opening of training camp.

today was the first day of camp for the Sharks today, and I wandered down for a bit to take a look at what was going on.

you forget just how bloody big these guys are until you get close to them.

The practice seemed high tempo and spirited. I won’t pretend to have any deep insights for having watched cycling drills by half the team for about an hour. I’ll leave that to others… (grin)

I will say that the energy level seemed high, spirits were good but the players seemed very focussed and down to business. Very little horseplay and nobody seemed to be dogging it.

the “this seems, well, weird” moment: realizing that one of the coaches on the ice was Bryan marchment (along with Wayne thomas and Rob Zettler); it made me flash back to the old IHL and the Las Vegas Thunder, when we were down there for a couple of games, and ex-Shark Lyndon Byers was playing for them.

Byers was named assistant captain, and was asked to take a leadership role with the younger players. And he humorously mused about that in the newspaper with a “me? a role model?” quote.

I actually have a fondness for Marchment, as former readers of our Dallas Stars mailing list (now retired) might remember. For all his reputation and repeated suspensions (mostly earned, but towards the end, his reputation preceeded him at times), he actually could play some pretty good hockey.

The day San Jose traded for him, I stood up like many and had a big, noisy fit about on the list; I also have to admit that it took about two games watching him and isolating his game on the ice to realize what he brought to the sharks — above and beyond physical play and intimidation.

He was a good hockey player; and I admitted it. Dirty player? sometimes; so are lots of guys. Who’s a dirtier player, Marchment or Chelios? tough call. But mostly, I think Marchment’s game was not that he was trying to hurt guys, it was that he was playing the game his way, and simply didn’t worry about whether someone got hurt. That wasn’t his problem, his problem was getting the job done without getting himself hurt.

Of course, he did — I was watching the night he got concussed and went into convulsions on the ice. I don’t think I reacted as strongly to any on ice injury, other than perhaps Malarchuk (who was goalie for the Las Vegas Thunder when Lyndon Byers was the captain. small world — and the team had this young phenom named Bonk, who went on to become a first pick and a good, solid, third line center. For the record, at the time, I said he was a good mid-first round draft, not a top draft or top three. I guess for once I was right — and if he’d been drafted 12th or 15th, people would think Radek Bonk has had a good career; as a top draft, he’s been a big disappointment. be wary of getting what you ask for, and having to live up to it)

But I digress. Given camps are opening, I can. It means hockey isn’t far away, and the season tickets will be arriving any minute now… (seriously).

time to drop the puck!