Behind The Lens Road Diary 2
By Jeff Vinnick
Well, I've officially entered the Hockey Zoo; the air tastes funny, colours are wierd, and apparently the grip of insanity is much tighter.
The crazies are everywhere. Leaf hockey freaks are wiggling up out of the cracks in the sidewalk. It's game day in Toronto and these people relish showing off their colours. It even snows blue and white in this place.
There was this lanky guy in Marlies jersey sitting next to me at breakfast. I'm pretty sure he was saying 'Norris' buzz is building for Kaberle. It's sad when you really think about it.
Admittedly I indulged in a few refreshments with friends Friday evening after a long day of travel, and I managed to get some well needed sleep in a fabulous room at the swanky Westin. I followed the team to the Air Canada Centre today - they're running through morning skate. Everyone's in great spirits and the jokes and jabs are flying through the dressing room.
Winning seven of the eight and climbing all the way to the top off the Northwest pile will do that - though nobody's taking tonight's game lightly. Coach Vigneault has shed his jovial veneer and adopted a more serious post-practice tone.
We're in the Leafdome and a win against this team is mandatory. Bragging rights are necessary when you're spoon-fed Leaf propanganda every Saturday of hockey season. Dishing a little come-uppance is like an invisible blanket that keeps you warm through the cold months.
As with all game days, the routine is relatively quiet and the players keep to themselves... though the infamous Cabbie drops by the room for a chat with Nazzy. Didn't hear the interview, though I did get a chance to catch the captain talking to a friend outside the room.
Please, a win boys - for everyone back home.
Vinnick's Day One blog.