfriend’s parents were in town, and we went to see The Wolf of Wall Street, which probably wasn’t the best idea. They wanted to watch Saving Mr. Banks, that Tom Hanks movie. And I had only seen the Wolf of Wall Street preview once, so I didn’t know how crazy it was. I said, No, let’s go see that because it looks really good. Probably not the best movie to watch with your girlfriend’s parents, but I still liked it.
I loved Wolf of Wall Street. It was a fun movie. It was a little long, but it was an interesting plot and had some good acting. DiCaprio was really good in it, so I think he deserves an Oscar. Captain Phillips was really good too. I saw American Hustle and wasn’t a big fan.
It’s funny, I see so many movies, but I’ve only seen one of these [Best Picture nominees]. I’ve seen Captain Phillips, but from everything I’ve read, a lot of that movie is very fictional, the way it was handled. American Hustle, I heard it was slow. Gravity, I heard … [never finishes his thought]. Her is just creepy. Nebraska, I know it’s a state, but I’m not sure about the movie. Philomena, I don’t know anything about that. Twelve Years a Slave, that’s one I want to see, but I think I need to be in the right emotional state, get a good cry.
Wolf of Wall Street, the book is amazing, but I heard the movie is three hours, so I didn’t know if I wanted to sit through that. I read the book twice, actually. I saw that the movie was coming out so I was like, Oh man, I should read this. And then I realized I read it four years ago. But if I were to pick a winner, I’d go with Twelve Years a Slave, even though I haven’t seen it yet.
The only ones I’ve seen are American Hustle and Captain Phillips. I liked Captain Phillips a lot. I like that Navy SEAL stuff. American Hustle was pretty good. It was different than other movies. I actually watched a special on it the other day about the different things they did in the movie. It was pretty cool to see the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’m not very knowledgeable as far as cinema goes, but my buddy said it’s pretty advanced as far as how they shot it. It was more like a Broadway play on film. I thought that was pretty cool.
I watch a lot of movies, and I would probably go with The Wolf of Wall Street for sure. I think that was the best movie of the year. It was funny. Leonardo DiCaprio does a good job with that kind of role.
I thought American Hustle was very boring. I was very excited to see it and I thought it was going to be an Ocean’s Eleven type of movie, and I was very disappointed. I liked Wolf of Wall Street, even though I sort of knew what was going to happen in it since I saw Boiler Room. I really enjoyed Captain Phillips, and I hope that wins. I didn’t know anything about it, and I watched it on the plane coming home from Nashville. I wasn’t checking my phone during it. I was very entertained.
The Wolf of Wall Street. That’s the one I would pick. It was an amazing movie, and I liked what they did with it. It might have been too long, but it was one of my favorite movies. Unbelievable.
I saw Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and that’s it. Of those two, I would give the Oscar to Captain Phillips, but Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor for what he had to do for that role. It was unbelievable how skinny he was.
Dallas Buys Club was a good one. Matthew McConaughey lost a ton of weight for it, and he did a great job. I saw Wolf of Wall Street and Captain Phillips, which I wasn’t crazy about.
I haven’t seen Philomena. I haven’t seen Twelve Years a Slave. I liked Captain Phillips. I thought Tom Hanks was extraordinary in it. The Wolf of Wall Street was a good movie, but I thought it was too graphic in a lot of ways. Gravity was fine, but I thought the plot was too thin. I didn’t see it in 3D though. American Hustle was just too slow. I didn’t see Her or Nebraska. Dallas Buyers Club, I wanted to see it, but my DVD player wasn’t working. So, I’m picking Captain Phillips.
We have a pretty good idea of how the seven Ducks Olympians spent their Olympic breaks, but what about those who weren't representing their countries in Sochi?
We asked a few of them, and predictably got the best report from the always-chatty Luca Sbisa, who spent his free time nearly giving his mother a heart attack.Luca Sbisa
On the Sunday after the game in Nashville, I flew home to Switzerland. As soon as they announced the [Team Switzerland] roster and I wasn’t on it, my mom was like, “It would probably be a good time to come home, right?” And I was like, “I don’t think so.” I didn’t really give her a good reason why not. I just didn’t feel like it. She acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but I knew she was pretty sad.
So I decided to surprise her, and I only told my sister. I landed, went to my sister’s work and picked up the house key and went to the house. Nobody was there, so I went inside, locked the door again and waited on the couch. Then when they walked in, I thought my mom was going to collapse. She started crying and everything. Two minutes later, my dad walked in and it was the same thing. That was awesome.
I was there for about a week and didn’t do much while I was there. I worked out like four or five times, but that was about it. I would just kind of wake up, have breakfast, hang out at home and have lunch. I did the gym and the spa, but it was pretty much just relaxing. That’s what I was looking for.
I worked out with my trainer around here, at a gym in Irvine, for most of the break. I had a quick weekend trip to Cabo with Hampus [Lindholm]. We got in a little beach time and had a little fun. I skated a little bit with my goalie coach at Lakewood Ice, and stayed in shape. That was about it.
I worked out for most of the days, then had that weekend off in Cabo. That was fun. It was a nice resort, and Cabo is pretty beautiful. It was nice to get some time off, get some sun and just relax.
I watched all of the Sweden games during the Olympics, and mostly highlights of the other games. It was a fun tournament to watch. I think [the Swedes] did great. Anything can happen, and there are a lot of good teams, but I think they did good.
My fiancée and I went up to San Francisco and Napa. We drove up the coast and stayed in Carmel for one night, then San Jose for a little. I love San Jose. It’s an awesome city. I wish there was a team there. [Laughs.] I loved Carmel. It was very dog-friendly. The beach there is unbelievable, and there is a cool little downtown. We walked around and had some dinner. We did some wine tasting in Napa, and had amazing food. That whole Bay Area, the food is unbelievable. We came back and I was pretty stuffed, but for some reason, I didn’t gain any weight, which is odd.
We watched the Olympics a lot. Obviously we watched hockey, but it’s cool to watch the other sports as well. For some reason, you just can’t stop watching figure skating. They’re just flipping around and everything.
I went down to Florida with a couple of my buddies who had their All-Star break in the AHL. They’re guys I live with during the summer, and they’re spread out all over the minors. Then I got back home (in New Jersey) for a couple days, and I went to visit my girlfriend in Albany. I got to enjoy a nice foot-and-a-half snowstorm and did a lot of shoveling at my house. It was mostly just relaxing and seeing my family.
I watched a decent amount of the Olympics. I tried to watch the U.S. as much as I could. The other teams played a lot earlier, and usually the U.S. was a later game. I like watching some of the other events too.
I was here the whole time, and it was awesome. I was a dad. I introduced myself to my daughter [Lila, born on New Year’s Day] and was able to spend a lot of quality time with her. I was able to be up at night a little bit. It was a blast.
My wife was super into the Olympics. I know far too much about women’s figure skating now. I watched a lot of that. I enjoyed the skiing too. We watched during primetime, but I didn’t watch a whole lot of hockey. I was cheering for Cam and USA, but I wasn’t living and dying with the games.
We went back to Montreal for eight days with the kids, visited family and played out in the snow. We got on the snowmobile, the kids went out on the sleds with their cousins and all that stuff.
We watched some of the Canada games in the Olympics, some of the women’s hockey as well. I watched some short track speedskating, because there were a few Canadians who were supposed to win. I watched a little bit of skiing. But I spent most of my days outside with the kids.
I went home to St. Louis for eight days to see my son [Anthony]. It was freezing back there. I was in Vancouver for three days visiting a friend and hanging out with her. We did a lot of hiking up there.
I watched a lot of the Olympics. I was up early playing with my kid, so we were watching in the mornings.
I prepared for my second baby. My wife is almost to term, so she wasn’t cleared to fly anywhere. I have a little boy who is almost 2, so we just did everything possible around here. We spent a lot of time down in San Diego at the zoo and Sea World, aquariums, Disneyland and all that fun stuff. That took up pretty much all of my Olympic break.
Earlier this month I made my annual visit to Oak Grove Elementary School, whose principal Jill O’Connell-Bogle is a longtime family friend. There I spoke in front of approximately 275 fourth- and fifth-graders about what I do for the Ducks, and I spent most of the time answering questions from the kids. The questions ranged from the simple (like asking me who my favorite Duck is) to the more insightful (like the boy who asked me afterward what I thought about hybrid icing).
The Oak Grove visit is always made even more fun by the fact that one of the teachers, Mr. Elliott, is a huge Kings fan who encourages his students to pass on that passion. This year that was combated by Mr. Short’s class, who were strategically placed in the front row and coached to ask me questions like, “Why are the Ducks so much better than the Kings?”
I had a great time once again, and the thank-you notes arrived in a large envelope yesterday. I read every one.
As usual, there included a number of entertaining ones, from the Ducks drawings the kids decorated them with to the messages inside. Some were scribbled on notebook paper, on sheets with a photo of Wild Wing at the top, on orange paper and – of course from Mr. Elliott’s class – on grey paper adorned with Kings logos and other drawings.
Here are some of my favorites, complete with my comments:
You might be the only one.
P.S. How dare you.
Something tells me this kid is going to become an investment banker.
My head is spinning.
My work is done here.
I feel like I'm on the campaign trail.
No, but wouldn't that be cool?
Not sure how to respond to this one.
And then there were the cards from Kings fan Mr. Elliott's class...
I highly doubt it.
Talk about a backhanded compliment.
Okay, this is getting out of hand.
This is actually pretty impressive.
I certainly do.
Pretty darn awesome.
Dustin Penner, as I shot this photo with my phone: "Is this NHL Revealed?"