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Men of Steel...Bruins Practice Blocking Shots

Tuesday, 11.07.2006 / 10:11 PM / News
Boston Bruins
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Men of Steel...Bruins Practice Blocking Shots
Well, my friends, it has been a strange, interesting, sad, exciting day.

And rather than belabor the roster moves this evening, which I am sure to do tomorrow, I thought I would bring a little laughter to everyone…if you are not in the mood, jump off the bus here and look for another blog in the morn.

Seriously, I’ve warned you.

For those of you, who remain, picture this:

The end of practice whistle sounded after the Bruins have endured one of the toughest training sessions I have ever seen. One-on-one full ice games that didn’t end. Endless line rushes. Forechecking drills with contact, etc.

And, we writers had a little chuckle amongst ourselves after asking one another, "You ever seen anything like that."

"Nope," is the reply, with a shake of the head and a amazed laugh.

Anyway, the forwards line up on one side of the rink with the defensemen on the other side to get a little extra work in.

There’s nothing unusual in that, right? Happens everyday, right?

Wrong.

While the defensemen work on their slap shots, the forwards sprint one by one from their line and start blocking pucks -- tons and tons of pucks.

I kid you not.

Each one of the forwards took off skating toward the shooters and slid into shot after shot -- first from an assistant coach, then from Matt Lashoff. And while I was sure that the coaches and Matt were not shooting very hard, they were still shooting vulcanized rubber disks.

Some of the forwards even got up smiling.

I almost had to leave, I just couldn’t watch. It reminded me of that horrifying scene in Happy Gilmore where our favorite pro golfer gets in front of the pitching machine and keeps taking baseballs to the chest.

"Gosh, that hurt, but I’m okay."

And by gosh, they were okay. They were more than ok, they were UNHARMED!

But the shots keep coming and Our Boys took the pucks everywhere -- legs, arms, and chest. It was incredible. And I am sure that many of the writers were wondering what the boys had put in their Wheaties.

But I was just wanting it to end.

I was covering my eyes, expecting teeth and blood to go flying thanks to an errant puck. And then, mercifully, it was over.

Pheeeeeeeeeew.

Nobody was hurt. But I was very impressed by the Bruins intestinal fortitude -- seriously, impressed.

So we file into the locker room to do our usual interviews and I run into Marc Savard, who, understandably, was not in a great mood, what with the tough practice and the loss to the Thrashers the night before.

And, after all, he and the rest of the forwards had just stopped a bunch of hockey pucks with their legs, arms, chest and stomachs. Moreover, Marc, in particular, had been "brave" enough to get between the pipes and stop a couple with his forward gloved hands -- for fun.

So, Marc asks, what was so funny, referring to the laughter from the writers as we watched the very difficult practice go on and on and on.

I said, "Never mind that, did you see how concerned I was when you guys were blocking all those shots."

Savvy looked at me, and said, "Bish, those pucks were foam…soft pucks."

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!" I said.

I looked at Primeau, and knowing that Savard is a true prankster and that I didn’t believe him, Preems said that they had, indeed, been safety (think Nerf) pucks.

And Lashoff put the icing on the cake when he said that he had not realized that they were soft pucks until he shot one.

Well, I must have looked pretty stupid, sitting there with my mouth open, because Savvy looked at me and just shook his head.

"Bish, I made a glove save," he laughed, gesturing to Primeau and the room in general. "And you thought they were real pucks."

We all did, I explained, and looked for back-up from the rest of the hockey media, who had conveniently disappeared to other parts of the locker room -- and, by the way, several calls to my keyboard tapping brethren confirmed that yes; they too believed the pucks were real.

That is, unless this is the most elaborate rookie writer hoax ever perpetrated.

But I looked at Savard and he swore that he was telling the truth. So thinking it over I said, sarcastically, "Savvy, I just thought that you had a lot of guts to step in front of all of those shots."

So, after he thought on it for a second, Savard smiled and said, a-matter-of-factly, "I do have a lot of guts…but they were still foam pucks."

:), See you tomorrow.
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