I think it’s time for a little off-season update.
After the long run to the Calder Cup finals, the Marlies parted ways and headed back to their respective home towns. For a few, like defenceman Simon Gysbers and hard-nosed forward Will Acton, it meant only a trip up highway 404.
Others, like #feardabeard zealot Jerry D’Amigo, headed south across the border to their States-side home while still more ventured to western Canada, like netminder Ben Scrivens, who most likely drove his Chevy pickup all the way home. Knowing the Spruce Grove, Alberta, native, The Tragically Hip were blasting on the speakers all the way home.
The first two weeks offers a time for rest, a chance to let the body heal after an arduous post-season run. Bumps and bruises are given time to heal, and the brain gets some much needed shut-eye at night without an early morning alarm signalling a hustle to practice. When you play longer than 28 other American League teams, a little time away from the rink isn’t a bad thing.
It was a race to get home for Scrivens, as locker clean out was scheduled for a Monday and his wedding was planned for the coming Friday. It was a long drive, but the netminder made it home in time for the hitching. A good thing, too, it wouldn’t really had been the same without him.
After a couple weeks through the United States, Scrivens, and his newly ringed Mrs. Scrivens, traveled back across the boarder and headed to Calgary in time for the stampede festivities. Dressed in their best ranch costumes, the Scrivens’ headed out to enjoy the annual event.
I want to say “lurking in the shadows,” but front-and-centre is more likely the scenario for Scrivens’ Marlies brethren D’Amigo who also attended the Stampede. It was the final outing for the second year pro before heading back home and into the gym to train. By the looks of the hat, D’Amigo could’ve spent his childhood in the Wild West and fit right in.
The Marlies Calder Cup first round phenom showed he was a man of many wardrobes, as he dressed the part before hitting the courts for a little tennis game. I was impressed by the matching socks, and the fact that even weeks after the Calder Cup had been lifted, D’Amigo still refused to lose the beard. By the looks of it, it’s here to stay.
While many traveled west, Matt Frattin opted for the exact opposite as he announced he was heading back to Toronto for a few days. The Edmonton, Alberta, native shared with all the meal he received care of room service – or a picture of it, at least.
Frattin will continue to rehabilitate his lower body through out the summer after sustaining an injury in game five of the Western Conference Finals. It is unsure if he will be ready for the beginning of training camp, a goal you can be sure the sharp-shooting forward hopes to reach.
It’s likely Jake Gardiner enjoyed his birthday this year a little more than the last time it came around. Gardiner, who was born on July 4th (which, given the season he had, should be named a Toronto holiday as well), celebrated last year by vomiting into a bucket following the VO2 max test during day one of the Maple Leafs development camp. Based on the picture tweeted, this year was a little more low key.
After a successful rookie campaign in the NHL, Gardiner’s 17 playoff games may be the last we see of him with the Marlies. That is, unless he decides to take in a game or two from the stands.
For those who didn’t head south, didn’t head west, or for that matter didn’t really have to head anywhere, the summer has offered time to continue on in the spirit of the Leafs commitment to the community. After escaping the city limits for a week, Will Acton returned to spread some of the Marlies love to his new pal Joey. The funniest part of this story, though, is when asked who his favourite Marlies are, Joey responded with Scrivens and Gardiner.
Maybe next year, Will.
Training hard, Acton could be seen hovering around MCC during this season’s development camp following morning workouts in the gym. Acton will build off a strong rookie campaign where his work ethic endeared him to his coach and to those in attendance at Ricoh.
As for me, I’m heading out to St. John’s, Newfoundland, tomorrow morning. Although I love the big city, I think a part of me will always be a country boy. I’m going to pack a fishing rod and a rain coat, get my cod-kissing lips ready and practice my favourite east coast jig. For any of you around St. John’s this weekend, drop me a note on twitter (@chansler) and maybe we could find time to talk a little Marlies (or IceCaps, if you wish).
A little time away from the rink is not necessarily a bad thing – for any of us.