HAMILTON,ON. — It was a sea of red when I entered the arena today. Half of the team decked out only in red jerseys did skating drills in Copps Coliseum. Like lots of skating. It was definitely a high-cardio practice.
In total there were nine players participating including goalie Dustin Tokarski. The net was outfitted with a goalie target with cutouts for players to practice their shots. Martin St. Pierre came out in a white jersey and practiced alone with one of the coaches.
At the end of the intense session, the coaches praised all the players in red jerseys, patting them on the back.
It was then time for the other half of the split squad all in white jerseys. The drills were similar but they were divided into four groups. The practice ended with all players trying to score on goalie Robert Mayer.
HAMILTON,ON. — It was cold, very cold as I walked through the blowing snow on the way into Copps Coliseum for morning practice. Funny thing is that it didn’t get any warmer inside the arena as the drills began.
Gone was the light-hearted banter, replaced by the coaches being more stern and barking their commands. Yes they definitely were yelling a lot more. Rink-side, there was a chilly mood indeed.
Attending the game, it was incredible to see the boys put the effort and hard work from practice into the game against the Toronto Marlies. It was also interesting to see players show the same characteristics that I had witnessed at the practices. It was weird at first to see such a full stadium — I’m used to just empty seats. But I was happy to see such a good turn out!
HAMILTON,ON. — You might think that a hockey practice is rather routine: stretching, skating and drills. That may be partly true but there’s always something different. It’s a time to watch the skills of the players but more importantly see the interactions between teammates and the coaches. Last time, I told you (and showed you photos) of the small fight between Darren Dietz and Nick Tarnasky.
Today started like any other practice. The players got on the ice and started their drills right away, split into white and red jerseys. It was good to see the older players being vocal, encouraging the younger players in the drills. Something I found interesting (and wouldn’t have seen otherwise) is that the coaches actively participated in the drills rather than just instructing the players.
But what was the most fascinating to me was when goalie Dustin Tokarski returned to the ice without a jersey or protective gear and began going through the motions of saving phantom pucks and recovering for the next stop in his mind. He is a very focused athlete.
Enjoy the photos. I look forward to your comments.
If you are a regular reader of All Habs Hockey Magazine, you know that we do things differently and you tell us that it’s one of the reasons you keep coming back. In addition to our comprehensive coverage of the Montreal Canadiens, we also commit to providing you the most in-depth coverage of prospects in the organization. Being a Canadiens fan means you want to keep current on the progress of future stars too.
One of our Senior Writers, Dan Kramer, is in his second full season of providing you game-by-game reports for the Hamilton Bulldogs from the press box. We are pleased to introduce to you Rabita, another member of All Habs team who will be providing you with images from Copps Coliseum. Her experience in sports photography will tell you the story from Hamilton in pictures.
We have more changes in store for you that are just around the corner. We think that you’ll like them.
HAMILTON,ON. — I’m used to be on the field as a sidelines photographer. But I knew that this photo assignment was going to be different when the pucks slammed against the glass, quite startling when one is looking through a camera lens. And the speed. Being rink-side gave a whole new appreciation for the speed, even at this level. The guys are really fast which made it a challenge to capture them in motion sometimes.
The Bulldogs wasted no time getting warmed up and beginning their drills. The team worked hard all through the practice in preparation for Tuesday’s game against the Texas Stars. There was plenty of chatter on the ice with teammates encouraging each other. Players seemed to pair up reserving conversation with one partner. And the coaches showed their fun and joking side at times too.
At one point, the ‘communication’ became intense. Nick Tarnasky, playing the role of the veteran, felt that a rookie defenceman wasn’t taking things seriously enough. He and Darren Dietz exchanged rough language and eventually dropped the gloves. The minor dispute was settled quickly by the coaches and fellow teammates. Just the emotion of the game.
All in all, today was an incredible experience photographing the Bulldogs. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to capture the skills and emotions of these talented players.
I am pleased to join the All Habs team. I will be telling you the stories of Hamilton Bulldogs through pictures this season. I hope that you enjoy them. I’d love to hear what you think. Please leave me a note in the comment box.