Sutton, Bergeron, and NYI Training CampShareThis
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.