this week: you have to stay patient, especially with groins

IMG_1995In Boston the owner of the Bruins said, “We hurt the game of hockey.” Also, confided Jeremy Jacobs, the Stanley Cup is only on loan until his team wins it back.

“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. Continue reading

this week: will they ever find bigfoot?

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Sidney Crosby said the headaches are behind him.

Having gone from working in a windshield factory to winning the Stanley Cup in just 11 years, the new coach in Calgary, Bob Hartley, said he has no fear. “For me, I never lose. I just don’t always win.”

Asked how his team would start the new season, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette endorsed going out and ripping the door off its hinges over just feeling around.

In Calgary, Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla discussed his groin. “I didn’t feel it,” he said after practice mid-week, “and it felt way better than last week. Last week, it didn’t feel very good at all.”

A Maclean’s columnist called Edmonton defenceman Ryan Whitney’s feet “God-botched.” Whitney said he was proud to still be in the NHL, even if he didn’t have what he once had. He said his dad recently told him that even on one foot he could move the puck, because he’d always been able to do that, like Larry Murphy.

Among Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul’s insights from playing for Avtomobilist in the KHL during the lockout: Russian women are absolutely gorgeous; Russian players shake hands every morning in the dressing room; people speaking Russian always sound like they’re mad, even when they’re happy.

In New Jersey, Ilya Kovalchuk laughed when asked whether Vladimir Putin had offered him lots of money to remain in Russia. “That’s not true,” he said.

Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ new captain, gave Scotts Hartnell and Laughton a beating at Scrabble, #gotbeatbyafrenchie.

Chris Kelly of the Boston Bruins reported that when you’re walking around the French part of Switzerland and you don’t know the language, it gets kind of lonely.

Bad luck injured Montreal centre Tomas Plekanec: in the Czech Republic he was trying to pass the puck and, quote, instantly felt there was something wrong with his body.

Prospect Louis Leblanc, who wasn’t invited to the Canadiens’ shortened training camp, didn’t hide his disappointment.

Sorry, Joe Sakic, but Colorado centre Matt Duchene said Hejdie has the best shot in Avalanche history. Milan Hejdie. Hejduk.

Anaheim’s 42-year-old winger Teemu Selanne said he usually likes to drive his four kids to hockey practice — “but this year it’s going to be different. I’ve got to rest.”

In Detroit, winger Tomas Holmstrom was called a goalie menace and a folk hero as, about to turn 40, he announced his retirement. Coach Mike Babcock called him a star, the best at what he did: stand in front of the other team’s net on the powerplay. Jonathan Franzen would be taking that job, now. “Mule, net-front, is as good as anybody,” Babcock said. A week earlier, he’d phoned Niklas Lidstrom, 42, in Sweden to wonder whether he wanted to unretire and play the season for the Wings. No. All in all, though, it was a heck of a week, Babcock thought. He’d expected more injuries.

In Lidstrom’s absence, Henrik Zetterberg was named the team’s new captain. He said his dad was proud. Pavel Datsyuk said, “He deserve it. He leader in locker room, out of locker room. It’s hit to target.”

Of Todd Bertuzzi’s groin, Babcock said, “Bert felt some tightness.”

Nashville centreman Mike Fisher wondered whether they’ll ever find Bigfoot, #headscratcher.