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When we went on our California road trip last year, I was sure it would be my first and last time there. But hey, we had such a good time that I could not resist going again this year. The following is a summary of five wonderful days away from the harsh Montreal winter. My younger daughter was along for the ride this time (it was her x-mas gift) and some of the photos posted are hers.
We flew to San Francisco and the plan was to drive to our San Jose hotel directly and just chill and rest from the travel. Since the flight was on time and quite smooth, we arrived around lunch time and less tired than anticipated so we went for a drive in San Francisco instead. Plans are made to be changed right?
Our hotel in San Jose was half a mile from the arena so we decided to take a walk and try to catch the Habs before or after the morning skate. Unfortunately, they arrived and left by bus in the garage so we couldn't play groupies and ask for signatures and pics. We did see Pateryn and Bournival leave after being reassigned to Hamilton though. And the scariest sight of all, 30 minutes before trade deadline and about 30 minutes before the bus left the garage, we saw Pleky take a cab, alone. You can bet that I was frantically refreshing my twitter timeline to see what was going on... nothing about Pleky from the mainsteam media but still, I couldn't shake off the dread. Then I realized that he didn't have his gear and sticks with him so all was right, right? Right. Phew!
All that excitement made us hungry so we went for lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant, walked around dowtown for a while then it was time to head back to the SAP Center. That's where we witnessed first hand one of the lousiest Habs performance of the season. Isssshhh! At least we were comfortably seated in the first row and the people around us were rather friendly. The official photographer sitting next to us even offered to take a few photos with our cameras through the hole in the glass. I declined but it was nice of him to offer nonetheless.
Before totally forgetting about that game, because we all want to forget it right? Here are 24 photos: http://smg.photobucket.com/user/dannit/slideshow/Californie%202015/0302-San%20Jose
When we made the trip last year the schedule was too tight with the Coyotes games in the middle of the California games so we had to fly between each city. This year though, we had a full day to travel between San Jose and LA so we went by road, driving down the Pacific Coastal Highway.
So 8 hours of driving up and down the mountains (10 hours total including the stops), taking tight turns where speed limit was 15 mph and filling our eyes with nature's work of art. I dont think any camera could render how breathtaking the views were but here's our humble attempts. 37 photos: http://smg.photobucket.com/user/dannit/slideshow/Californie%202015/0303-West%20Coast%20Drive
For the rest of the trip, we stayed at a small hotel in Santa Monica. To spend some time during the day before the Anaheim game, we drove to the beach and along the coast to Malibu. We stopped a few times to test the water temperature (brrrrrrrr...) , watch the surfers and have lunch at the Santa Monica Pier, where we unexpectedly saw a seal entertaining the crowd to the sound of Mexican mariachis
Then it was a short stop at the hotel to shower and change and then a 45 minutes drive to Anaheim that took 2 hours in the LA rush hour traffic. We made it to the Honda Center at exactly the time the doors were opening so all was good. Our setas were in the section next to the Habs bench so Caroline went near the dressing room corridor with her cute innocent puppy face on and managed to get a stick from Pierre Gervais once more (Gonchar's). Some of the other Habs fan around her asked if Pierre was her father or something
After that it was game time and even if the result was frustrating, this was quite an entertaining game to watch. The drive back to the hotel took the normal 45 minutes and all in all, we had a great day under a 23 degrees sun.
34 photos of the day and the game: http://smg.photobucket.com/user/dannit/slideshow/Californie%202015/0304-Malibu%20and%20Anaheim
We had seen Beverley Hills and Hollywood already last year but our daughter had not so we re-did the tourist thing with her to spend some time before the game.
We drove on Sunset blvd, walked on Hollywood blvd looking at the stars on the sidewalk, went to take a few pics at the Chinese theater and at the Dolby theater and of course took a 2 hours minibus tour of the Hollywood Hills and surrounding area. It was a lot of fun, our tour guide, an obvious wannabe actor, was quite funny and there was a small group of New Zealand guys on board who were as entertaining as the guide. We laughed our heads off the whole time. Then it was time to head downtown LA for the game.
Our seats were right behind the bench this time and immediately next to the corridor to the dressing room. My usual spot at the Habs road game We didn't see much of the game itself as our view was often obstructed by the coaches' back (as expected). That game was the one we had the most fun at, FINALLY some goals to cheer about. It's just sad that we had to have that penalty late in the 3rd, there was really nothing Eller could do to avoid it, oh well... The shootout was fun even if we didn't win. And in the end, Pleky noticed the 14 on my daughter's jersey and gave her his stick when exiting the bench. So additional luggage fees at the airport for those sticks but who cares right?
58 photos of the tourist day and the Kings game: http://smg.photobucket.com/user/dannit/slideshow/Californie%202015/0305-Hollywood%20and%20LA
Time to fly back home Our flight was again very smooth and there's nothing much to report other than Pierre Houde travelling on the same flight since RDS are not the broadcasters for the next game. I could have added that Arizona game to our trip but it would have meant to fly back Sunday and would have made the return to work Monday morning way too brutal. So I'll do like most of us and watch this last game of the Habs trip on TV.
THE END... until next time
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Feel free to take a look at my photos, supporting the MONTREAL CANADIENS: open album
I'm a Portuguese citizen,
born, raised and living in Portugal since 1972
Became an unconditional HABS fan in 1991, the first time I visited Montreal as a tourist.
Ever since I've crossed the Atlantic for 10 times to support our TEAM,
next week (Oct.5, 2011) I'll do it again for the 11th time. Hopefully I'll be able to get tickets for the season opener at Centre Bell, and at least to 6 more games until the end of October, for I have to return to my country to get back to work and save some euros for the next season
my personal oath to the MONTREAL CANADIENS
originally posted here: open my original post on 11/19/2009
Feel free to copy, if you would like.
Regards from Portugal,
HABS fan since 1991
"To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high."
- Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel, John McCrae, "In Flanders Fields"
“Like an army on ice, we march south every winter, We return in the spring the conquerors!”
—Sebastien Dhavernas, "Les Canadiens"
(Blog taken from this link http://media.fans.mapleleafs.nhl.com/_Calling-European-Hockey-Fans/blog/5093791/122856.html)
Calling European Hockey Fans
As I'm sure you all know as yet we have heard nothing from the NHL or the companies they sold the media rights to, as to where we can watch the 2011/2012 NHL season either online or on television.
The official press release is here date 4th July 2011:
There have been rumours NHL Game Centre Live will be available to us from this season but frankly this isn't good enough.
I say we at least email these companies including the NHL to let them know we want hockey and we are frustrated. I know this may seem a futile gesture to some of you but the more of us that stick together the greater chance we have of making an impression on them.
I have obtained the following contact details:
Phone: +46 (0) 70 5511 181
Phone: +44 (0) 1608 684422
National Hockey League
I'm going to post the emails below that I intend to send to the above emails and you are welcome to use these as a template or as a guide.
If you do write to them please either comment here or find me on twitter, I'm MarkUkLeaf as most of you know.
I’m writing to enquire as to whether you can confirm if the rumours are true regarding NHL Game Centre Live being available to European fans as of this coming season.
If so this is great news, however we feel in Europe and especially the UK, that fans have been left in limbo this pre-season with no information as to where we would be able to watch the NHL this forthcoming season.
Having sold the European Media Rights to Medge Consulting/AMI, fans feel the NHL have let us down by not making sure these companies provided us with a range of online/television packages in good time before the 2011/2012 season. As yet there has been no official word or press release from either company and as I write this we are faced with the prospect of no television coverage whatsoever.
The NHL seemingly wishes to broaden it’s brand and fan base by bringing teams to play in Europe every year but then gives these interested fans little information or options on where to watch future games.
Current NHL fans in Europe have pumped a great deal of money in the NHL brand over past years via media subscriptions, buying official merchandise and even travelling to watch their favourite team play live.
I include myself in this and feel the NHL are doing European fans an injustice by letting this situation meander on.
All European fans are asking is for a fair opportunity to be able to watch the game we love and support our own personal teams.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to hearing from you.
I understand from the official NHL press release dated 4th July 2011 that Medge Consulting and AMI have
signed an agreement to represent the international media rights for the NHL in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Myself and hockey fans across Europe are perturbed at your apparent lack of progress in providing us with any information, let alone any television or online packages at this moment in time.
We are increasingly frustrated as the 2011/2012 NHL season is only one month away and with pre-season games starting at the end of this week, countless fans will be now thinking about singing up for other online media streams or just using illegal feeds which is bad for the NHL and your business.
I understand while negotiations are being held that you have to be discreet but that does not prevent you from releasing any statements or press releases whatsoever.
I’m sorry but two months without any news or information from yourselves is just poor and in the end is going to drive customers away.
I know some fans have written to Medge Consulting and have received a reply.
However most fans have felt that the answers have been unsatisfactory and there has been a degree of “blowing smoke” over this affair.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to hearing from you soon.
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Saturday Night In Saskatchewan
Dedicated to my grandfather
It was the late 70's & I was a young lad living in Regina. Every Saturday I would go to visit my grandparents. This was a special time in my life. We would do various things throughout the day but I was always anxious for it to be 7 pm. That's when Hockey Night In Canada would come on tv live from the Forum in Montreal! For the next three hours my grandpa & I would sit down & cheer on the Habs. When HNIC would show the Leafs we'd turn it to the french channel. It didn't matter to us if we didn't understand the announcers, we just wanted to watch the game. The Habs & my grandpa were the biggest things in my life at that time for I was only 7-8 years old during this period. Unfortunately my grandpa passed away a month before my ninth birthday. I only knew my grandpa for a short time and that's what made the time we spent together so special & one reason as to why I love the Habs so much. You know the day every year when winter breaks & it feels like spring is in the air? That's the day I look up at the sky & say “It's playoff time gramps.”
I remember playing shinny every morning, lunch hour, recess & after school.When I was a forward I was the Flower, when I was on defence I was Big Bird & when I played goal I was always Ken Dryden. I even leaned on my stick like he did when the play was down the ice or street.
During my teenage years I would watch every Saturday night & I was able to listen to the weekday games on the French CBC radio channel. When I moved out on my own I got one of those huge black satellite dishes (remember those?) and I watched every game I could. It was extra special watching it with my buddies.
Let's jump ahead to 1992-1993, what an amazing season that was. However it didn't start out so well for me. Besides my family & friends, my closest buddies were Murdoch & Spencer, my dogs. Murdoch passed away that year, the day he died was very hard on me. That week while watching a game I turned to my friend & said the Habs are going to win the Cup this year & I am dedicating this season to the memory of Murdoch. True story. Well we all know we won!!!
January 2,1998 I got to see my first live Canadiens game in Edmonton with my wife. We were losing 3-1 with approx. eight minutes left & came back to win 5-3. Wow, that was a great day. My hand was so sore that night from high-fiving so many fellow Hab fans. How could I ever top that experience? Well let's move ahead to 2008 when I finally made it to the Holy Land, the Bell Centre. We booked the tickets to coincide with the Grey Cup game. We went to two games. Unknown to us at the time we booked, the first game was Patrick Roy's jersey raising. What a thrill! Then the next game we got to see O'Byrne score on himself. LOL. Talk about your highs & lows. The boys lost both games but it was one of my childhood dreams come true.
I am married now to my beautiful wife & we have three great kids. Of course raising a family is very time consuming & then there's work. Still I manage to see almost every game. When anyone asks me how I became a Habs fan living so far away I tell them the story of Saturday nights in Saskatchewan watching the bleu, blanc & rouge play on HNIC with my grandfather.
I miss you grandpa.
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