Stan Butler's Diary

DAY FIVE MOSCOW - Dec. 30, 2000
Day off

We had a good team day today - something we needed after the loss to the Russians. The guys seemed a little down during breakfast and before our practice.

But after they got out onto the ice you could almost see the stress melting away. That's the thing about hockey players - or athletes in general, I guess - over and above everything else they just love to play. I've been around hockey players all my life and I can tell you that hockey players are never much happier than when they're out there on the ice... skating, shooting, creating and playing.

After practice we took a bus down to the Kremlin and walked around Red Square. It was a pretty interesting place. It's one of those places that you've seen hundreds of times in books or in news footage on tv. But when you're actually standing there looking at Lenin's Tomb or St. Basil's Cathedral, it's a different experience.

The architecture and the sense of history are amazing. Another thing I found to be interesting was the number of people trying to sell you stuff on the street. Hats, pins, dolls. You name it, we were offered it. I ended up buying a couple of those Russian dolls that you take apart (with another smaller one inside another smaller one, etc.). I got the dolls for my kids, by the way. I'm not into doll collecting. Maybe I'll save that for my retirement years (or, maybe not!).

Brad Boyes bought one of those big Russian fur hats. I think it only cost him twenty bucks. We all took pictures and had a few laughs. I think I heard a couple of the guys calling Brad "comrade Boyes" when he put his new hat on. I doubt he'll be wearing that around Erie much when he gets home!

You could see by the laughter and the jokes that it was good just to get away from the rink as a team for a few hours. I must say, we really are a team now in the truest sense of the word. These guys are tight and that can only be good looking ahead to the final week of this tournament and the battles we're going to have to fight together.

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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications