Tim Thomas 2

NHL training camp starts today! We’re finally here! I’m pretty pumped.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what training camp consists of, I’ll take you on a quick tour:

Training camp is essentially like that time you brought home a second puppy or kitten and your original pet warily sniffs it out, times thirty. Everyone is sizing everyone else up, trying to figure out who everyone is, who matters, and who’s bound to get chopped the second the brass deems it time.

There’s a little splash of day one of a new high school year mixed in too, where players who’ve played on the team together before chat and laugh, and those who are new to the group feel like, somehow, everyone knows everyone except them.

There are some pretty basic steps: you get the same physical your average person gets (or is supposed to get) every year, only with a much heavier emphasis on range of motion and general orthopaedic concerns. They take your height and weight in another room, which sounds like a rote, quick process unless you understand that guys are generally trying to manipulate their weight based on the desires of the team they’re trying to make, so light guys are chugging water and wearing lead underwear (not really), and heavier guys have skipped breakfast and liquid that day.

You will eventually get to the following steps, with the order depending on which camp you attend:

* Fitness testing, the most dreaded thing of all, which usually includes:

- some form of VO2 testing (treadmill or bike)

- some form of pushups and/or pullups to a metronome

- timed sprints, timed agility course, timed ab planks on swiss balls

-  Much more, but those are the basics

* Some battle-heavy practices, offensive rushes and conditioning

* Skating test (endurance)

And then come the coaches’ personal touches. It takes a few days to get to playing games, which is always extremely welcome.

That’s one thing about the hockey season: the ratio of time practicing to time playing starts way skewed in favour of practice time, and gradually bleeds into playoffs, where the majority of practices are optional. And nobody likes practicing, so this is the least fun part of the year, especially given the fact that you’re constanly being evaluated and don’t feel comfortable enough to exhale.

One to some tidbits!


Timmy Thom-Thoms and the curious case of the Florida Pathers

That’s my best attempt at a Hardy Boys title. Anyway, Tim Thomas has apparently been invited to tend goal in Florida, and none other than Bob McKenzie has backed that up. No official word on if he’ll take them up on that or not.

It’s going to be an interesting pre-season for Tim Thomas, given that the best chances for him to be a starter (which his agent is claiming is what he wants) is for teams that don’t look to be “good” per se, like Florida and the Calgary Flames. The Islanders would be another longshot, but needless to say, Thomas won’t be suiting up with any real Cup contender any time soon.

Well technically he won’t be with anyone anytime “soon”:

Also on the “fun with Florida” front: Alan Muir wonders if they’d give Rick DiPietro a shot.


I don’t remember this many PTOs being given out to proven players in the past

“Professional Try-Outs” to proven NHLers are still a little bit odd to me. If you know a guy is an NHLer, and you’ve seen him play in the league before, you generally know what you’re getting, and know if you have room or not. I get it for quite-a-bit older players, ala Bill Guerin in Philadelphia a few years ago, but look at some of these names:

* Mason Raymond to Toronto
Brad Boyes to Florida
* Ian White to Winnipeg
* Gilbert Brule to Phoenix
* Radek Dvorak to Carolina
* Guillaume Latendresse to Phoenix
* David Steckel to Minnesota
* Anthony Stewart to San Jose
* Mathieu Garon to Los Angeles

It makes sense from the team perspective – why promise anything if you don’t have to, you might as well just bring the guy in and double-check that you’ve made the right decision – it’s just an odd concept from a player’s standpoint, especially if you’re a guy fighting for a spot on the team.

“Okay, there’s X spots available, I’m fighting for one – or so you’ve told me – and you’ve brought in David Steckel for the same position. The hell, man?”


 Speaking of player location, remember the off-season?

A refresher on some bigger names in new places:

* Daniel Alfredsson is in Detroit
* Jaromir Jagr and Corey Schneider are in New Jersey
* Jonathan Bernier, Dave Clarkson and Dave Bolland are in Toronto
* Bobby Ryan is in Ottawa
* Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverly and Shawn Horcoff are in Dallas
* Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson are in Boston
* Scott Gomez is in Florida
* David Perron is in Edmonton
* Devin Setoguchi and Michal Frolik are in Winnipeg
* Mark Streit is in Philly
* Mike Ribiero is in Phoenix

So y’know… rosters got pretty shaken up this summer. Combine that with the new divisions for this season and we’re looking at a whoooooolllle neeeeewww woooooooorrrrrrrrllllddddd……..

Obviously there has been other moves, feel free to add those in the comments below.


John Tortorella has banned all his players from using Twitter, including Luongo

This decision right here, boy, is that going to help the Canucks win a lot of games. I mean, this is going to make a huge difference. Also, everyone revert to churning your butter by hand. 

It’s a meaningless motion from an “old school guy” trying to protect against the occasional media glitch, while ignoring the fact that Twitter can do a lot of good (on top of serving as a personal news aggregator for guys who like to read). Dallas Eakins is taking the complete opposite view on this.


Sergei Bobrovsky acknowledges choosing NHL over KHL wasn’t easy

He basically noted that for a 24-year old goaltender the NHL is the best personal career choice. That reads to me like “I can develop playing some of the best hockey in the world here while greatly upping my KHL worth by adding NHL experience,” but I can tend to be a bit cynical.

He weighed in on Kovalchuk leaving:

“To be honest, yeah (I was surprised),” he said. “But St. Petersburg, it’s a great place to play hockey. It is one of the best, (most) beautiful cities in the world I think. The people are so nice and they do for hockey everything.

It’s definitely worth a read. It makes it real easy to understand why the KHL is an appealing option for Russian hockey talent.


Here we go hockey fans! The 2013-14 season is upon us.