Matt & Frans Meet the Fans & Fend off Offers

7th Woman's picture

It was the longest line I had seen for a signing at the mall. I actually couldn’t see the end of it. I was in awe. There were Islanders reps trying to manage the line and keep count. They knew it was going to be difficult, and sadly, not everyone would be able to get an autograph. This was a one hour signing window and people had started to line up at 4 pm for the 6:30 start. Yeah. We don’t have any fans. Right.

I recognized some familiar faces in the line, made small talk and went in the store to annoy, interview Matt Moulson for a few minutes. My interview mission got sidetracked by the new merchandise on the walls and the shelves. “Wow! Look at that!” I kept finding myself saying. “When did they get a Chip & Dip dish?” I asked out loud. There were so many new things I started making mental notes for Christmas.

The Lightpost’s Katrina Doell showed off her skill with a microphone as she assisted the ITV cameraman interview a few fans that had waited in line. I was still shopping.

I bumped into NYIC’s Webb20 and his family. They were 148 on line. But they managed to get everything they wanted autographed and even have something so smart it kills me. They have an autograph book they use as a photo “key” to each player’s signature. Brilliant!

I also bumped into Twitter’s own @dani3boyz with only TWO of her boys. Yes, she was tweeting. When I finally got around to wandering over to Matt, I stood for awhile and watched how fans greeted him and Frans Nielsen. They were excited, they were giddy, and they were EVERYWHERE.

“Give him your stick sweetie.” A mother prodded her 4 year old son. “That you so much, that’s all he wanted.” The boy was wide eyed, but didn’t say a word. “Can I please have an autograph?” A teenage girl and her friend stood at the table. As both team mates began signing for the girls, the braver one blurted out “I want to marry you!” Both men laughed a little, smiled at the girls, handed over the autographs and the line continued. I, however, was cracking up.

After we had such a good time on Monday night on Twitter with our #MightyMattMoulson hashtag, I wanted to find out how much Matt knew about Twitter. I was disappointed. “I know what it is. But I’m not on it, no.”

“Can I be a ring bearer at your wedding?” a fresh faced boy interrupted us. That made Matt laugh. “Hey, thanks bud. But I think I got one. But I’ll let you know if I need one.” Matt was so amused by the young man’s request that I couldn’t keep his attention. “Would you be willing to put it on your head?” He was chuckling over the image. The boy was confused. Matt said it again. “Would you be willing to walk in with it on your head?”

I don’t think the young man was even sure what a ring bearer was supposed to do, but Matt had this mental picture of this kid in a little tux with that satin pillow teetering on his head. The boy nodded “Sure!”

“I’ll have to take that into consideration then.” Another young woman at the table shouted out to him “How did it feel when they didn’t give you the goal for the hat trick?” Obviously, no one really cared about the mother blogger with the tape recorder.

“I didn’t touch it. So.” The table was now crowded with things to sign again. They kept going.

I told Matt about my wager that he will get 20 goals by January. “I need you to help me out, Matt.” He chuckled, “I guess I better pick up the slack.” With 10 goals already, personally, I’m not worried.

Moulson has certainly infused some excitement into this fan base. I told him that he brought a new energy to the team as well as taking some of the attention off his friend John Tavares. “Well, I definitely have a lot of energy. That’s what he says (Tavares). I’m the more outgoing one and I can take the tension sometimes off of him. He said it makes him be a little more outgoing. So it’s good.”

In all honesty, I have to say that is true. I have noticed a considerable difference in the way JT handles himself with the media now. He is a little more relaxed knowing that he isn’t the ONLY focal point on this team. He can actually walk around the rink without having cameras and microphones in his face at all times.

“There’s just been so much stuff written about him and said that he’s very private about things, understandably.“ He said with a tone of concern for his young friend. At twenty-six, Matt can act not only as room mate and friend, but big brother. A role I think he is well suited for.

The first interview I had ever done with Matt, I had asked him how he liked Long Island. At the time, he hadn’t seen much of it other than the hotel. Now, months later, I asked him again. “Matt, so are you enjoying your time on Long Island?” This time, he was emphatic. “Are you kidding me?? Of course, I love it! I love it more day by day. I don’t know how I couldn’t."

All the time I was trying to ask these questions of Matt, Frans Nielsen was taking questions about homeland and quietly signing pucks and photos. He has such a quiet elegance about him; you’d never take him for a hockey player. While Matt could play along with the young women asking to marry him, Frans almost blushed when another young lady yelled out “You’re my favorite, Frans! Will you take a picture with me?” He paused before he walked over to accommodate her. But she got what she wanted; a great photo of her and her favorite hockey player.

It took some assistance getting the two Islanders out of the store when it was close to 8 pm. On my way out I bumped into Season Ticket Holder Larry who had given Kyle Okposo and Marty Biron those wild Islanders caps. It really looks good on Kyle!

While it is a shame that a lot of fans didn’t get into the store for the signing, I am hopeful they understand that this is how it is when the team is winning and we have great young talent. But there will be other signings at both locations. Keep an eye on the website for information.

But check out the store for Christmas shopping. And if anyone would like my wish list, I’ll be happy to send it to you!