The best part about August in Minnesota? If you look hard enough, you'll find a hockey game somewhere!
Saturday, many NHLstars, as well as up and comers, got together at Ridder Arena to raise some money for Hockey Wilderness's favorite charity, Defending the Blue Line. The roster included names like Josh Harding, Nate Prosser, Stephane Veilleux, Kyle Okposo (or OK POSO according to his jersey), Michael Condon , Jeff Taffe, Nate Schmidt, Nick Bjugstad, Matt Hendricks, Brock Nelson, and many others. The full roster can e found here, and includes a full video of the entire game!
By far, the most entertaining part of the game Saturday was trying to watch Harding skate as a forward. Most people know that goalie blades are a bit wider and longer than regular hockey skates, which gives goalies more stability when they are playing net. The trade off however, is less agility and pretty much no speed.
The adjustment for Harding was pretty rough. I started calling him "Bambi" during the game, which Prosser decided was an appropriate nickname for Harding from this point on. There is no way to describe how hilarious Harding looked trying to skate bow-legged and rocky. Watching the video above just to see it is totally worth it.
Once Harding sort of got his legs beneath him, he realized there was no way he could keep up with the rest of the guys who actually skate up and down a rink for a living. He decided to change his strategy to hooking. On everyone. Even his own teammates. At one point, he stick actually got stuck in someone's jersey.
To be fair, after the game we asked Harding how hard it was to skate as a forward. He revealed that he hadn't actually skated on normal skates for over 15 years. We love you Josh, but please stick to goaltending.
Other highlights include Fox9's Ian Leonard getting upset at the refs and throwing a pile of sticks out on the ice mid-game, and a center ice line "brawl", which ended up giving Team Canada a penalty shot. Harding took the shot and pulled a Cal Clutterbuck by shooting high and wide, straight into the glass.
In the post game interviews, Kare11's Dave Schwartz stated that Team USA's win was all due to his excellent coaching, and that he would be willing to listen to offers from NHL teams to coach. He may actually be on to something, as he is now 3-0 behind the bench for Defending the Blue Line.
Just a quick note relating to the charity and one of the newest editions to the Minnesota Wild, Matt Cooke was unable to participate in the event but did donate 5,000 in Derek Boogaard's name for the cause last week.
Stay tuned for the rest of the week, Agnes and I have a few more articles up our sleeves relating to Defending the Blue Line.