Monday, May 28, 2007

Day One: New York State of Mind

The following is the first installment of a road trip to Canada.

Saturday, May 27 2007

About to drive east from Bangor, ME to New Brunswick and then Nova Scotia, where the AMHL photographer and I will ferry to Newfoundland, I glance at the New York plates on the black Hyundai Sonata a few spots away from our Ford Escape. The Empire State has been on my mind the past few days.

On Wednesday morning, AMHL Sabre George Morton, who grew up a few miles west of the Hudson River (much closer to the Big Apple than the Queen City) took inventory of his opponents: the Rangers. Morton, who as a kid had idolized the Rangers’ Rod Gilbert, traded himself to the AMHL Rangers just minutes before Wednesday morning’s game because the AMHL’s version of the Blueshirts had only five skaters. Morton played well—winning a high percentage of face-offs in the first period and then assisting on the game-winning goal in OT—but then traded himself back to the Sabres, who if they’re smart, will harbor no grudge against the gregarious gentleman from the New York.

On Thursday morning, when my Avalanche teammate Dave “da Vinci” Krinsky—who grew up on Long Island—played a great game. Krinsky, an artist on offense, earned our admiration not only for his puck-lugging skills but also for his dogged determination against the Panthers. Krinsky worked his tail off in all three zones—not that should come as any surprise—to help us pummel the Panthers, 7–4. Later that day, I called my father, a long-time Long Island resident, to relay the results.

Yesterday, I called my dad again, this time to thank him for the gift I had just learned about: My wife had collaborated with Pop to surprise me with a long weekend at hockey camp in Lake Placid, New York. In mid-October, I plan to develop my skills at the CAN/AM camp, where Canadians and Americans will share ice time.

The luggage tag the CAN/AM folks had mailed with the letter I received yesterday is now tied to the rear view mirror apparatus as my wife and I commence the second leg of our road trip.
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