Kukla's Korner Hockey
by petshark on 08/20/11 at 01:30 PM ET
I might have found reason to be alarmed that Brent Burns was not present for the 10 am skate on Thursday. I am easily alarmed. I know it isn’t necessary or even good for the guys to be skating every day so far in advance of training camp. To quote Indiana Jones, “it’s not the years, honey…” but I will still get a little nervous when someone I am used to seeing isn’t there. Apparently Burns was “Out golfing at silver creek to support emq! What a course! Thanks for allowing me out here! #four! yfrog.com/gyz2cfzj.” Even for a habitual worry wart, there was no cause for alarm.
Burns was not the only one missing but he is such a big presence that you notice his absence.
Cam MacIntyre was there again, and Owen Nolan and Sena Acolatse too. Jonathan Cheechoo showed up as well. There were two goalies but only eight skaters, so they played 3 on 3 for quite a while, then moved the nets around and played with a short rink.
I didn’t get any more names of non-NHLers, but three have become familiar regulars now. There’s the Guy In Orange, who I made a note of either because he seemed to be playing well or because he was wearing an all-orange jersey, I can’t tell which. There’s Number 13: one of my pre- pre- season practice buddies thinks he’s pretty good. Then there’s a fellow I’ll call Ducky.
We’ve seen Ducky several times and he wears black with a Ducks jersey. Once he was asked why he would wear that at Sharks Ice and he explained that he isn’t worried about getting that jersey wrecked, because, you know, it’s the Ducks.
Even without knowing all the players, the audience did take sides. Ducky was on the dark team with Nolan and Cheechoo, while Number 13 and Guy In Orange were with MacIntyre and Acolatse in white. GIO changed his jersey to make up for a shortage of whites. No matter, he was still GIO. When the white team scored or shot, there were approving murmurs from the crowd. When Ducky scored, not so much. You just can’t come to Sharks Ice in Ducks garb and be wholeheartedly embraced by your audience.
By the time the game turned sideways, (I guess they got tired of playing 3 on 3 with all that ice to cover) it seemed like Ducky was scoring a lot. Maybe I just noticed more because, you know, it’s the Ducks.
One of the other things we’ve been charting is the progress of Nolan’s colors. For the first few practices, he wore all Minny green. Now Canucks blue has made it as far as his pants, but he still wears a Minny jersey.
Cheechoo was wearing an inside out red jersey, which made us wonder if there is some etiquette about to show or not to show the logo?
These are the mysteries we pondered while we watched them skate back and forth.
Justin Bourne had some answers, as he always does, in a piece he wrote about playing shinny with NHLers when you’re not one:
Wear your jersey inside out if you’re in the show
This one is hilariously odd — I never exactly asked why (because obviously I knew why too, duh), but all the NHLers wore their jersey’s logo-in. Most of us scrubs have 15 random jerseys lying around, but for some reason all the pros can find is team apparel. So, to not look like they’re showing off, I think, they wear them inside-out. We’d have the odd pro drop in for a game from somewhere else, not do this, and he’d get killed. “Hey, what team do you play for? Hey, are you in the NHL? Can I have your autograph? Surprised you didn’t wear one with a namebar.”
Well that settles that, though I can’t say everyone was exactly following these rules. Does this mean it is or it isn’t correct to wear your jersey inside out, if you don’t have an NHL contract?
As things wound down, Nolan left the ice first, followed by Cheechoo, each to be greeted by a little crowd of autograph and photo seekers. The rest of the skaters stayed on the ice, stretching, chatting.
It crossed my mind that there was something I’d like to ask about more than logo etiquette and wardrobe choices. I would kind of like to know what’s going through the minds of those other guys—college players, prospects, and other—while they quietly watch the autograph ritual on the other side of the glass.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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