PHILADELPHIA — The hockey team from Pittsburgh defeated the hockey team from Philadelphia by a score of 6-2 ... and you aren't going to find the scoresheet on NHL.com.
This game wasn't between the Penguins and the Flyers, of course. That game is reserved for Saturday night ... maybe. This game was between members of the media, team employees and the Pittsburgh team was coached by legendary gamesman Dan Potash.
Just like the one to be played this weekend, it took place on an NHL sized ice rink dwarfed by the size of the NFL stadium housing it -- right at Lincoln Financial Field. Just not between those teams.
The teams were still dressed in black and in orange, however, as they were split up by the teams the players respectively covered.
Time to stop writing "the teams" and start writing "we."
Yes, "we." That photo up top is of Chris Bradford and me after we skated in the lopsided win over the cross-state rivals. It's the first time the two of us have played together, actually, but something I've been looking forward to since he joined the site during last season's slate of games.
We didn't play on the same line, so interaction was limited, but Bradford did link up with me on a give-and-go where he found me with a slap pass in the corner and I fed him going at the net. We didn't convert on the chance, but Bradford did get a couple of points (1G, 1A) in his return home to Philadelphia.
In fact, he wasn't the only one. Fellow teammate and one of the voices of the Penguins, Josh Getzoff, also scored in his return to Philly, with Bradford setting him up for the goal.
“Had an extra jump in my step all day knowing I was going to have a chance to play at the Linc," Getzoff told team captain and media game MVP Jason Seidling after the game. "Just like when Nick Foles executed the Philly Special and locked down Super Bowl XLII, I knew when that sixth goal went in as I batted the puck out of mid air that we were going to come away with two points. All credit to Dan Potash and his coaching.”
Getzoff, Bradford ... both had great games in their homecoming appearance. Seidling, the Penguins' director of communications, stole the show, though, wearing No. 58 and scoring twice as he found himself alone on net attacking from his defensive position.
Seidling was paired with fellow Penguin employee and former Michigan State defenseman, Michelle Crechiolo. With reliable defenders in front of Crechiolo's Pens Inside Scoop teammate and goaltender Sam Kasan, Seidling was able to take his chances.
The goal of the night, and the one that earned him the game puck from Coach Potash, was a breakaway found through some nifty footwork which ended with a backhanded puck off a deke which found the water bottle from the inside of the Philly net. True beauty.
That's a photo, not of Seidling's show-stopping goal, but of his first one which was celebrated with the enthusiasm of Teddy Blueger.
Yes, I did take a few photos, but only after my first shift. The ice was ... uhhh ... rough, and everyone was sucking wind early and often throughout the 30-minute affair. It was chopped from a slew of NHL legs and the Flyers families who skated between our appearance and the end of the pros' session, and energy was being expended much quicker than normal.
So, I shot a few photos until it wasn't worth shooting photos over catching up on air in my lungs. I was definitely happy to nail that one of Jason since he put it together for us, even if the focus is a bit off from shooting through the helmet.
I did snap a selfie "with" Seidling while he was giving a postgame speech, though. Always happy to take one with the player of the game:
My big moment of the game, even though I ended up with two assists by way of simply touching the puck, came when I won a puck battle in the corner, peeled away and found Jon Otte, defenseman and award winning producer of "In The Room," with a pass through a defender dressed in orange.
Otte got a hold of the puck, ripped a wrister from the slot, but couldn't get me a pretty assist. We did get a "flow bros" selfie after the game, though ... so not all was lost in our chemistry:
Honestly, most of the photos I took were selfies. Because this was a truly unbelievable experience and I wanted to remember it. Don't think I've taken many selfies in hockey gear before, though ...
But, when Head Coach Dan Potash tells you as you're tying your skates with your hair in your eyes, "Sunday, I don't ever want to see you wearing a hat again. Seriously," you take a photo with your coach on the bench during warmups instead of ... you know ... warming up:
Honestly, just a completely awesome experience I'll cherish and remember for the rest of my life, as I know Bradford, Seidling, Getzoff, etc. will as well. Especially when we get the "team photo" and some game images shot by a Getty photographer during the game.
As we all retreated back to the "Interview Room" in The Linc, everyone involved -- even the losing Philly players -- spoke to what an amazing experience it was. And then we were accused of practicing together as a team, which just speaks to how awesome this team really was.
The highlight, though? Well, that may have very well been when we all received our jerseys, lettered and numbered on the authentic Stadium Series practice sweaters, pulled on our Pittsburgh Penguins shells over our pants, and continued to get dressed in the Interview Room while Claude Giroux was giving his post-practice interview at the podium.
Honestly can't imagine what was going through his mind while watching this unfold.
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