(Image: Associated Press)

With hockey finally under way again, I can’t help but remember just how sloppy the first few weeks of practices usually are. I originally wrote the post below “Ode to a Drill-Wrecker” for Hockey Primetime.com, a site you’ll likely enjoy checking out. There’s that one guy on every team…

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The Drill-Wrecker will always have a special place in my heart, now that he no longer possesses the ability to ruin my legs and lungs via bag skate.

Looking back, I can’t help but laugh.

He starts the drill in the wrong direction.  He passes to the wrong line.  His head snaps around looking for some information, some advice, some help.  Quite simply: he’s lost.

Yet, the most endearing quality of the Drill-Wrecker is his inability to not recognize he’s about to destroy the drill, like a puppy about to bite a porcupine.  He drifts to the front of the line, while his teammates who are wise enough to recognize that they’re uncertain of the drill slide to the back.

He sees something shiny in the stands, and yet more teammates slide behind him.  They know if they’re not positive about the drill that they shouldn’t do it until they see someone have a go at it first.  They wrongly assume that those who understand will naturally step to the front…right?

But lo, our drill-wrecker still stares on, his mind an ADD-cluttered mess of slide whistles, fireworks and applesauce.

And before you know it, TWEET, the drill begins, snapping him back to reality where he immediately notices…Whoa, I’m up.

Maybe it’s one of those easy drills that’ll sort itself out once I start, he MUST think.  Maybe if I just take a few strides and….

TWEET!

The whistle.  Start over.

What did I do wrong?,  I imagine he ponders.

Well, if that direction didn’t work, what if I try….

TWEET!

Fuck.

He sets the coach on edge with his ignorance.  He compounds not listening with being a slow learner with being dumb enough to attempt a drill he doesn’t get.  He might be a great guy, but he almost certainly lacks any semblance of self-awareness.

Now the whole team’s in trouble.  If someone else screws this simple drill up, it could be bag skate time and the group can sense it.  Everybody starts gripping their stick just a liiiiittttle too tight and DW, our hero, gets stuffed to the back of the line.

A few borderline plays and just-barely executed rotations through later, and Sir Wreckadrill has once again been pushed to the front of the line.  Just then, he snaps to attention, and you can see the panic:

Holy crap, I’m back at the front and I STILL don’t get it.

The team panics with him, and within seconds, the whole line is trying to play coach to this poor, polluted mind.

Ah, but like the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth.  Too much advice.  Too many voices.  And too late.

Armed with what little information he gleaned from the helpers in line, he takes off in the right direction.  He passes it to the right line.  And everyone breathes a sigh of relief…. until he misses phase two of the drill.

TWEET! “EVERYBODY ON THE LINE”, coach yells.

And the abuse rains down on Mark Wrecky.

Like a beaten puppy with his tail between his legs, the drill-wrecker starts to do what he does best:  “Blue-line, back! Red-line, back! Far blue, back! Far-end, back!”

And it should be what he does best.  He’s been doing it his whole life.