The NHL has been in lockout mode for a little over two weeks now. Players have fled to cities around North America and countries across Europe to play in other professional hockey leagues and earn a paycheck or they’ve just gone home to stay in shape since they are not allowed to use their respective teams facilities or have contact with their coaches during the lockout. Three players the other day however took the time to practice in full equipment with a youth hockey team, the AAA Mississauga Senators up in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada) according to Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post.
Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan, Florida Panthers forward Shawn Matthias and new Detroit Red Wings defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo joined the youths in the young players practice even going as far as participating in drills and finally participating in a full ice scrimmage to end the practice.
Stajan, Matthias and Colaiacovo all played some youth hockey under the current Senators coach, Kevin Rutledge. Rutledge kept the NHL players arrival a secret until the last possible moment. Coach Rutledge may have been more excited than some of his players, “I mean, that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Rutledge. “Take the coach’s hat off and put your father’s hat on, its pretty cool.”
Stajan was the most playful, even lifting a few players up and getting into fake tussles with the coach’s son, “Hockey’s supposed to be fun,” Stajan said. “We just want to play hockey, as players. In saying that, we know the NHL’s a business, and we know what’s fair. We feel that we’re being bullied around a bit.”
Colaiacovo was a bit more candid when talking about the lockout, “It kind of sucks. At this time of the year, you’re so used to playing hockey, playing competitive hockey and right now, it just seems like we’ve got a lot of time on our hands and don’t know what to do with ourselves.” So, some players like Colaiacovo, have crashed youth hockey practices around North America in an effort to gain the fans support for the NHLPA during the lockout and apparently to pass the time until the puck drops on the NHL season.
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