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All Ducky

(Originally published on Kukla’s Korner)

Thursday’s practice might have been cause for alarm for me, as Brent Burns was not present for the 10 am skate.  I am easily alarmed.  Tell me it isn’t necessary or even good for the guys to be skating every day so far in advance of training camp.  To quote Indiana Jones, “it’s not the years, honey…” but I will still get a little nervous when someone I am used to seeing isn’t there.  Turns out he was golfing so even for a habitual worry-wort, there was no cause for alarm.

Burns was not the only one missing but he is such a big presence that you really notice his absence.

Cam MacIntyre was there again, and Owen Nolan and Sena Acolatse too.  Jonathan Cheechoo showed up as well.  There were two goalies but only eight skaters, so they played 3 on 3 for quite a while, then moved the nets around and played with a short rink.

I didn’t get any more names of non-NHLers, but three have become familiar regulars now.  There’s the Guy In Orange, who I made a note of either because he seemed to be playing well or because he was wearing an all-orange jersey, I can’t tell which.  Then there was Number 13 who my pre- pre- season practice buddy thinks is pretty good.  Then there’s a fellow we’ve started calling Ducky.

We’ve seen Ducky several times and he shows up all in black and orange Ducks colors.  Once he was asked why he would wear that at Sharks Ice and he explained that he isn’t worried about getting that jersey wrecked, because, you  know, it’s the Ducks.

Even though it was just a pickup game, the audience did take sides.  Ducky was on the same team as Nolan and Cheechoo, while Number 13 and Guy In Orange were with MacIntyre and Acolatse on the white team.  GIO changed his jersey to make up for a shortage of whites.  No matter, he was still GIO.  When the white team scored or shot, there were approving murmurs from the crowd.  When Ducky scored, not so much.  You just can’t come to Sharks Ice in Ducks garb and be wholeheartedly embraced.

By the time the game turned sideways, I guess when they got tired of playing 3 on 3 with all that ice to cover, it seemed like Ducky was scoring a lot.

One of the other things we’ve been charting is the progress of Nolan’s colors.  For the first few practices, he wore all Minny green.  Now Canucks blue has made it as far as his pants, but he still wears a Minny jersey.

Cheechoo was wearing an inside-out red jersey, which made us wonder if there is some etiquette about to show or not to show the logo?

These are the mysteries we pondered while we watched them skate back and forth.

Justin Bourne to the rescue with some answers, in a piece he wrote for Puck Daddy a couple months ago:

Wear your jersey inside out if you’re in the show

This one is hilariously odd — I never exactly asked why (because obviously I knew why too, duh), but all the NHLers wore their jersey’s logo-in. Most of us scrubs have 15 random jerseys lying around, but for some reason all the pros can find is team apparel. So, to not look like they’re showing off, I think, they wear them inside-out. We’d have the odd pro drop in for a game from somewhere else, not do this, and he’d get killed. “Hey, what team do you play for? Hey, are you in the NHL? Can I have your autograph? Surprised you didn’t wear one with a namebar.” -http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Bourne-Blog-Summer-hockey-etiquette-for-playing?urn=nhl-wp8816

Well that settles that, though I can’t say everyone was exactly following these rules.

As things wound down, Nolan left the ice first, followed by Cheechoo, each to be greeted by a little crowd of autograph and photo seekers.   The rest of the skaters stayed on the ice, stretching, chatting.

It crossed my mind that there was something I’d like to ask about more than logo etiquette and wardrobe choices. I would kind of like to know what’s going through the minds of those other guys– college players, rec players, and prospects– while they quietly watch the autograph ritual on the other side of the glass.

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