Welcome to the last business day without hockey in 2008. At the end of this weekend, feet will be back in boots, and stay there, inaugurating the 2008-09 hockey season. Many Washington Capitals veterans are already in town and skating out at Kettler, but the team’s rookies report for five days of instruction beginning this Sunday. We’ll even have a Caps-Flyers’ rookie scrimmage to follow in less than a week.
Hockey is back!
We wonder, what was your favorite hockey story of the summer — not news item, such as new contracts for Mike Green or Sergei Fedorov, but perhaps some unexpected pleasantry that helped you bridge the puck-less chasm? We’d love to hear about it in your comments.
This was ours: imagine yourself a 13-year-old hockey camper (a goalie), and fresh off your summer session, back in the room, you’re just about to remove your gear when a member of the Ottawa Senators pokes his head in the room and asks if there’s a goalie who could come back out and stand in front of a dozen-plus 90-mile-an-hour slapshots for 90 minutes? A sizable number of Sens had arrived at Bell Sensplex for a customary August intrasquad scrimmage, and they were short a goalie. Now imagine being a real big Senators’ fan and being in that room all ready to go in your gear.
That’s what happened to youth house league 13-year-old Christian Rusu last month.
“At first, I didn’t know what was going on in the drills because they were going so fast. It’s nothing like I have ever seen before. I came out to the top of my (goal crease), and, all of a sudden, I looked one way, then the other, and the puck was behind me and I was thinking, ‘Where did that come from?’”
Best of all, young Christian played well in net in that scrimmage — the Senators’ players said so. Better still:¬† Christian’s father arrived at the rink to retrieve him in time to learn of the experience. We bet that was a special car ride home.