Sunday morning homily XVI

If you're a frequent visitor to NHL.com, chances are you've checked out a few of the site's Frozen Moments. These pictures, often taken from a different perspective, capture the moments of a game beyond the normal shots, saves and checks.

The image from Saturday, however, went beyond a solitary slice of a game. It showed Carolina's Eric Staal and Washington's Boyd Gordon focusing intently on a puck before a faceoff. What I saw went beyond this photographic study of concentration.

What I saw was two athletes who are now playing on the brightest stage of the game. Not too long ago, namely the 2004-05 season, they were playing in the American Hockey League. Staal was with the Lowell (Mass.) Lock Monsters. Less than 90 minutes away to the northeast, Gordon was playing for the Portland (Maine) Pirates.

Mostly, what I remember a couple of Saturday nights, sitting in the Cumberland County Civic Center, watching Staal and Gordon competing against each other. And now, just a couple years later, they've followed different paths in creating identities for themselves in the NHL. Staal, a offensively gifted star, has carried Lord Stanley's hallowed Cup on the ice. Gordon, who doesn't get, in my estimation, enough credit for his defensive skills, skates in the shadow of Alex Ovechkin.

Excellent analogy

Like most goalies, Buffalo's Ryan Miller uses his mask as a means of expression. There's one specific element on the skullplate, though, that I find very telling. If you look close enough, you'll see the image of a lizard.

Up until a recent reading of an article in The Hockey News, I didn't know the significance. It seems Miller likes the image of the lizard because they're fast and have short memories.

Very fitting for a goalie, if you ask me.

When in Florida ...

... you do as the tourists do. With baseball's spring training in high gear these days, I'd be remiss if I didn't attend at least a couple games.

That's why Colin and I will be watching the Minnesota Twins play the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon in Dunedin (pronounced Dun-eee-din, not Dune-din). We may even catch the Detroit Tigers' game tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at downtown St. Petersburg's waterfront stadium.

All I have to do is remember to bring the sunscreen.

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