Editor’s note: One year ago, Emily Karol gave a newborn RMNB a kick in the pants with her report on the first Casino Night. This year she does the same with the added bonus of Chris Gordon’s photos.
By the way, Emily is looking for a roommate. Available February 1st, she’s got a single bedroom with a private bathroom and a walk-in closet located just 3 miles from Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Email her if you’re interested. Awesome people only, please. Take it away, Emily.
When I learned that the 2nd annual CapsCare Casino Night and Auction would take place on January 9th, I couldn’t be more excited. I attended the first Casino Night and had a blast, but this year’s festivities hit on the birthdays of both Bruce Boudreau and me. Who could pass up the chance to wear a pretty dress, drink some cocktails, and schmooze with fabulous people on your birthday? Not me.
But this evening was very different from the first. I was a year older ,and even though I still attended alone there were many more people I knew and wanted to visit this time around. I purchased the VIP ticket again (hey, it’s for charity!) and was granted access to the coaches and players for a hour before the event really kicked off. I’m guessing the VIP room had fewer people this year; it seemed more casual and the players definitely mingled a lot more. All the guys I met were very sweet. I was surprised at how many of them didn’t know about the blog, Russian Machine Never Breaks. Regardless, they obliged to pose with friendly smiles when I asked, and a few even said they would look up the blog. Ian, Peter, and Neil: I will take my payment in cash or credit.
I made a point in the VIP room to wish Bruce Boudreau a happy birthday and apologize for the dirty looks. That comment provoked a double take from Bruce. I chuckled and said I was the girl in the Mercedes Benz commercials that glared at him during his bird calls and track suit dance. Bruce gave a big smile and said no worries and wished me a happy birthday right back.
The hour flew by quickly, and it was time to venture out into the the main ballroom for food, music, mingling, and gambling. The ballroom was set up completely different from last year, with the food all in the middle by the dance floor. The number of gambling tables doubled. After a quick introduction of the team to the crowd, the party really started. Fans and players scattered throughout the main ballroom and the lobby, which hosted Wii bowling, Rock Band, and the silent auction. I should note that Semyon Varlamov is a sweetheart, staying out in the lobby to sign autographs and take photos with fans for most of the event. Fans were not allowed to take posed photos or ask for autographs in the ballroom, so the fact that Varly stayed in the lobby for most of the time meant a lot to this fan.
I didn’t really partake in any events during the evening. I just wandered around and watched fans interact with their idols. I did see Schultz and Neuvy play on Wii Rock Band, and a year later Mr. Nasty is still intense about that game. Semin and Ovi seemed inseparable, and I loved the wives all hanging out at a poker table together trying to win some chips. The place was really hopping this year.
I’m eager to see what next year’s Casino Night will bring. Two years, two completely different experiences, both enjoyable in their own right. Thanks for reading!
Photos (Click to enlarge)
Nicky Backstrom can manage only a crooked smile after 16 games without a goal.
During a hand of NLHE, Alex Semin checks his wristwatch. It is apparently zebra o’clock.
BBBBBB (Bench boss birthday boy Bruce Boudreau) tells the Slap Shot story for the billionth time.
Karl Alzner: happy and wholesome. Tom Poti: sinisterly counting Karl Alzner’s stack.
Jason Chimera then unhinged his jaw and swallowed this partygoer whole to a smattering of applause.
George McPhee, on the button, raises pot value and then throws in D.J. King’s contract.
Marcus and Nicky pore over an Ikea catalog (out of frame). Billy the Bookshelf FTW.
Tyler Sloan and Jeff Schultz are either throwing dice or watching MoJo and Backy playing Twister.
Okay, Alex Ovechkin’s suit is sharp. No jokes. I need that thing. Fashion bugs: where can I get it?
Ovi’s ongoing Wii Bowling slump has him almost 20 strikes off his 2009-2010 pace.
John Carlson (not yet 21 here ) and Jay Beagle applaud for BBBBBB’s kegstand (not pictured).
The guy from the gaming commission had a stroke when he saw this picture.
Mathieu Perreault sits at the kids table. In the background, Ovi is clearly peeking at someone’s cards.
Alex Ovechkin shuffles his chips. The dealers haaaaaate when you do that, but c’mon: it’s Ovi!
Semyon Varlamov and Alex Semin recite a Plath poem from memory. JK, it was Russian.
Mr. Nasty and Mikey Neuvirth ditch the party for a Rock Band sesh. Band name: Puzzle Crotch.
“So Hendy was like, ‘if you blindside Crosby in the head, I’ll buy you a beer’, and now here we are.”
Beags and Carlson’s persistently cold rolls wiped out the entire table table in two orbits.
DJ Brett Leonhardt simultaneously checks Facebook and updates his iTunes playlist.
BBBBBB’s birthday wish was that this cake was made out of cheeseburgers.
Semyon Varlamov is unamused by BBBBBB’s “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” taunt.
Capitals players and staff with a rousing rendition of Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
It looked like an ordinary birthday high-five until Bruce went for the Top Gun follow-through.
Jason Chimera and Alex Ovechkin laugh at you. Damn, that suit is cool.