Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pick Up The White Courtesy Phone...

My cell phone rang at 4:15 today, while I was frantically trying to prepare the first test of the semester for the college anatomy class I teach. As I was wracking my brain over how to phrase a question dealing with Tomas Fleischmann's recently diagnosed deep vein thrombosis, I heard the dulcet tones of Modest Mouse's "Dashboard," then suddenly remembered that there was a season ticket holder teleconference today.

The guests of the hour? Brooks Laich and Matt Bradley!
Brooks Laich during practice

So, even though I had work to get done before I left for the 7:30 class, and despite the spotty cell reception at my desk, I answered the phone to listen in.

What's the season ticket holder teleconference, you might ask?

It's yet another perk of being a Capitals season ticket holder. Along with the three ice skating "parties" held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex over the summer, this is the second of the season ticket holder exclusive teleconferences, where you can just listen to others talk to the guests, or you can dial *3 and ask your own question. The first teleconference was with Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee, and I just listened in to that one. This second one had Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich as the guests, and while I listened to a variety of questions, I decided I was going to ask them what they thought about the thrombosis diagnosis.

About two minutes after I pressed *3, "Kirk" with guest services popped in and asked me what I wanted to ask. He entered my question in the queue, then told me that when I heard the facilitator (Steve Kolbe) introduce me, I should just ask my question again to Laich and Bradley. I waited through questions such as, "If you were to have a child, who is the teammate you would least want to babysit?" and "Brooks, do you think you're going need to step up to fill Fedorov's place?" as well as "Matt, with Brashear leaving, does this mean you're the number one enforcer?"

Bradley and Laich were awesome, obviously taking their time to thoughtfully answer each and every question posed to them, no matter how serious or inane the question. Bradley would interject some humor into the answers as well, which isn't a surprise, considering he is known as the team jokester (remember Red Line, and Professor Bradley?).

After about 5-10 minutes, Steve Kolbe came to my question. I asked them if the blood clot being linked to a blocked shot and subsequent plane ride would maybe have them rethinking how they block shots, especially during penalty killing. Laich remarked that it shouldn't change anything, since that's their "job, and it's what [they] are paid to do." As he explained it, if he's supposed to stop the puck, he's going to do it however he can, and if he gets injured, so be it. Bradley lamented that he doesn't usually get the chance to block shots, but when he is out there during a penalty kill, he's usually "behind the shot" (maybe alluding to his awesome shorthanded goal during the playoffs).

I didn't listen much after I asked my question, as I really needed to finish writing the test so I could print it off and make copies before leaving. But, I do know the entire teleconference will be posted on the Capitals website, as the first one with Boudreau and McPhee already is.

The fact that the team involves the stakeholders with small things like the teleconference and the skating parties is just part of the reason I love this team. I have my tickets to the Convention later this month, and my season tickets arrived while I was in Nebraska. Plus, I already got notification that the season ticket holder "appreciation party" will be at Six Flags America on October 13th, and I already got my sub for the college class that night. It's just awesome how the season ticket holders are treated here, and it makes the cost of the tickets just that much more of a deal to me.

Training camp is three days in. Our appetites have been whetted. Let's go Caps! :)

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