Kenny Ryan is Superman.
I’m sure of it.
Ryan doesn’t wear glasses, neither does Superman. Like the DC Comics character, Ryan’s identity is made up of dual first names. And, as we all witnessed during the Leafs opening game of preseason, Ryan fears not jumping in front of a speeding bullet (check the 3:30 mark of the night’s Game in Six).
When Ryan was assigned to the Toronto Marlies on Sunday he was sent with a positive message; he had established his identity. Ryan had asserted his hardworking nature, built over years of preparation, showing the Leafs staff he will develop into an NHL bottom six forward.
“My Mom always said ‘if you can follow a black line at the bottom of the pool for two hours a day, you can pretty much do anything you want,’” Ryan shared. The Leafs’ second round draft pick in 2009 had spent 12 years swimming competitively. A sport which, like hockey, requires an immense amount of training and discipline.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get up in your summers at 6:30am and swim every morning from seven to nine, but I think in that way it disciplines you and it makes you realize that if you want something you have to work for it, it’s not going to be handed to you.”
If one’s ability to be disciplined could be isolated within the genetic code, Ryan would definitely be a beneficiary of a long line of self-governing. His aunt, having graduated from the University of Indiana, plays both violin and bass. Ryan’s grandmother and grandfather attended Northwestern, leaving with music degrees. His grandmother, at age 78, still teaches piano.
“Christmas’ at our house are pretty fun just because my grandma and grandpa would play the piano and my aunt would get on the bass or the violin and we’d all just hang out and sing along.”
Although having played the piano and owning a guitar, Ryan admits the musical gene “must have skipped over my generation.”
Though his talents may not earn him a guest spot on the next episode of Glee, the regulation required to study the language of music definitely stuck. It has become the cornerstone of his identity, and earned him two looks during exhibition action with the Leafs, as opposed to the originally scheduled one.
With his heart presently trained on making the Marlies and furthering his career at the professional level, Ryan knows that by continuing in his disciplined nature, a role in the NHL is ahead of him.
“At the end of the day this isn’t the side of the rink you want to be, you want to be on the other side with the Leafs. That’s the goal.”
We may not be able to get Ryan into blue tights, but perhaps a set of blue socks would be better suited.
Sondre Olden practiced with the Marlies on Tuesday. Although having already started his season with the Erie Otters, immigration paperwork has kept the young forward in Canada for the time being. Alongside Olden, wearing a red sweater, was Kyle Neuber.
The remaining five forward lines were as follows:
- Caputi – Colborne – Scott
- Mueller – Zigomanis – Hamilton
- D’Amigo – Ryan – Acton
- Brenner – Irwin – Wilson
- Devane – Caruana – Painchaud
Seven returning Marlies donned new numbers Tuesday (former numbers in parenthesis).
- Marcel Mueller: 9 (25)
- Will Acton: 14 (38)
- Tyler Brenner: 16 (36)
- Luca Caputi: 17 (19)
- Matt Caruana: 20 (39)
- Jerry D’Amigo: 29 (27)
- Mike Zigomanis: 93 (17)
Zigomanis’ number 93 is the highest worn by a Toronto Marlies player in the club’s six season history.