Back to Work - I love that title. Giving this episode 3.5/4 stars. I really enjoyed it and glad they moved away from the stylized cuts.
It was interesting seeing the precautions and steps the organization is taking to keep players and staff safe when returning to the Ice Den. Speaking of which...the gym at the Den looks awesome - some really nice equipment in there.
I enjoyed the Boyle section a lot. I know Rats mentioned last blog that he's fully healed coming into the qualifying round and that's going to be a huge boost for this squad. Not only do they get the "hulking center" (per the episode) with his skill and physicality back in the lineup, but they get his leadership and smarts, too. He has a lot of playoff experience and knows what goes into these situations and what's needed. Plus, anytime you see a guy working out with his shirt tucked in, you know he means business. Glad to have #9 back!
I hadn't realized that coaches weren't allowed to go back right away and it was just players running the show for the opening skates. I thought that was pretty cool. The old "inmates running the asylum" routine.
Out of everything in the episode, I must admit that my eyes were opened with the Barky stuff.
First off...it's always shocking when you remember he's only 24. Unbelievable.
Secondly, I didn't know about his leadership. i admit it. I knew he was always considered a "quite leader," but I didn't know he garnered the respect from his teammates that he does. When the Cats were going through one of their many rough patches, I wrote that I wished Barky would be more outspoken and show some emotion. Seems like a thing a captain does. I don't typically say that, but I felt the team really needed something to give them a kick in the pants.
That was a good example of a shlub (me) sitting on his couch thinking he knows the inner workings of a pro sports team and what they need to do.
These guys clearly not only respect his talent, but the man himself and his leadership - as evident by the words of his teammates and the scenes with Priskie. Kind of hard not to respect your captain when he willingly chooses to do a solo bag skate. How can you not be charged up to be better.
Lastly...LOL about Matheson not generating enough saliva for the test.
Mark Your Calendars
With the announcement of the exhibition game slated for July 29th against Tampa, below is the schedule for the qualifying round.
Who's calling off sick August 4th and 5th?
Return to Play Roster
A lot of cool names on this roster. I'm sure fans are excited to see Saarela, Tippett, and Keeper on there. I'm curious to see what Luostarinen and Priskie bring to the table.
Kitchen Opts Out
Best wishes to him.
#FlaPanthers Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen has opted out of the NHL’s Return to Play program.
“It was a difficult decision to say the least, but the right decision for me and my family.” – Kitchen.