Kukla's Korner Hockey
by petshark on 08/22/11 at 08:57 PM ET
An old cowboy once told me that a horse only has so many stops in him. He was referring to sliding stops, something required of high-level western show horses (aka reining horses). Due to the physical strain on the joints and tendons, and the high level of reactive sharpness required, a horse can only do this so many times in its life. How many? You never know, so don’t waste those stops.
Similarly, we only have so many starts in us, though we don’t know how many. Cameron MacIntyre is making a new start right now.
MacIntyre seems a little bit serious in these Captain’s Practices. He has good reason to be a little serious. Last year around this time, he was getting all injured and starting the season on a very bad note. He might feel like he missed a lot of starts that would have him further along in his career than he is now. A habitual optimist would say he was just banking those starts for later, they aren’t lost. At his age, there is really no reason not to be optimistic. I know, I know, the NHL adds years like tv adds pounds but he is still young, no need to panic.
In any case, he was moving a lot faster today, doing everything with more snap than last week. He still isn’t wearing a visor. I find this especially strange since most young players today do wear them, and if you don’t like them you probably need to get used to them. Informal practices like these would be an obvious place to do that.
I imagine he has a perfectly good explanation. Perhaps he has some very special visors on order, but they are manufactured in China, therefore they must be shipped a great distance. Because they are so special, they cannot be shipped by air, as the pressure change might harm them, so they are being shipped by sea. But the ship was taken by pirates and the whole process had to start over. Surely, one ship or another will deliver Cam MacIntyre’s very special visors before training camp. Surely.
Goalie Will was with us again today. He is a very nice fellow, happy to stop and chat with curious spectators. Although the skaters swapped sides at some point during the skate, the ice always seemed titled against Will. He looked much busier than the other goalie.
Owen Nolan looked well today, was also moving faster and shooting with more emphasis than previously. Though Nolan’s situation is very different from MacIntyre’s, they both need to waste a few starts right now. They have more riding on training camp than some do. It isn’t surprising that I’ve seen them both almost every time I’ve gone to Captain’s Practice.
Perhaps the accelerated pace was due to the fact that the number of NHLers present is growing. Dan Boyle was there, as were Brent Burns, Sena Acolatse and Frazer McLaren. Viktor Tikhonov and Brad Stuart also returned.
The audience got a little treat when Mr. Burns decided to try and take the puck from Mr. Boyle. He chased him around a bit of open ice for a few seconds. That ended as it should.
As for Mr. Bourne’s jersey rules, I had to throw those out today. Nolan wore his Minny jersey logo in, but Stuart was wearing his Red Wings jersey logo out. Obviously, all the Sharks wore regular Sharks practice garb, I think one has to make an exception for that anyway. It is their ice. The non-NHLers also followed no pattern I could discern, some wore logos in, others wore them out. I think. So much for the dress code.
As for the other matters mentioned by Justin Bourne, I’ll call them “guidelines” since “rules” just isn’t working, all of those seem to hold true: a whole lot of passing, hardly any slapshots, and very little contact. Aside from minimizing the wear and tear on the players, it’s obvious that this time is for working on those things you just cannot simulate in a gym, or anywhere else but on the ice.
According to some very observant regular spectators, there were some vehicles in the parking lot that belong to Sharks who did not make it as far as the ice this morning. That’s fine, knowing that they are circling is enough to make us feel like the end of the long, dry off-season is in sight.
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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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