It’s often difficult to attach the phrase “just like any job, really” to playing hockey (or any sport) professionally. After all, many of us grew up in backyards/frozen rinks/etc. dreaming of scoring the kind of goal Patrick Kane did to win the Stanley Cup.*
* – Although ours either went top shelf or five-hole in a much more dramatic – or at least in a more recognizable – fashion than the odd duck goal that sealed last season.
That being said, it ultimately can become “just another job,” especially when the player in question isn’t an automatic NHLer. Still, it’s pretty shocking to see a 2008 second round pick hang up his skates at 20 years old. That is the case of former Washington Capitals prospect Eric Mestery, a 6-5, 200 lbs. defenseman who decided that his passion for the game just isn’t there anymore. Bob Tory of the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans made the announcement on Mestery’s behalf.
With his large frame and solid defensive skills, Mestery was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 2nd Round (57th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. As a 16-year-old, Mestery was also a part of Team Manitoba, which took home a silver medal at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Mestery will now turn his attention towards his education, as he plans to utilize his WHL scholarship and enroll in a post-secondary school.
“I talked to Eric yesterday and he informed me that the passion and commitment needed to play at this level was gone…that the game was no longer fun for him,” explained Tory. “Eric had asked that he not be traded, instead making a responsible and mature decision in regards to getting on with life after hockey. We wish him all the best in wherever his future takes him.”
It’s a bit sad to hear, but not everyone has the same level of passion for hockey. Then again, you always have to wonder if there’s more to a story like this. Best of luck to Mestery as he moves on with his (now non-hockey) life.
(H/T to Yahoo’s Buzzing the Net blog.)
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–The stray cat that ran onto the ice prior to Game 1 between the Sharks and Preds has been named after Joe Pavelski. (Associated Press)
–Speaking of that black cat, here’s a mountain of pucks shaped like the cat. (The Score)
–When Lukas Head was younger, he played with Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban. Here’s his story. (Toronto Star)
–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Stars and Blues. (Top)
–A look behind the scenes of the NHL draft lottery. (Canadian Press)
–Two-time Olympic gold medalist Sharon Szabados loves curing and the Oilers and she was forced to make a tough choice on Saturday. (Sportsnet)
—Pascal Dupuis, who was named one of the Masterton Trophy finalists, is adjusting to retirement. (NHL.com)
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta