Eric Comrie IIHF World Championship Journal #2
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Eric Comrie is currently overseas at the 2017 IIHF World Championship. He has kindly agreed to share his experience while he is in France, taking part in his first non-junior international competition for Team Canada. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look from one of the top young goalies in the game!
Day one is in the books! I was really happy to get going with the first day of the tournament. Looking back, we started off the morning with a pre-game skate. The guys were looking great out there. Calvin Pickard, who started the first game, was making some great saves early on, and it looked like he was tracking the puck well.
I didn’t get a lot of work in today because it was a pre-game skate and the two guys that were dressing for the game tonight had to feel the puck and get ready. I just hopped on after the team stretch with only about nine minutes left in the skate. I still managed to get a pretty good sweat on, though.
We did a little forward shooting drill with a cycle with a 2-on-0 from behind the net. The guy would come around and pass it out in front, and the other shooter would have to fire a quick one-timer at the net.
It was a bit of an adjustment from day one. We had a practice ice time that day, but we were skating on the main rink today because we had a game later. The practice rink is NHL-sized, which is smaller. The main rink is a much bigger Olympic-sized ice sheet. It’s an adjustment when you push off your post. I had to stay deeper in order to get my angles down, because I didn’t want to over push. Once I got my bearings, I could start taking my usual amount of depth. It’s all about feel.
The bigger ice is certainly tough to get used to for your angles and reads. You really need to stay patient, or else you’ll start to overplay things. If you play a smart, patient game – the bigger ice can work wonders for a goaltender. It almost makes the game a bit easier.
After the skate we headed back to the hotel with a police escort. Hockey Canada treats us great, and makes sure we’re safe with the police escorts, and a security team following us around. They have done a very good job at keeping us organized.
Then we had a pre-game meal, and afterwards I headed down for a little nap. When I woke up, Chris Lee, who also wasn’t playing in the game, went with me to the players lounge to have a ping pong battle. If we are both going to stay out of the lineup, I think we’ll keep doing that. Not only is it a lot of fun, it also keeps your hand-eye coordination going. It’s actually one of my favourite sports besides hockey!
Then we hopped into the car and headed to the game. It’s a beautiful arena in Paris, absolutely fantastic. I was pleased to see how nice it was, and the game had a great turnout. It was a loud stadium with a huge crowd, which made it a fun game to watch.
The Czechs came out hard to start the game, but Picks was too good. He had some longer shots early in the game which allowed him to get a feel, and his timing down. He settled in really nicely. He agreed with me after the game when we talked about it. Pickard was reading the back-door plays really well. He knew exactly when to play deeper in certain situations. His hands were great from start to finish.
Petr Mrazek was great at the other end as well. He made some huge saves, especially on a couple of back-door plays, like Pickard. Mrazek’s best save was when he made an outstanding blocker stop coming across in the first period, it was pretty special to watch. Both of those guys are premier athletes, and they battle extremely hard. Even on the first goal against Pickard, he made a back-door save, then he almost got across with his glove while diving over. It was a great game from both goalies.
Nothing better than seeing Canada win, and both goalies picking up player-of-the-game honours! It was a very successful first game of the tournament.