Saturday, January 26, 2008

AMHL Wednesday: Crisis in the Crease?

image courtesy of **Maurice** at flickr.com
Tim Cook is a busy man. With a booming, award-winning business, growing family, and committment to morning hockey, why would the Rangers’ forward want to add playing between the pipes to his to-do list?
I asked him via e-mail, a day after he put on the pads for the first time in his AMHL career.

“I decided recently after the birth of our first son, that he was going to be either a professional golfer or a professional hockey player.”

Tim said he’s not as bad a hockey player as he is a golfer, so he chose hockey for his son. He added, “I decided that I’d invest in some goalie pads so he’d have a sieve to shoot on at a young age. You know, to build confidence. My wife calls this goalie-venture my mid-life crisis, since she won’t let me get a Harley.”

Cook put his new gear in the family truckster and then drove to Andover (MA) for pick-up hockey, where he faced a few issues.

“Challenge #1 was learning how to skate on goalie skates—no, Challenge #1 was figuring out how to put on the gear. Challenge #2 was learning how to skate on goalie skates. The blades are long and flat. Very much like a 2x4 strapped to a ski boot. Turning is not an option. Thus, a forward–turned–goalie such as I would be using ALL different leg muscles to hold oneself up. Ouch.”

Tim said his final obstacle was learning how to fall down—that is, fold into a butterfly—without dislocating both knees and tearing both ACLs.

His patella and surrounding ligaments no worse for the wear after the pick-up experience, Cookie got the call from AMHL management to fill in for Rangers’ goalie Heather Wright. Was he ready?

“Absolutely not. Was I willing? Absolutely. Was I able? Absolutely not. 1 of 3. OK, give it a go.”

Tim said he floundered in the crease on a few occasions, and Sabres’ forward Paul d’Entremont, who potted two of his team’s six goals to beat Cook and company, 6–4, created some anxiety for him in the crease.

But don’t count on Cook having a mid-life crisis yet. That can wait until his son joins him in the AMHL, which is one letter away from professional hockey. Then maybe his wife will let him buy a Harley.
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