Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/12/06 at 07:53 AM ET
Today, every N.H.L. arena could pass for a workshop. Two hours before game time, stations are set up outside each locker room with all the necessary equipment — hacksaws, blowtorches, heat guns, belt sanders. As players shape their sticks, shortening shafts and curving blades, it is a wonder they do not injure themselves. Wood chips fly. Paint fumes fill the air. Everyone gets fired up. Even though most modern sticks are made of graphite instead of wood, and manufacturers design the sticks to players' specifications, no one seems willing to put away the sandpaper and the glue. The ritual stick work is as therapeutic as a pregame massage, as predictable as the morning skate. Even a millionaire athlete apparently needs to get his hands dirty in manual labor.more
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