To Russia with Love

Home Alone OFB - fun with PhotoshopIt all started with a little email…

Monday evening, April 2: I’m preparing to pick up my fiancee and head over to my friends’ house for Passover. I’m not Jewish, but joining them for the Seder has become a greatly-anticipated annual tradition (and the fact that they’re excellent cooks doesn’t hurt).

As I’m about to leave, I notice a new email… from Caps’ owner Ted Leonsis–ooookay, I think, this is unusual. I open it, read the email, then re-read it. Paraphrasing, Mr. Leonsis asks if anyone from OFB would be interested in going to Moscow to cover the IIHF World Championships next month on behalf of the Capitals, and that I should give him a call.

As in, leave our real jobs for a two-week fantasy assignment. Neo from The Matrix said it best: “Whoa.”

I read the email twice more. Is this a day-late April Fool’s joke? No, it seems genuine. My heartrate skyrockets… “Why yes,” I imagine myself saying much more calmly than would be possible at this point, “yes we would be interested, how kind of you to ask…”

It’s 6:00 p.m. I call pucksandbooks; no answer. Next, I dial Gustafsson:

Gustafsson: “Hello?”
Me: “Holy [expletive] holy [expletive] holy [expletive]!”
Gus: “Okay, what did you break on the site?”
(Note: that is a reasonable assumption on Gustafsson’s part. I’m fairly tech-savvy, but he is undoubtedly the OFB Techie Guru.)
Me: “No, nothing is broken. Let me read you this email I just received from Ted…” I read Gus the email.
Gus: (dead silence)
Gus: “Wow! Umβ€š wow!”
Me: “Exactly! He asked me to call, but I’m already running late for dinner… arrgh! Okay, tell Empty & Pucks about the offer, ask who might be available, and I’ll reply to Ted as soon as I return.”

I drive off to meet my fiancee. She patiently endures my babbling enthusiasm about the email on the way to dinner, and despite my excitement we enjoy a civil and non-hockey-obsessed evening.

After dinner I catch up with the rest of OFB. The four of us soon realize that only two, pucksandbooks and I, have any chance of getting two weeks off work on such short notice, much to Empty Maybe’s and Gustafsson’s chagrin.

That night and Tuesday morning, Ted and I exchange a few emails. Later that day he calls me at work to discuss his vision for the trip, and requests a proposal for our coverage of the event. He’s certain we’d be up to the task — an incredibly flattering conclusion.

Putting all that business school & PMP studying to good use, I draft a proposal based on my and pucks’ availability, offering two alternatives to accommodate Ted’s coverage ideas.

A few hours later, an email reply regarding my proposal arrives from Ted: “Perfect.”

Perfect indeed. Thus ends the first chapter, but much more planning and frantic activity would be needed before this fantasy became a reality.

More to come…

This entry was posted in IIHF, OFB, OFB in Russia, Ted Leonsis, World Championships and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to To Russia with Love

  1. rink raith says:

    Lucky dog(s)

  2. kb says:

    Congrats to you and the OFB boys, OC.

  3. Meza says:

    Lucky SOB’s. Have fun send a postcard

  4. Jen says:

    That is awesome! Congrats!!

  5. Hockey Amor says:

    Congrats on a well-deserved assignment. This is fabuloous news for hockey bloggers everywhere!

  6. b.oor4 says:

    Further proof on why Ted is such a great owner. I envy you guys and can’t wait to hear your glowing reports on all the Caps guys in Moscow.

  7. Strikeman says:

    Get some good pics of OV πŸ™‚

  8. Please say hello to Ovechkin. πŸ™‚
    Hey, if you need to traslate something, send me email or leave a comment. I ou1 for the pic. πŸ™‚

  9. usiel says:

    Wow that is totally sweet! Looking forward to the blog!

  10. GoBucks9 says:

    I bet Vogel is jealous!

  11. sonia says:

    so jealous! can’t wait to read all about it.

  12. maruk says:

    Nice, guys. Let us know how the beer is. And the girls. And the local customs. And oh yeah, I guess the hockey, too.

  13. SpartyCuse says:

    Congrats! Hopefully, though, next year, you will not get such an offer, but rather an offer to sit in the press box @ Verizon for the SC finals!

  14. Bloggers On A Rocket To Russia…

    If all goes according to plan in the next hour, two of the crew from over at On Frozen Blog……

  15. exwhaler says:

    Not lucky at all…you guys have earned this. If Leonsis didn’t think you would do a good job, the offer wouldn’t be there.

  16. You lucky bastards.

  17. Congrats… a great choice. The original material out of OFB is unmatched. Have a great trip guys!

  18. VT Caps Fan says:

    From someone who always has something to say; I’m speechless. YOU GUYS DESERVE IT. We expect pictures of the locals : ) and your extensive hockey coverage — that’s a given.

  19. CapsChick says:

    Wow. I’m amazed and surprised, yet not amazed and surprised at all. You guys are the gold standard not just in hockey blogging but in hockey coverage in general. Good luck, have a blast, then rub it in all our faces when you get back! πŸ™‚

  20. Capsaholic says:

    That’s a category 5!
    Have a suitcase I can fit in?

  21. Volsus says:

    Well deserved! I look forward to the coverage, hopefully we’ll get to see good photos along with the IIHF WC posts — I’d love to see more RoboOvey and Captain Clark decked out in his USA wears with the big C stitched on, and of course some of Backstrom dishing the puck to kindle the fires of my dreams for next season. Enjoy yourselves!

  22. chanuck says:

    Was getting worried that it wouldn’t happen, when I haven’t heard anything from you guys. Looking forward to reading your reports.

  23. Final bit of the article, in case the link to the Caps’ site breaks again:
    Heading into elimination play, three forward lines clearly stand out to the Washington Capital’s team of correspondents:
    Slovakia’s Marian Hossa, Pavol Demetria, and Marion Gaborik
    Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, and Alexander Frolov
    USA’s Eric Cole, Paul Stastny, and Lee Stempniak

    Sergei Gonchar, when asked if this could be the best Team Russia he’s played on, replied, β€œOne of them, yes. The biggest difference is we’re playing [our system] much better, we’re having fun, and we’re playing well as a team. That’s the thing that’s giving us that extra boost of energy.” They certainly showed it tonight.

    Sweden played well early, but Russia dominated as the game progressed. Undefeated Russia looks to be the favorite in the tournament; if they maintain this level of skill and intensity, it’s hard to imagine them falling short of gold.

    Our Three Stars of the Game
    1. Alexey Morozov, Russia
    2. Evgeni Malkin, Russia
    3. Ilya Kovalchuk, Russia

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