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As the zamboni came on the ice, the player got out of its way and took a seat on the bench. Without haste, he pulled off his gloves, setting one down carefully on the bench next to him before removing the other.  He took off his helmet and set it down too.  He was the second to last player to leave the ice after the morning skate. He was clearly a healthy scratch.

An assistant coach, finished working with the last guy on the ice, came to the bench, said something to the player, mussed his hair, and took a seat next to him.

They’re all so young and human and bleeding and feeling and breathing and yearning and…hair mussable.  I don’t know why that all came flooding in on me when I saw that.

This season at least, that player always seems to sit a while on the bench after morning skates.  He doesn’t just leave the ice the way most players do.

So why would him sitting there as a scratch be more poignant?  What was on the coach’s face as he listened attentively to whatever the player was saying?

What we understand from what we see is mysterious to me.  Without a replay, I can’t parse it.


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