So a commenter earlier suggested that all pro hockey teams warm up with a soccer ball, but I'm here to tell you it's not so. In the past, for instance, the Caps' most famous warm-up was conducted with a good old American football, provided by the Redskins, which Brian Muir, Olie Kolzig, backup goalie Brent Johnson and others would gun at each other. Brian Pothier then arrived in D.C. from the Euro-centric team in Ottawa, where a soccer game known as Sewer Ball (I think) was especially popular and was dominated by Euros such as Christoph Schubert (a German) and Daniel Alfredsson (a Swede).
So Pottsie, as he's known, started his own Sewer Ball game in D.C., a game that has gradually grown and now at least occasionally includes Pottsie, Muir, Kolzig, Johnson, Donald Brashear, Mike Green, Steve Eminger and Brooks Laich. It's sort of like hacky sack; you're allowed two touches of a poorly inflated soccer ball at a time before you have to pass it off, and whoever screws up gets eliminated until there's a one-on-one final. Some of the team's Euros (Jakub Klepis, Alexander Semin, Tomas Fleischmann) run their own soccer circle that occasionally joins the other game's orbit. And the North Americanos claim they've made rapid improvements since Pothier's arrival.
"We were awful at it; we were so bad," Muir said. "But we've improved amazingly now, so that we can actually keep it in the air for a couple minutes at a time sometimes. We're still not great, but we're battling through."
"Right now we're all pretty fresh, we're pretty amateur right now," Pottsie agreed. "By the end of the year, we'll have pretty intense games. They're getting pretty fired up....The Europeans, they grew up playing. We're getting better though."
The consensus was that Semin and Klepis are probably the most skilled Euros, and that Johnson is the best of the non-Euros, although Green cast a strong vote for himself.
(And speaking of Pothier, he could be on the line for some dollars tonight. When players have a lot on the line--facing their old team, for example--they're expected to put their jersey number and a dollar amount on the dry erase board in the dressing room. If the team wins, the player contributes that much money to the team fund. Ben Clymer told me to ask Pothier how much he'd be putting on the board tonight for his first game against his ex-team.
"We'll see how the mood strikes me tonight," Pothier said with a smile.)
The comments to this entry are closed.