Through The Tunnels
Trust me. I've been doing some pretty good snooping.
I was in the hallway outside the dressing rooms prior to the Columbus Blue Jackets game watching Canucks players get their competitive juices flowing with a game of hacky sack - except they were using a soccer ball. Everything was in play; the walls, ceilings, security fences, you name it. A circle of eight or so players kept the ball in the air as long as possible and I have to say Henrik and Daniel have this game mastered.
Rory Fitzpatrick ran by me doing quick explosive five yard sprints and then I saw Manny Molhotra from the Blue Jackets at the far end doing squat thrusts.
I could feel the intensity in the hallways pick up as players bounced between the dressing room and the full size weight room where the U2 songs "Vertigo" and then "Elevation" threatened to bust the doors down.
I was even starting to feel wired! Put me in coach!
Players retreated to their respective rooms to put on the gear so I went to the Olympia entrance to watch the Orca Bay Ice Team put the finishing touches on the immaculate GM Place ice.
I walked past the pair of Olympias and saw a familiar sharpie signature. Last year when the Phoenix Coyotes were in town, Wayne Gretzky obliged and left his mark on the orange Sportsnet Olympia. Gretzky has signed a lot of things over the years, but I don't think you're going to find a massive, orange and white ice-flooding machine on any auction sites in the near future. Just a hunch.
From ice level I surveyed the empty maroon seats of the lower bowl and then I saw something I'd heard about. Roberto Luongo was seated a few rows above the Canucks bench in his workout gear lost in concentration while he taped his RBK stick. I didn't venture any closer.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Fast forward to the Canucks versus Oilers.
Prior to gametime I saw linesman Jay Sharrers with his iPod buds in while he loosened his legs outside the officials dressing room. He was wearing black shorts, black runners and a black zip up. Referees and linesmen even wear the black sinister garb off the ice too?
Later on during the first intermission I felt like a scorned lover when I saw Justin Morneau giving an interview to the Edmonton Sportsnet feed.
What gives Justin? I thought you bled Canucks blue? Then the host handed Morneau a hockey stick and stepped back a few paces so he could toss a baseball for Morneau to smack. The first pitch was high and outside, and then Morneau connected with the second on what would have been a solid single up the middle, except the ball hit the Edmonton host right in the backside.
Thanks Justin - you just made everything right in my world.
ON THIS DAY
2002: For the second straight season, Ed Jovanovski and Markus Naslund represent the Canucks at the NHL All-Star game. Naslund scored the game-winning goal on his way to a three point night (2-1-3), while Jovanovski notched a goal for the North American Team.
2003: The Canucks are represented at the 53rd NHL All-Star Game in Florida by Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski. The Canucks coaching staff of Marc Crawford, Jack McIlhargey and Mike Johnston also represent Vancouver. It is the largest Canucks representation at an NHL All-Star Game.