“There will be rust,” wrote Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker, surveying the NHL’s return from its labour hibernation. “Blood, too, maybe.”
Though across town, Rangers’ coach John Tortorella didn’t want to talk about the lockout. “Let’s just move by that,” he encouraged. One of his centres, Brad Richards, said, “We’ve got to learn some things quickly.”
“You can’t play a perfect game,” said Marty St. Louis in Tampa Bay.
Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec said the team’s 2-1 loss to Toronto was on him. His goaltender, Carey Price: “To get scored on with the first shot of the season isn’t what you want.” When captain of the Canadiens, Brian Gionta, scored his first goal in more than a year, he said it would be nice to give his seven-year-old son a little hug. He said the reason you come to play in a place like Montreal is guys like Jean Béliveau, “a legend of the game who’s been around forever.”
P.K. Subban, meanwhile, waited to sign a contract. “I want to be a big part of them,” he said. “It’s my bloodline.”
In Toronto, Joffrey Lupul said, “It’s where my heart is.’
Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim’s coach, believed that Teemu Selanne might be the best 42-year-old athlete in the world.
When Ed Belfour was the Leafs’ goaltender, he lived in a house with seven bathrooms, unlike one of the incumbents, Ben Scrivens, who heads to work in a lumberjack jacket and a black toque. “I try to keep a low profile,” he said. “Everyone thinks I’m going welding or something.”
“My groin is tight,” Detroit winger Mikael Samuelsson said. “It came along during the game. It’s frustrating; you want to come here, obviously, to perform. I’ve been injured before. You have to stay patient, especially with groins, work on it and come back stronger.”
Samuelsson said he wasn’t sure when he’d skate. Maybe midweek? “It’s too early to say now,” he said. “I pulled it a little bit in training camp. It’s the same groin. Gotta be careful with it and take our time, otherwise, it could be a real long time.
Tyler Seguin, Boston centre, deemed it ridiculous to be paying $4.75 for water at the movies.
“We hunted the puck,” said the St. Louis coach, Ken Hitchcock.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle asked Mikhail Grabovski to play with greater tenacity; he told James van Riemsdyk he’s got to go into the dirty areas.
Asked what he’d said on the ice to a referee after – twice! – Winnipeg centreman high-sticked him on face-offs, Washington’s Mike Ribeiro said it was stuff his kids wouldn’t like too much. Also: are you not allowed to talk to referees anymore about situations that happen in a game? That’s what he felt like. He explained his working theory which involves referees thinking they’re above the players, or power — they feel power. He didn’t know. He thought he needed to just stay focused on his game and let the refs ref the way they want to ref.
Retiring from the Detroit Red Wings on the day before his 40th birthday, Tomas Holmstrom said it all began when his parents got him a pair of red skates. It ended when he had the greatest job in the world. He couldn’t remember how much he and Niklas Lidstrom talked, over the years. He said he would coach his two sons, now, Max (who’s 11) and Isak (9). “I really enjoy it,” Holmstrom told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s so much and so rewarding when you teach the kids, and they do what you tell them to do. The younger one, he’s a little bit like me, crashing the net and skate like me. See what happens.”