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Sutton, Bergeron, and NYI Training Camp



Today, I learned that my beliked hometown Phoenix Coyotes really, really didn’t appreciate the pre-season article I wrote on them.  And in turn, they really, really don’t appreciate me.

I’ll admit, today’s blog is late because of frustration.  This is the fourth time I’ve started today’s entry, and I’ve decided to just keep it light as usual.  I’m going to do my best to win my way back into their good graces.  It’s probably worth mentioning that the facilities in Glendale are spectacular, the Westgate shopping area is scintillating, the Coyotes are Cup-contenders and I’m heading out to buy a jersey.  :)

And that Shane Doan is super handsome!


Here’s a fun story:

I’m trying out for the New York Islanders in Moncton, New Brunswick.  It’s our first intrasquad game, and my team is pretty decent.  I’m on a line with Jason Gregoire (who I suspect Isles fans will know in a matter of years) and Tyler Haskins, a potential grinder-with-skill that could easily replace, say, Sean Bergenheim in a matter of…. hours.

Early in the game, the puck gets dumped in deep, and I get on my horse to make sure I finish my check.  Head up, I notice that the defenseman going back on the puck is 6’6″ Andy Sutton, who has the common sense to move the puck quickly and effeciently, as a good NHL d-man should do.

Being the hustle-pot tryout kid that I was, I continued on to finish my check a few Mississippis later than necessary, and bounced off Sutton like someone threw a rock at a trampoline.

I head back to back-check, and their team dumps it in.

As the right winger, I hustle back to my wall to get my skates below the hash-marks, open up and provide an option for my defenseman (and friend and future roomate) Jordy Hart who has solid possession of the puck behind our net.





We’re moving up the ice, him weighing his options like he’s picking which door the prize is behind, getting way too far up the ice.

By the blueline, he decides I get the prize.

The prize happens to be Andy Sutton’s shoulder, moving at a speed of WHOCARESITSANDYSUTTON (who, total random sidebar, treated the rookies like dogmeat).

They whistled the play down and gave Sutton a charging penalty, while I tried to stay away from the light.  Once I pulled my visor up from around my chin, our coach asked if I could go with my line on the next shift.  As a Canadian kid who played for a hockey Hitler in junior, I knew the answer was yes, regardless of truth.

When I jumped the boards a tad weak-kneed, I was lucky the play was in the offensive zone.  I headed straight for the net.  As I got out there, the puck was being cycled up from the corner to Marc-Andre Bergeron, he of the unnaturally hard slapshot.  I opened up and faced him to screen the goalie as I got to the crease.

Between my glove and my elbow pad, I helped their goalie by saving the puck with my wrist.  The puck then dropped at my feet, where I grabbed it, then blindly spun and fired.  And scored.

Half-concussed, and with what felt like a complete absence of sensation in my right arm (but lots in my wrist), I had scored a goal on my second shift of NHL training camp competitive play, complete with the knowledge that you should never hit Andy Sutton, and never try to screen a MA Bergeron howitzer. 

And that it’s probably time I think about becoming a writer.


18 Responses to “Sutton, Bergeron, and NYI Training Camp”
  1. Sioux in the Cities says:

    Jason Gregoire is the man.

  2. Char says:

    “like he’s picking which door the prize is behind.” LOL.

    Shane Doane IS super handsome! Well, cute anyway. ;-)

  3. Will77 says:

    Look at it this way JT, at least it wasn’t Bergerons slap shot that got you in the jaw. When I go to the coliseum, I get seats in the section behind the net the Isles shoot at twice. Since he probably hit the net only 20% of the time, I heard many a Bergeron slap shot hit the glass and man, it just sounded different from everyone elses.

    Btw, Larry Brooks reporting Isles will throw their hat in for Kovalchuk… thoughts?

  4. Sherry says:

    Don’t capitulate to those whinin’ Yotes – (keep) call(ing) it like you see it and keep your head up.

  5. ms.conduct says:

    Do I need to start a Free Bourney campaign? Just say the word and I’m ON it.

    Great story there.

    I saw Andy Sutton play for the first time in that pre-season game in KC this year and, not having heard of him (he was in MN before my time), assumed he was an AHLer tough guy based on his size and apparent skill level and speed.

    Oops. Got that wrong. Was shocked to learn that not only was he a full time NHLer, but he has been for many years. Never woulda guessed from watching him. In fact I remember thinking, “Man, that Sutton guy isn’t making this team.”

  6. mikey says:

    man lol at that … nice heads up play to drop the puck xcatly where u need it to be to knock one in. i love how u write … i can feel my head hurtin now n that feelin in ur legs when u think if u jump onto the ice ur gonna collaps

  7. NickyR says:

    As I recall, Andy Sutton is sort of a jerk, which would no doubt explain him treating the rookies like dogmeat. When you get sent home from a team captained by “Mr Teddy Bear” Owen Nolan for having an “attitude problem”, you are NOT well liked in the dressing room.

  8. minnesotagirl71 says:

    The Shane Doan comment might have creeped them out a little bit….

    Something to think about/no response required: Do you have anything different to say about the Coyotes now? Has any hope been injected into the situation?

  9. karlooch says:

    In a way I kinda dig the Coyotes ‘pack mentality’ where its them against the world. Every hockey writer on the planet predicted a disaster season for the Yotes….not just you. All this has made them bond even closer. I still say Gretz was in AZ on a long golf vacation and Tippett showed up with his hard hat on.

  10. vipersfan23 says:

    Hey Justin, just thought i’d drop a line saying this blog is awesome! Was also just wondering if the “hockey Hitler” you refer to, happens to be your former coach in Vernon?

  11. Neil says:

    I personally think it’s less about pack-mentality and more about only giving interviews/access/stories to people who write positive things that make management smile, a pattern that exists in many places outside of hockey and the Coyotes.
    What confuses me though… wasn’t your preseason article about how the Coyotes shouldn’t be considered a failure in AZ because they hadn’t been good enough to warrant significant fan support? In other words, wasn’t the point of your article “It’s not fair to give up now because the team hasn’t been competitive in the West yet”? Not to mention, didn’t Shane Doan come out and say EXACTLY THE SAME THING a few weeks later? Sheesh, talk about shooting the messenger (assuming the messenger isn’t your team’s captain).
    Welcome to the world of journalism! In a way, I guess you just got creamed by Andy Sutton again ;)

  12. AkAcesFan says:

    I expect to see you first in line for Shane Doan bobble head night on Saturday.

  13. A says:

    Pissing people off to the point that they really, really dislike you? You’ve made it. Congrats. Keep it up, kid.

  14. zyllyx says:

    I think I’m not alone when I ask, very politely, for the whole Bourne vs. the Coyotes thing.

    And I have to admit, I ROFLMAO imagining you trying to convince your dead ancestors that you weren’t quite ready for the Big Family Reunion In The Sky after Sutton laid you out. I’m just sad that nobody came to your defense with a stickfight like in “Youngblood.”

  15. Pete L says:

    LMAO over that training camp story. I guess you learned that you don’t need to think out there, just react–not that you could think with the concussion.

    Good move with the writing career. Stinging comments hurt a lot less than a slap shot off the wrist.

  16. Will77 says:

    Ever since that playoff game when the flyers player got utterly rocked (Hartnell I believe) and could barely stand on his feet to make it to the bench and had to be ‘roped in’ by another guys stick, I coined the term “Bambi Legs” for moments like that. If I had any video editing skills whatsoever I’d put something together with that hit and the scene from Bambi where he can’t work his legs for a while

  17. Beer:30 says:

    Do you want to write about the Coyotes or be their friend? You’re either going to have to tell it how you see it and maybe make people mad or write something watered down. I don’t know what sort of politics are involved with what you’ve got going on. Unfortunately life doesn’t come with instructions.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. [...] This next topic is going to be contentious, and I know it. I’m going to throw myself out there as a piñata for all of the Pittsburgh faithful, but it needs to be said. HOLY ANDY SUTTON! Look. I’ve always felt that Sutton is a great player to have on the roster……………….Of the other team, but that hit on Jordan Leopold was spec-freaking-tacular. I feel bad for Leopold, because I truly like him as a player and I hope that he’s going to recover fully from it, but my GOD. I think Sutton may have momentarily detached his brain stem from the rest of his body. Keeping that in mind, the thing I liked most about this hit? IT WAS CLEAN. Yes, Mike Rupp, I’m looking directly at you. I can understand where people can think that Sutton got his elbow up, but I stand by my assertion that it was a clean hit. His elbow, while it may have been high, never actually made contact with Leopold. This was entirely a case of Jordan just having his head down at the wrong time and getting hit by a lumbering defenseman with an entire zone’s worth of built up speed heading at him. And, if you want a firsthand account by an expert of exactly how that feels, check this out. [...]

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