Again I saw Lisa. I didn't mention it yesterday but Lisa is the assistant strength coach at UBC. We quickly caught up before she had to start working with the UBC Men's Hockey Team. Again it was a catch up in heaven. Between the Canuck talk, UBC hockey talk and asking Lisa whether I should register my son in skating on top of his hockey, I was surrounded by sweaty Canucks. Andrew Alberts was doing sit ups, Chris Higgins was doing a sideways blank, while Dale Weise, Chris Tanev and a Sedin (I don't know which one it was) were running drills together. Eventually the UBC Men's team entered the gym and that was my cue, I was off.
I wondered around the rink and found both Dan Hamhuis and Manny Malhotra skating together. It got me thinking. Last year 10 games into the shortened season Mike Gillis and the Vancouver Canucks organization put Manny on injured reserve and said they were no longer letting him play games because they believed he could no longer protect himself after his eye injury a few years back. Manny was wearing a grey jersey at practice, something I have noticed the "injured" player do. I am assuming it is so other players can notice them quickly and there is less risk the injured player will be more injured during practice. Manny hadn't played a hockey game since mid February 2013. What was he doing skating? It didn't matter what way I went in my brain my respect for Manny grew. Either he had been skating the whole summer and was going to run for a spot on the roster this year or maybe Gillis was giving him a chance and they just hadn't alerted the press yet. Maybe he was simply helping out his buddy Dan or maybe Manny just isn't ready to give up and is working incredibly hard. In the long run it isn't really Manny returning to hockey I was thinking about, it was a human being with a passion and a drive not all of us follow. There are no guarantees in life. Manny learned that first hand. But if you try and don't give up anything can happen.
By the time Manny and Dan left the ice I saw hints that practise was about to start on another rink. I waited a few minutes and one by one players had left the gym and were jumping out onto the ice. I was only able to stay for a few minutes into practise but they players looked happy and Kevin Bieksa or Coach Bieksa should we call him was organizing the drills.
A hot topic was if Lou was going to be skating or not. Lou did skate. Below I have uploaded some fun photos from practise and also a couple videos. The first is a refresher on exactly what happened to Manny Malhotra and the second is an interview from Lou earlier today. Enjoy!