On the first full day of the Major League Baseball season, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire sent a text message to a friend who was presiding over his last full practice of the regular season.
“I don’t know what he says about me, but what I would say about him is he’s a hockey guy who’s in baseball,” laughed Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards, after that final practice. “He’s a great man.”
The two became acquainted when Richards coached the Wild, and there could be a reunion this Saturday. Richards is thinking of traveling to Cleveland for the Twins game against the Indians that afternoon.
Speaking of bromances…
When Ryan Johansen scored the game-winner against Carolina in overtime this past weekend, the first player to reach him to celebrate with him on the ice was Brandon Dubinsky…even though Dubinsky was on the bench when the goal was scored.
“Fastest I saw him skate all night,” Johansen joked.
For his part, Dubinsky denies taking lessons on bro-hugs from teammates Nick Foligno and Sergei Bobrovsky, who are famous for their postgame embraces.
“I don’t know if we’ve gotten to that level,” Dubinsky demured. Although he hinted that if the Jackets continue to win games, there could still be another exuberant display of affection.
“This is a great time of the season,” he said. “This is a lot fun to play in. You don’t really have much time to think. You just go out there and play and enjoy the moments. As a player growing up, this is sort of what you live for.”
No Time To Think…
After speaking to a half dozen Blue Jackets about their upcoming schedule, the consensus is that hitting the ice for 8 games in 12 nights is definitely a unique challenge. The only player who said he’d even come close to that was Derek MacKenzie, and that required him playing for two different teams to accomplish.
“One time I think I did four games in five nights, or five games in six nights,” he said of his time with the Chicago Wolves. “We were playing a best of five versus Grand Rapids, it was when the [AHL and NHL] finished at different times, and I got called up to Atlanta, played and then sent back for Game Five.”
Coach Todd Richards agrees that this is certainly uncommon. “I have not seen anything like this,” he said.