I knew the day would come.
We were riding the team bus from the hotel to the American Airlines Center in Dallas Wednesday morning when I heard it.
I turned my head a bit, but thought I was hearing things. There’s often a lot of chatter at the back of the bus and from wayyyyyy up at the front where I sit, typically row three against the window, you never really know what you’re hearing.
This time I turned around. It was Mason Raymond. He calls me Jarhead - long story. Anyways, he said someone was asking for me at the back of the bus.
Dun, dun, dun.
Me? The back of the bus? ME?!? The first thing that crossed my mind was, thanks to a buddy of mine, that I was in for an old school style junior hockey wedgie. It would be team bonding for the Canucks and it would forever bond my Fruit of the Looms to my twig and berries; even with that in mind, I still stood up and made the long walk to the back of the bus.
No wedgie along the way, no paddles a la Dazed and Confused, just a smiling Dan Hamhuis, sitting with Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler, wanting to have some fun on Twitter while doing a crossword puzzle.
When Hamhuis woke up Wednesday morning he did what he does almost every morning, he grabbed the nearest newspaper, a USA Today on this day, and flipped right to page 6D in the LIFE section hunting for the crossword puzzle. He had a pen ready to go and just like that Interconference Play, a crossword by David J. Kahn, was being attacked.
14 Across - Toilets at Wimbledon? Loos.
17 Across - Popular business plane? Falconeer. (Sorry, Daniel & Henrik who tried to lend a hand, it’s Falconjet…
50 Across - Third rock from the sun? Earth.
30 Down - What singers sing in? Key.
53 Down - Hiker’s path? Trail.
62 Down - Pirate’s drink? Rum.
Everything was going just swimmingly for Hamhuis until he ran into some stumpers. That’s when @VanCanucks tweeted out a photo of the crossword and that’s when more help than we ever thought possible began flying in.
You people are smart.
Hamhuis was determined to get as much of the crossword puzzle done without consulting the Canucks loyal Twitter followers and he did a pretty dang good job. With four answers left to complete the puzzle, Hamhuis, joined by different teammates every minute, said it was up to the followers.
5A, 35A, 26D and 9D were up for grabs and you responded with speedy intelligence.
26 Down was the final hurdle. They’re often apparent…hmmmm… HEIRS!
And just like that, Hamhuis wrote THANKS CANUCKS NATION! on the crossword puzzle and signed it on the bottom.
What began at the back of the bus, carried over into the street, into the arena, into the loading bay, into the bus, into the street and ended in the hotel lobby.
“I think I need a nap now,” Hamhuis laughed as we finally left the lobby.
“That was fun, let’s do that again sometime.”
Sound like a plan?