Opening Day Herbies from Gabby

One of the most dramatic scenes in the movie ‘Miracle’ occurs when Head Coach Herb Brooks punishes his American squad after an underwhelming draw against Norway in an exhibition game leadup to the 1980 Olympics. Brooks channels his fury into an excruciating post-game set of ‘Herbies.’
An amazing spectacle of comparable torture took place out at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today. At the very end of two hours of hard drills, Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau put the organization’s rookies through his own elongated set of Herbies, just like Brooks did. In fact, the sessions were so similar that scores of young Caps collapsed to their hands and knees at both ends of the sheet upon completion of each set. Only to be summoned to perform more. It was fatiguing just watching.
Among the collapsing: Anton Gustafsson, Dmitry Kugryshev, and Justin Taylor. Mathieu Perreault, the head coach admitted afterward, became light-headed and nearly passed out. Conversely, Francois Bouchard seemed steady throughout the entirety of the gruelling leg-churning.
“We had to have a barometer of seeing who was where and what stage they were [NHL] ready,” Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said afterward. “We wanted to make sure that the young guys understand what it’s like to be NHL shape. There’s junior shape, there’s American League shape, but this is stuff I had to go through as a player, to learn, cause I didn’t understand. If we can make them understand at 19 and 20, that for some of them, for their next camp — especially the first-year guys — ‘I know what I gotta do a little bit more in the summer’ . . . ”
Players in a multitude of colored practice sweaters all developed green complexions.
“Some of them came through with flying colors [media in attendance didn’t see any of those], some of them looked a little bit ragged out there,” the coach added.

This entry was posted in Anton Gustafsson, Dmitry Kugryshev, Francois Bouchard, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Mathieu Perreault, Prospects, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Opening Day Herbies from Gabby

  1. ephperson says:

    If the point of this blog is to write material “focused on the Washington Capitals,” then why no mention of the fact that the Caps likely no. 1 center has gone down with an ankle injury that reportedly has left him limping and unable to skate?
    Why must we read about Backstrom’s injury in the Post (the print version — usually mocked in this venue)?
    And still, at the end of the day now, nothing.
    Seriously . . . either (a) you still don’t know that Backstrom was injured (so much for the nimble new media); or (b) you know but don’t care (seems unlikely); or (c) you know but don’t think it’s important enough to write about (as compared to cut-and-paste quotes from 1974); or (d) you know but consider that you have no obligation to write about it.
    Is there an explanation that I have omitted? Help me to understand your silence.

  2. elle macpherson: I detect some vinegary surliness to your message.
    My report on Backstrom can actually be found, ironically enough, on WaPost’s Caps’ blog, left there last Friday. I caught an accidental glimpse of the limping Swede on my Friday lunch hour at the training facility; asked Nate Ewell about it; received assurances that all was non-malignant; and embarked upon a restful weekend.
    Of course, Nick didn’t report to Kettler today for treatment. That could mean (a) he’s feeling a lot better and didn’t need additional treatment; or (b) he’s died.

  3. CapsChick says:

    Wow…tough crowd. You know, part of what makes blogs great is that they’re not limited to just reporting the news. And if the story has been fully reported already – and by Tarik’s blog, not the print edition – I think we can cut the OFB crew some slack for deciding not to do a post about it here. We all know the details already. I’d much rather read the wonderful things they do post, thanks.
    pucksandbooks, great description of those Herbies! I’m both sad and relieved that I had to leave early and missed that spectacle. A friend of mine got some great pics of the rookies sprawled out on the ice in various states of exhaustion and that was almost too much for comfort. Poor kids πŸ˜‰
    (Oh, and I hope Nicky didn’t die! If he did, will you please report it? I don’t know if we’d be able to find out otherwise…)

  4. seb says:

    please let the season start soon.

  5. J.P. says:

    With apologies to a couple of Tarik’s commentors, ephperson’s comment is the single most assinine I’ve ever read on a blog. Kudos.

  6. maruk says:

    Ridiculous, JP. I’m sure I’ve said more asinine things than that on your blog.
    People’s expectations sure can be ….interesting.

  7. doughless says:

    perhaps elle macpherson is:
    a) a disgruntled Flyers fan;
    b) a digruntled Penguins fan;
    c) a disgruntled Rangers fan; or
    d) an a-hole

  8. ephperson says:

    Tough crowd, indeed.
    @ p’n’b: Some acerb, yes, guilty as charged. But I submit that it was more a sense of frustration with the the way that a potentially significant injury has gone almost completely unmentioned.
    And yes, maruk, maybe my “expectations” are too high, and I have no right to be frustrated with a blog. That depends, I think, on one’s point of view of blogging, or this blog in particular.
    I found the comment on the WaPo blog — it was appended to a post about Ovie, waaaaay down there, so it took a while to find.
    Did Backstrom take a puck off the ankle, as you were told (by traditionally tight-lipped Caps personnel who ordinarily couldn’t be trusted to reveal the truth about even a player’s fractured shoulder), or did Backstrom strain his ankle sliding out of control into a goalpost, as Tarik reported? I still don’t know.
    And if he skates today without any sign of injury, please let me/us know.
    @ JP: I guess I’ll take the kudos as a compliment. I almost posted the same comment to Japers Rink; I now regret not doing so. πŸ™‚
    @ dough: right back atcha.
    @ CC: From my perspective, what makes blogs great is that information is communicated faster and with less censorship than through traditional media (that’s the short version).
    But in this case, apparently, not so much.
    “We all know the details already”? Respectfully, who is “we”? An elite few, perhaps, because “we” didn’t include “me” until I read the details in the Post, days after the injury.
    Let me explain my “expectations”: Consider for a moment what it might be like around these parts if the Caps were as widely revered in this area as the Redskins (what some folks view as the Promised Land).
    If a prominent offensive player on the Redskins had hobbled off the field with a bad ankle injury, would it be reported? Of course it would (actually, league rules would require the team to report it in some detail, which would be a culture shock around here, but that’s another rant).
    And if the player were still walking gingerly and favoring the ankle the next day, what then? One can only imagine the scope and degree of coverage and speculation, in the press and online.
    Should Caps fans and bloggers aspire to that level of scrutiny? I can’t speak for bloggers (they can speak for themselves); as a fan, though, I’d love to see it happen.
    And I like to read blogs that, from my humble point of view, purport to share a vision of the future of Caps media coverage that competes with the football coverage in this area.
    With those expectations, then, I asked, seriously . . . why does it not merit even a blog post when the Caps’ no. 1 center injures his ankle and is seen hobbling around on it the next day?
    Apparently, the answer to my question was (c) or (d).
    So, with my (perhaps unrealistic) expectations, I am disappointed. I’ll get over it. Such is life.
    Thank you for reading my comment.

  9. J.P. says:

    @ ephperson: When you start throwing around a word like “obligation” to a group of people who work 40+ hour weeks and blog as a hobby, I think you’re expectations may be a little off base.
    Oh, and you’re always welcome to write just about anything you want over at The Rink.

  10. It never ceases to amaze me how some fans get the vapors from the feintest whiff of “injury” reports within the sport. It’s as if the end-of-season litany of truly remarkable maladies is forever divorced from their memories. A Shaone Morrisonn competing with a broken jaw; a Boyd Gordon skating regular (and effective) shifts with a torn groin. Or a Chris Clark finishing a shift with his mouth obliterated. What more in the way of courage reporting has to be done to convey a lasting sense that hockey’s athletes are . . . kinda tough . . . that a puck off an ankle in early September most probably isn’t doom-and-gloom designation-worthy for October’s opening night? It’s true that in other sports relatively moderate maladies are occasion for the sidelines. But the courage and perseverenace in hockey is the stuff of legend and mythology. For good reason.
    Put another way: if media, new or old, were required or expected to weigh in on every bump and bruise, from skates formal and informal throughout the year, there’d be no room for real news. Ever. There’s also a compelling reason not to report on all injuries that come into view at the rink, and it’s a primary reason so many players pushed back against Reebok’s too-revealing, snug-fit uniform systems. I wish more in media honored this code.

  11. ephperson says:

    @ JP: Point taken.
    But I explicitly included the absence of a sense of obligation to write about Backstrom’s injury as a potential explanation, so I don’t know why it would be considered a poor choice of words. Actually, I think that it was exactly the right word for what I was trying to say.
    If you, or anyone else who blogs about the Caps — as a hobby or otherwise — feel that you had no obligation to report that Backstrom is/was injured, then it would be simple enough to say so, without guilt or remorse: “I knew that he was/had been injured, but I did not consider that I had any obligation to write about it on my blog, and that is why I didn’t.”
    Readers might be disappointed by that explanation (myself included), but hey, such is life.
    I hasten to add, since it hasn’t yet been said, that my (perhaps unrealistic) expectations arise from the truly excellent work that you and others have done, in this public hobby of yours. If you weren’t so thorough, then the line might not have been too blurry to see when I crossed it.
    As an aside, however, I haven’t completely thought through the question of how getting a press pass might change the equation. Is there really no sense of community responsibility that goes along with such a privilege? It’s a confounding “new media” question, I think.

  12. ephperson says:

    @ p’n’b: Hockey players are tough, this is true. And their heroic exploits are the stuff of legend.
    But suppose that Backstrom is less than 100% on the ice in October. If an undisclosed ankle injury were the cause, fans might wrongly and unfairly conclude that he had been lax in his conditioning (in light of copious, illustrated blog coverage of his summer activities). Is that fair to Backstrom? Is it fair to the fans? Does that matter? Should it?
    For each Clark and Gordon there are counterexamples. Is the player/the team/the sport better off when a player continues secretly to play in pain, until the injury is so bad that it requires season-ending surgery (e.g., Nylander)? If Pother’s life is cut short by his brain injuries (an unwelcome and unhappy thought, I admit), I suspect that saying he was tough might be small consolation to his orphaned children.
    Unquestionably, the mythology of “toughness” in hockey causes some to risk too much. It likely depends on one’s priorities and perspective. It’s an old debate that will not be settled here, and we can agree to disagree.
    But it’s far afield from the question I asked to start this thread.
    I did not ask why “every bump and bruise” was not reported — truly, a reduction to the absurd. I did not even ask why “a puck off an ankle” was not reported.
    And for the record, I do not think that I have suggested that I think that the ankle injury is/was “doom-and-gloom designation-worthy”, only that it is newsworthy.
    I asked why the ankle injury did not merit a blog post, when it admittedly caused the Caps’ likely no. 1 center to favor the leg even the next day.
    In my view, that is more than “a bump or bruise,” or even “a puck off an ankle”. Others certainly may disagree.
    From your and J.P.’s thoughtful comments, I think that I have my answer: (c) for you, and (d) for him.
    Thank you very much for what you do.

  13. J.P. says:

    I’m perfectly comfortable with acknowledging that I don’t believe I have any obligation to write about a relatively minor injury that was already widely reported and discussed by the time I would have been able to write about it — as a general personal rule, I try not to post things that add absolutely nothing to the web-wide discourse on a subject.

  14. Gustafsson says:

    “as a general personal rule, I try not to post things that add absolutely nothing to the web-wide discourse on a subject”
    We follow this general rule as well.

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