I aspired to take tons of photos to post for everyone to see; but it didn't play out that way. I have a select few I will post at some point. Lots of stuff was going on, so this may be all over the place.
So here we go....
Ticket say the event is from 1PM-3PM, "DOORS OPEN: 12:30PM"
They let us in at approximately 12:52PM. I chalk this up to the Devils being the Devils when it comes to these sorta things.
I come up the escalator, and there is food EVERYWHERE. When I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE. There are tables set up along the concourse with different offerings from the various arena vendors. First food I encounter is a mini gyro of some sort. I walk some more and come to a ZEPPOLI table, right next to a Portuguese sausage sandwich table. The FIRE and ICE lounges are packed with food, some of the things I remember are chicken parm sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, flatbread pizzas, a "Pepperoni Sauce" buffalo wing, platters of Calandra's desserts, etc, etc.
Back on the concourse there are cheesesteaks, Premio sausages fried and covered like a mozzarella stick (amazing), and countless other items. I can eat a lot and love trying all the arena food, and I didn't get to many things. Besides, I am eating on the run trying to see as much as possible!
The players start to appear and are doing one of the following:
1. Standing in a fixed place on the arena concourse taking photos with fans
2. Doing a "Mock Press Conference" where fans ask questions
3. A "Q & A" session hosted by Dano himself where he asks some questions, and then has some fans ask questions (in Goal Bar)
4. Assisting some "celebrity chef" type chef cook on the concourse, complete with chef coats. Fans also can ask the players questions during these sessions.
I think a few of the alumni guys like Grant Marshall were messing around with some kids on the main Prudential Center ice.
There was also lots of other more kid-centric stuff going on along the concourse as well; face-painting, coloring, balloon animals, etc. I think some video games too. I have 0 interest in that kinda stuff, so I dismissed it along my travels.
It is impossible to be everywhere at once, so you have to pick and choose what you do/where you go/what your priorities are. No two fans' experiences can be exactly the same at these events.
I go to most of these events every year, so I wasn't necessarily trying to get photos with a lot of guys. I only wanted a few that I did not already have. It is a rather relaxed atmosphere, and you get a few seconds of face time with the guys you wait on line for. Some people get overzealous and try to engage the players in full length conversations. To these people I say, "Keep it moving!!"
If someone is ambitious and scurrying around, you can get photos with a good amount of players. On a side note, this was a "No Autograph Event", but as always I saw people getting things signed. It would have to be a smaller item or something like a jersey but it could be done rather easily. I love getting autographs, but refrain from asking when they say "No Autographs". I do regret not bringing my Scott Clemmensen bobblehead to get signed though. Who knows if I will have another chance at him this season.
Early on I was running through the Fire lounge and quickly downing a chicken parm when I saw Tootoo with a Devils rep standing around with nobody around them. He wasn't necessarily on my want list, but I do like his game and hope he sticks around. I went up to him and got the photo. I felt like a giant next to him.
I ended up attending the Jaromir Jagr & Andy Green Q & A session with Dano. Very cool stuff. Dano asked a couple questions to each guy and then opened it up to fans' questions. Kenny applauded Jagr for his endurance and dedication to the game, being able to perform and compete at his age. Dano said he believes that Jaromir can play until he is 50 if he wants to. I got to ask Jags a question, which ultimately Dano had to translate to him after the fact. This session lasted about 40 minutes or so. Afterwards they posed for photos with everyone who waited. I got a pic of me between Jags and Greene. Pretty cool.
Waited in a very small line to go up to Gomez. I razzed him a bit about his defection across the river, and told him to help bring us Cup #4. Took a picture with him.
Saw Gelinas in one of the lounges, got a photo with him. I told him to keep ripping the cannon slapper. He said he definitely will be.
Came across Cory Schneider in one of the lounges. Got a photo with him, and wished him good luck for the season.
Saw a few minutes of Schneider and Cammalleri doing the chef session. This was hosted by EJ Hradek. Towards the end I got to ask a question. I happened to have on a Rutgers hat, so EJ opened it up with a crack at former Michigan guy Cammalleri for their lost to RU last night. Cammalleri said that Michigan football is in a bad place right now. I asked them who their 5 favorite players to watch were growing up.
Schneider went with:
Ray Bourque, Marty, Luongo, Adam Oates and Cam Neely. (he is a Boston guy!) Cory said he obviously watched goalies because he was one, and that it was a great experience getting to play with both Luongo and Marty.
Cammalleri's list was:
Sakic, Gretzky, Bure and ??? I think one was Mario Lemieux, but I am not positive. Cannot remember the other.
Got a photo with Cammalleri after this session was over. Great event, and I had a great time. I got to stuff my face, make small talk with players, ask a few questions and get some cool photos and see the guys in a more informal setting.
Overall, people can say what they want about the Devils; there is often miscommunication/misinformation regarding events like this and other matters, etc etc. This event was nothing less than spectacular. I can guarantee NO OTHER TEAM IN ALL OF PRO SPORTS has things with player access like this. NONE!
THIS is what makes my Season Tickets worth it to me, even with all of the pricing nonsense and other drama.
THIS is why I will have Seasons for the rest of my life.
Maybe I am a bit overly excited post-event, but I feel really good about this team for this season......
LET'S GO DEVILS!!!