Thursday, 28 October 2010

must write something......

The only new exciting news in that past 12 days is that my mom was here in France! Oh it was also my 28th Birthday, and the first since I turned 20, that my mom was here for :) But other than that, nothing else really going on here. After writing those two lines above, I realize that I should have posted something before.... though at the time I guess I was just caught up in the moment.

Since I wont be seeing my family at Christmas time either, my mom arrived with not only birthday presents, but also some Christmas presents too. Last year she spent over $200 just sending them to Briancon. So this year, since she does her Christmas shopping like 4 months ahead of time anyways, she just decided to bring the presents with her. Then she wrapped them while I was at practice.

During her stay, we had a game in Morzine and though I thought I would be playing at the time she booked her flight, I still was not quite ready to go yet. So instead of driving up into the Alpes for the game, my mom and Marion went to Gerardmer for the day, while I accompanied my team for the game. Since our head coach was suspended, he asked me to run the Defense, to allow Féfé to concentrate solely on the forwards. This was actually pretty fun, I felt like I was in the game and he had me matching lines too, so I was constantly paying attention to the line changes and who was coming on the ice from their side. This sure beat sitting in the stands again. In the end, we lost 3-2 in OT, so we still got 1 point and were satisfied to head back to Epinal with it.

My mom left Epinal yesterday and drove to Frankfurt, where she spent the night before flying into Toronto today. She should be landing pretty soon too. If I know my mom, she would have arrived at the airport very early to ensure getting a great seat on the plane. This could be an Exit row, Bulkhead or at worst an aisle, all in that order. The reason Bulkhead ranks #2 is because the arm rests don't lift up, where as the exit row has the best of both worlds with the movable arm rest and comfy leg room.

Emergency Exit Row Seats. My mom's first choice :)

This Saturday we play Amiens at home. I would love to play in this contest, as I can no longer take watching the games without being able to have some effect on them. I am also getting tired of saying that my leg is getting better.. yada yada yada..... It is getting better, stronger, muscular etc... We have 2 practices before this game, I would love for tonight to be the night where the coach says "Ok, you look strong enough, you are skating well, you are in the lineup for Saturday." Wishful thinking, but you never know....... ;)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

I think I see the light....

I do not want to get to ahead of myself here, but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel (of recovery). This week I had planned on suiting up in full hockey gear and jumping into a few drills in practice. I wanted to start this on Monday, but for some reason when I went into my hockey bag, my jockstrap and garter belt were missing??? Honestly, who would steal that?

Anyways, so on Monday I skated in my "twist conditioning" track suit again and skated around in between drills. Tuesday there was a game, so I did not skate, then Wednesday was the big day...full equipment for the first time since I tried to practice in August, but basically since July. So with a new jockstrap, I got dressed, excited/nervous as I wondered how this would go. By the time I was fully dressed, I realized that I had no helmet. Our helmets were taken after Tuesday's game to get the new sponsors put on them. So there I am, in full hockey gear, all I wanted to do was get out there on the ice, this how been since August, and I sit there with no helmet. Not to be defeated this easily, I go search for a helmet and come accross an old white CCM helmet with a visor. We all know you don't put a visor on these old CCM buckets, though a few names do ring a bell... Guy Carbonneau, Stephan Lebeau from the 93 Habs Cup winning team!

Stephan Lebeau sporting the CCM Helmet with a visor

Where was I? Oh ya, so I find this helmet, give it a quick rinse as it smelled of Ricard, and head out onto the ice. So I am happy to be out there, but still do not feel complete just yet with this foreign bucket on my head, reeking of French Alcohol.

All things aside, I step out onto the ice and feel.......heavy. I felt so heavy, my knee felt ok, but I felt so amazingly slow. My roommate Loic Lacasse (goalie) just received his new pads, so he was out there too. Our feelings were parallel. He felt bulky and slow, as he was not only testing out new pads, blocker and trapper, but also a new chest protector (I think he refers to it as Plastron in Quebecois). All in all, the first day was a success and a necessary step to making regular appearances on the ice for practice. And just as I suspected, Thursday I had my new helmet, covered in sponsorships from a heating company to a night club, and with a small modification made to my shin pads, I felt pretty good, taking part in all but the contact drills. To bring it up a notch, last night was even better, as was present in all drills, of course a step behind, but I felt good enough to handle some 2 on 1 drills, breakouts and regroups.

With this weekend off from the ice, I will make sure to get my bike sprints in at the gym and a few workouts, to ensure that come Monday evening, I am going to be even stronger!

Before signing off here, on an unrelated note, I must acknowledge my very talented and gifted father Marty Gervais. Last night in Windsor, Ontario my father received an honorary Doctorate from Assumption University. My Dad, who I now refer to as Dr. Dad, is an instructor at the University of Windsor, he is a newspaper columnist, the founded Black Moss Press, a publishing firm and an avid hockey fan. He loves the Montreal Canadiens, Epinal Dauphins (Me) , Chicago Hitmen (brother Gabe's team) and Team Orange (older brother Andre's beer league team).

I am totally kidding about Andre's team, in a recent post I wrote how Andre played pro hockey, so he is a good player ;)

Though, "Dr. Dad" does share his passion of hockey with his 3 sons, he is known more for his writing and poetry. Below is a poem my father wrote while he was in the hospital when I was playing junior hockey in Canada for the Leamington Flyers. I love you dad, congratulations!!!

The Angel At My Bedside

for Stéphane

The pain tightens in my gut

I can’t sleep

my eyes are shut

I hear someone stir

believe it’s the man

in the bed across the room

stare into the darkness—

A dark figure looms

tall and lean poised

at the foot of my bed

Is this the angel of death?

I muse, but look closer

Make out red stitching

on a black jacket

Notice the letters Flyers

my 6 ft. son hovering

over my bed, whispering

something before placing

a cold puck into my right hand —

“A hat trick tonight, dad!”

I smile and place the puck

on the pillow beside me

and fall into a dream

of a boyhood in a city

up north when my body

moved with strength

and readiness on the ice

or so I believed

and believe now


poem from Taking My Blood,_Writer.html

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Back on the ice

Since returning on Friday night from Capbreton, I have been on the ice 3 times now. Each time feeling better than the day before. I was not really sure what to expect when I laced up my skates for the first time in months and stepped out onto the ice, but I quickly realized that I could skate again! The last time I had even attempted, was the team's first practice of the season and I had so much pain in my knee that I could not even push off or take a stride. Now I can skate comfortably with no pain, but it will still be about a week before I attempt the quick changes of direction and body contact that our great sport of hockey demands.

This week I have only been skating with a track suit on, just to make sure I can get full movements and range of motion and will continue this way until the weekend, though next week I hope to feel strong enough to get all the gear on and start taking part in our team practices.

It feels amazing to be back with the team again and since I am not playing, I got a membership at the local gym in town for the next 3 months, to ensure that my conditioning is the best it can be. This will include strength training workouts and exercises to focus on getting the muscle back in my leg, but mainly the bike sprints is where I can replicate the work the guys are doing during the games.

The return will be soon, I can feel it.......