PensFan7187 (13.23) @Cr0sby you will never believe who I saw at the zoo today [photo of Sid and Geno, with Sophie strapped to his chest, smiling for the camera next to a tiger]
Cr0sby (14.19) @PensFan7187 you are kidding!! How cool!! Were they having fun?
PensFan7187 (14.37) @Cr0sby Geno said they’d promised Sophie a day out for sleeping well. Sidney laughed and said the zoo was really for Geno.
Cr0sby (15.13) @PensFan7187 I can’t believe you spoke to them!! They sound like they were having fun.
PensFan7187 (15.27) @Cr0sby It was my youngest not me! She just walked up to Geno and asked why he was carrying Sophie instead of her being with her dad and could she touch her. I thought I was going to die of shame (I know she can’t help the blunt but it was Crosby and Malkin!!)
Cr0sby (15.53) @PensFan7187 They’re smiling in the picture so I guess they weren’t too offended ;)
PensFan7187 (15.59) @Cr0sby They didn’t seem bothered at all, they’re probably used to kids saying things and I tried to explain her problem but Geno just crouched down to her level so she could see the baby properly and said ‘Sophie like me better when out, I taller.’
Cr0sby (16.06) @PensFan7187 OMG :D what did Sid say to that? I wish I was still a kid and could get away with talking to people rather than just being embarrassed!
PensFan7187 (16.14) @Cr0sby He rolled his eyes and laughed like he’d heard it all before and patted Geno’s head. Then he asked her what she was hoping to see at the zoo and she told him all about the Penguins she’d just seen. She talked for ages!! They didn’t seem to mind though; they were so lovely to her!
Cr0sby (16.40) @PensFan7187 I’m so pleased for her, and you!! Thanks for sharing the picture with me :)
Flower was hosting a barbecue for the team, time to relax, talk, play computer games and lie around the house in a way they never really found time for while the season was in full swing, while the wives, girlfriends and children were going to the Kunitz house for an afternoon of preparations not that Sid knew what that meant or even knew that the gathering included Sophie until V turned up at the door an hour before they were due to leave for the barbecue expecting to take her with her.
“Makes sense” Geno said through gritted teeth, picking Sophie up from where she was led on the floor and holding her close, clearly as unhappy at being parted from her as Sid was, “They say children and she child.”
“But” Sid stuttered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his hoody and hunching his shoulders, “She’s only little, I just thought she’d come with us.” It was little more than a whisper by the time he’d finished speaking and V moved slowly towards him, catching his eye and raising her arms until he nodded and she wrapped them around his waist cuddle into his chest.
“I won’t take her if you don’t want me to,” she kept hold of Sid but looked at Geno, clearly addressing him too, “but it’s only for a few hours, we have things for her to do, the older kids are looking forward to seeing her and it would probably be good for you both to have a few hours where you weren’t responsible for anyone but yourselves, give you time to properly relax and have fun. I won’t take her though, not if you don’t want me to.”
Sid looked at Geno who was stood in their living room with Sophie in his arms and waited until he smiled at him just a little and nodded his head in agreement and then he stepped out of V’s embrace and walked towards them. “Okay then, it looks like you’re going on an adventure Soph, what do you think you need?”
Sophie blew bubbles and then giggled when Geno poked at her ribs, “I’m get clothes, you get nappies.”
“Okay,” Sid agreed, “There’s milk in the fridge,” he spoke to V who headed that way while he collected wipes and nappies from the living room, putting them in the top of the changing bag that was on the dining table just as Geno arrived with the clothes which he slipped into the bag as well.
“Let’s get you in your car seat beautiful,” Sid took Sophie from Geno, kissing her head, nose and cheeks as he grinned at her, “Be good for Auntie V ok, she has plans for you while Daddy and Uncle G get some rest.”
“You be back soon princess,” Geno leant in and kissed her before they both stepped back, grasping at each other’s hands in need of reassurance, and let V pick her up and carry her out to her car.
To Flower: Geno sick, we not come.
Flower: he is is he? ;) Sorry that he’s too sick to make it out here, watch out though because I think he’s rubbing off on you!
To Flower: Need long shower back to bed feel better! He not rub off!
Flower: Maybe during your shower ;) Look after each other, don’t want you catching anything
To Flower: I’m not catch, fit for hockey tomorrow :)
Flower: Remember coach said no exercise :D I’ll remind Sid about using protection when I see him!
To Flower: What the fuck Flower! You’re not my dad!!
Flower: I meant password protection but thanks for confirming Geno stole your phone ;) enjoy your afternoon!
To Flower: I hate you!!
Flower: No you don’t :D
To Flower: I’m hate you! and I’m not steal, one phone for both now, coach say :D
Flower: The amount of time you’re both spending talking to me instead of each other suggests neither of you hate me ;)
To Flower: :P
“When we won the cup I couldn’t believe it,” Sid whispered, “I was so young and Papa wasn’t much older, and I thought that that was the best it was going to get, the most amazing thing that would ever happen.” He was sat in the almost dark, leaning against the headboard with Sophie in his arms drinking her milk while Geno breathed softly, curled up asleep against his thigh. “We partied for days, fell asleep all over each other, cuddled the cup and I thought that was the best I was ever going to feel.” He dropped his volume even lower, “I thought I’d have to wait until we won the cup again, if we ever did, before Papa would curl up in bed with me again.”
Geno shuffled around next to him, snuffling in his sleep as he threw his arm across his thighs and Sid stopped talking to Sophie, holding his breath until he was sure Geno had settled back to sleep, his breathing calming again and his arm feeling heavy.
“I nearly gave up hockey you know, when my head wouldn’t fix. Papa used to come and see me, make me laugh, tell me stories with funny voices like he does for you. I thought if I gave up we might be able to be together but Papa just wanted me back on the ice with him and I’m glad he got me there.”
He took the bottle from Sophie’s mouth and sat her up, ducking his head to kiss her gently as he held her close and rubbed her back until she burped.
“Now I know something really important though Soph,” he lifted her to his shoulder, snuggling her under his chin and patting her gently as he tried to lull her back to sleep, “Now I know that Papa will come home tomorrow and curl up in my arms, with you in his, even if there’s no chance of the cup and that beats the feeling of winning it anyway.”
Sophie shuffled, wiping her nose on his chest, and he kissed her head and moved his leg to dislodge Geno’s arm so that he could turn just enough to lie her down in the crib beside the bed. “Daddy and Papa love you baby girl, more than anything.” He laid himself down, hand resting on Sophie’s chest as her breathing and heartrate settled and she slipped into the soft noises of sleep and once she was properly asleep he rolled over, curling in against Geno’s side, tucking himself under the arm that had been slung across his legs and breathed deeply, relaxing as he drifted towards sleep.
“You call me Papa,” Geno whispered against his temple and then kissed him softly when Sid tensed reflexively, “is nice” he breathed out, his arm and body becoming heavier as he slipped back into sleep and Sid smiled against his chest, tucking himself in tighter and settling in, trying not to think about game four.
PensNews (23.35) [video attached] The traditional handshakes are exchanged and the challenge for the Stanley cup is over for another year.
PensFan7187 (23.45) Proud of my Penguins, what a season, sad not to get the cup but you can’t win it every year!
Cr0sby (23.45) What a season, so proud of my team. Enjoy your summer boys, you’ve earned it!
Cr0sby (23.47) @PensFan7187 thank you for enjoying this season with me :D don’t be a stranger until training camp please.
PensFan7187 (23.52) @Cr0sby It’s been fun! You either :) one day we’ll have to make to an actual game together :D
Cr0sby (23.55) That would be awesome!!!!!!
He’d lost in the playoffs before, they all had, more times than they’d won, of course the feeling of winning had served to make the losing even harder to take, but this year felt different, not because it hurt any less, not because the end of season exhaustion swept in with any less force than normal and not because it would give him more time to spend with his daughter as one reporter suggested in what he assumed was supposed to be a consoling way in the post-match press conference, but because this time he couldn’t walk away and hide, he couldn’t lock the door and curl up in his den with the food he never let himself eat, the blankets he liked to cocoon himself in when the world outside got a little too much for him and the television on which copies of his ten favourite feel good movies were stored, this time there was Sophie and more annoyingly right now there was Geno.
“Will you just stop?!” Sid shouted, “I’ve had enough.”
“Just want know if want tea.” Geno replied in a whisper, “No need shout, wake Sophie.”
“I don’t want tea, I don’t want juice, I don’t want water,” Sid shouted, rocking backwards and forwards and side to side on his feet, “I don’t want a sandwich or fruit, I don’t want anything!”
“Okay,” Geno nodded, shoulders slumped and looking at his feet, “I’m understand.” He turned around and disappeared down the hall and up the stairs and Sid dropped into a crouch in the middle of the room, dropping his head between his knees and pulling at his hair with his fists as he bit hard at his lip and tried to get hold of the anger that was running though him, entirely without his control.
He tried to focus, to find the thorn, the actual thing that was causing his anger to be so out of control but he just couldn’t find it and this all made no sense given how lovely it had been not to come home alone last night.
The press had been the press, they had a job to do and Sid had known that since well before he had his front yard taken over by them so that they could watch him watch Bettman open some envelopes but it didn’t mean that he had to like answering the questions, or more that he had to like watching his team mates try to answer their questions just after such a huge lose, but he’d dealt with it as well as he could.
Press over he’d showered, changed back into his suit, collected Sophie from his mum without a word and walked out to his car, clicking the car seat into its base while Geno stowed their bags in the back and then they’d driven home in silence, moved Sophie carefully from her seat to the bed, Penguins shirt still on her back, changed quickly into their sleep shorts and then crawled in next to her, Geno curled around her, her tiny foot enveloped in his huge hand and Sid tucked up, warm against his back, arm wrapped around his waist, just as he’d talked to Sophie about the night before, and breathing him in as he slipped quickly towards sleep.
They’d slept for hours, five straight hours, something Sophie had never managed before and it had felt okay, like everything was going to be fine but now, only a couple of hours after waking, he wanted to scream and shout at Geno and even the thought of waking Sophie hadn’t been enough to stop him.
He’d lost the feeling in his feet, gone right through the pins and needles and on to that phase when you’re not quite sure that the limbs are still there, by the time Geno reappeared, Sophie in his arms, and dropped a piece of paper on the small table by the door before he turned around and disappeared again, the front door opening and closing quickly and shocking Sid into movement.
“Geno!” he shouted as he pushed up to his feet and then collapsed against the couch as his legs protested at the blood rushing back to them. “Geno!” He gasped again and stumbled to reach his phone, hitting Geno’s number and putting the phone to his ear as it rang once and then was sent to voicemail.
Pulling the phone away from his ear he jabbed at it until it was calling Geno’s number again but he threw it onto the couch cushion with enough force to make it bounce onto the floor when he was sent to voicemail again and he shouted at the empty room, angry tears starting to fall from his eyes as his legs finally regained their feeling and stability and he scrambled for his phone, hitting the first number on his speed dial and holding the phone to his ear, his hands trembling.
The phone rang three times and as soon as the call connected he started talking, “He’s gone, walked out, taken Sophie!”
“Don’t shout at me Sid,”
“He’s taken her Jack, I shouted and woke her and he took her.”
“Was he angry?” Jack asked gently, “Was he shouting too or was it just you?”
“I wasn’t angry, it wasn’t like that, I’m just…”
“You’re just sad, the season’s over and you need some quiet time,” Jack’s voice was gentle and Sid felt himself calming down, the tension in him easing just a little. “You’ve always needed time when it’s all done for the year, time not to be Captain reliable, holding it all together.”
“I don’t need a break from Sophie, she’s mine, he’s taken her.”
“You can’t have it both ways Sid.”
“What! I’m not!”
“Yeah you are,” Jack interrupted, “Sophie’s Geno’s daughter when you want him to feel part of the family but yours and he has no right when you want it that way.”
“That’s not … I didn’t … I don’t …”Sid stammered as he moved around the couch, leaning heavily on it before he collapsed into the seat, dropping his head into his hands, “I know he can take her, I know he’s her Papa but he’s gone, they’ve gone and left me.” He tried to catch the sob as it escaped him but Jack didn’t miss it.
“Not left you just gone out Sid, there’s a difference I promise.”
“He won’t answer the phone, I tried him first, before you.” feeling calmer and thinking a little more clearly he pushed up to his feet and moved across the room to pick up the piece of paper Geno had left on the table and then shuffled back to his seat, “He left a note.”
“Have you read it?” Jack huffed out a laugh which he was clearly trying to cover but failing, “Did you read it before you panicked?”
“No,” he whispered into the phone and resisted the urge to tell Jack how much he wished they’d arranged for him to arrive today rather than next week even if it would have felt like tempting fate in regard to game four.
“Why don’t you read it now, then we know what we’re dealing with.”
His fingers trembled as he took three attempts before he got the paper unfolded.
I wake when you shout but that ok because I wake you lots when I cry, is hard when you not know words. You good Daddy, good Hockey and Papa say you good Captain but I’m know sometimes hard for you. Papa say you sometimes need not be Captain, need not be player just need be you and I think he right.
So I’m take Papa out for day, we bring dinner home at eight, I’m make sure buy dessert.
Papa help me sort you den, ice cream in freezer, jelly babies on table, juice in fridge, blankets on couch.
I love you Daddy, Papa love you too, we see you for dinner.
Love Sophie xxx
Ps. Papa go out tomorrow, I’m give you cuddles.
Sid read the words through in his head a couple of times before he swallowed and tried to read the note to Jack, his voice full of emotion as tears slid from his eyes.
“You need to stop Geno from teaching Soph English you know, it sounds like her second language,” Jack laughed and Sid joined him, coughing and swallowing around his emotions, “But seriously Dude, you should have read that ten minutes ago and saved yourself a phone call.”
“Yeah,” Sid agreed, nodding to himself, “I should have just told him this morning that I needed space today shouldn’t I?”
“Probably” Jack agreed.
“We never see each other the day after we go out, no one ever comes over they just leave me alone until clear-out day but he lives here and it was so nice not to be alone when I went to bed last night, I thought this was better until suddenly I was shouting at him.”
“He knows you Sid, he loves you, go do as your daughter tells you too, take the time you need and then curl up with them both tonight and remember that asking for what you need is ok, people who love you will give you space if you ask for it and still come back.”
“Thanks Jack,” Sid smiled into the phone even though Jack couldn’t see him, “I can’t wait to see you next week, bring your muscles ok?”
“My muscles and my big truck, Geno’s already ordered them,” Jack laughed and Sid joined him, “Can’t wait to see you,”
Sid smiled as he stood up and slipped his phone into his pocket before making his way down the hall to his den where he found not only his pile of blankets on the couch but also Sophie’s favourite cuddly toy, a bright yellow giraffe that they’d bought for her at the zoo, and he sat down on the couch, wrapping himself in the blankets, the giraffe tucked under his chin, before he flicked on the TV and tore the jelly babies packet open with his teeth, settling in for a few hours of peace.
Pack’n’PlayPens (09.33) Locker room clear out day is always a strange one [wide angle photo of locker room, sticks and bags in every stall]
Pack’n’PlayPens (09.41) Some guys take just what they need [Photo of Kunitz bag and three sticks]
Pack’n’PlayPens (09.43) Others take everything [Photo of Orpik’s stall, piled with bags, skates and sticks]
Pack’n’PlayPens (09.47) But no one needs as big a truck as Crosby and Malkin :D [Photo of a large pile of holdalls, sticks and skates topped with a bouncy chair, bottles, nappies, books and baby toys]
Pack’n’PlayPens (12.53) And that’s us done for the year, see you all for training camp :D Jake. [Photo of empty locker room]
Cr0sby (13.05) @Pack’n’PlayPens Thank you for all the behind the scenes pictures this season, enjoy your summer :D