fought Georges LaRock.
History tells us that the preseason will bring a handful of feel-good stories, as virtual unknowns come out of nowhere to make their NHL dreams a reality. But unfortunately that's the exception, and most of the long shots won't come close to making it.
With some teams inviting over 60 players to camp and only 23 jobs available, teams will move quickly to trim down their rosters. And with less than three weeks until the season opener, plenty of players will be sent packing as early as the next few days.
Since I know that many of my readers are aspiring NHL players, I think it's only fair to set expectations now – before the cuts start. So if you're currently attending a training camp, please review the list below for some subtle signs that you're going to be getting bad news this week.
- When you ask the coach how long your shifts should be, he replies "How would I know, I'm not the late-night manager of a gas station convenience store."
- Instead of learning the correct pronunciation of your name, the team's play-by-play guy spends exhibition games referring to you as "Cutty McPack'n'Cry".
- You're so woefully and indisputably terrible at hockey that Glen Sather only gave you a three-year multimillion dollar free agent deal, instead of the four years you were asking for.
- You overhear the head trainer asking the coach whether you having your heart cruelly ripped out and stomped on in front of all your friends and family should be listed as an "upper body injury".
- Every time you run into anyone from the team's AHL affiliate they seem to be overly friendly towards you, saying things like "Nice to see you, Jeff" and "Talk to you again real soon, Mr. Finger."
- Your scouting report in the team media guide is only a half page long, but it contains over a dozen references to the term "Grimson-esque".
- At the completion of the first shift of your preseason debut, the NHL interrupted the game with a ceremony honouring you for becoming the league's career leader in giveaways.
- In NHL 11, the only category where you have a decent rating is "filling out unemployment insurance forms".
- After leaving you bleeding on the ice after elbowing you in the head and then crosschecking you in the throat during a scrimmage, Chris Pronger can't even be bothered to stomp on your leg.
- While it's true that training camp can sometimes provide an opportunity to earn the respect of the coaching staff by instigating physical altercations with teammates, everyone just seems annoyed with your continued efforts back at the hotel to start a team pillow fight.
- Daniel Alfredsson just guaranteed that you'd make the team.
- When you ask the team's union rep about submitting your annual escrow payment, he tells you not to worry about it since they don't accept food stamps.
- They say that players who aren't expected to make the team are usually given high jersey numbers, which makes you feel pretty confident since you were given an eight turned sideways.
- The league has asked an arbitrator to nullify your contract since it's unrealistic to expect that you'll still be playing hockey by the end of it, which is odd since you signed a one-year deal.
- Dan Ellis keeps telling you how much less stressful your life will be next week when you're making minimum wage.