THEY lingered in the dressing room longer than usual, undoubtedly trading stories and barbs while soaking up every moment of being together.
NHL players are missing not just the game and the paycheques due to the lockout, they're missing one of the first things retired players speak about when they walk away from the game: the camaraderie in the locker-room.
"It's something you maybe take for granted when you're playing," said Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd after Saturday's "Goals For Dreams" charity game. "When you don't have it, you miss it. That's an unfortunate part of what's going on right now. Everyone here enjoyed that opportunity and to be able to play a game."
"That's what you get used to doing every day, being around the guys," added Jonathan Toews. "It's just a different feel right now. There's scattered all over, maybe a couple of guys in each city skating and working out. It's definitely not the same routine as you have normally."
MR. HONEST: Here's Tanner Glass when asked if the game Saturday helped feed his fix for game action:
"I think I got worse out there today, as far as hockey goes," said Glass with a chuckle. "But it's fun. It's a good bunch of guys involved and it's for a good cause. That was the main thing today, to help out the charities.
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: Toews, on former teammate and current Jet captain Ladd: "He's done such a good job so far here. I call him 'Captain Winnipeg.' He's the golden boy here in Winnipeg. He's just an all-round great guy and he does things the right way. He's a real pro."
PLAN B: As the lockout drags on, more and more players are again considering options overseas.
Said Glass: "I'd like to... but I don't know how many teams are looking for a third- or fourth-line grinder over there. If the season gets cancelled I'd definitely look over there..."
And Toews: "I always answer that question by saying I want to be in Chicago. I want to be playing for the Hawks and those fans there. I owe everything to them for the great five years that I've had. But if the situation arises and opportunities come around you have to do what you have to do in that situation. I'm a hockey player and if that's the way it's going to be, we'll see what happens."
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THE 4-1-1 ON THE 'GOALS FOR DREAMS' GAME
The result: Team Ladd defeated Team Stuart, 14-8
The cheque: $80,000 presented to The Dream Factory and The Children's Hospital Foundation
The snipers (unofficial)
Team Ladd: Troy Brouwer (3), Jonathan Toews (2), Patrolman Dale Butland (2), Andrew Ladd (2), Bryan Little, Thomas Steen (on a goofy penalty shot in which he used a short plastic stick -- Theo Fleury's, joked referee Ron Hoggarth), Jim Slater, Patrolman Brian Hearn, Patrolman Al Mymryk.
Team Stuart: Colin Wilson (3), Ryan Reaves (2), Olli Jokinen, Mike Richards, Patrolman Max Waddell.
Quotable 1: Here's Andrew Ladd on if the result proved he has a future as a GM: "Either I'm really good or Stuey (Mark Stuart) is really bad. We had fun and it didn't matter what the score was. The charities were the one's that really won the game."
Ladd Quotable II: "It was awesome. Right from the get-go, not only the turnout, but the support from the businesses that helped us out in sponsoring the event and sponsoring the individual players was awesome. Everyone was eager to get involved and to help out. This wouldn't have been possible without their support."
Spotted: A banner done up by the U of M Engineering band: "Hey NHLers -- No Job? -- Join Engineering!"
No-no: The game was to feature no body-checking or slapshots. That didn't stop Jonathan Toews from unloading a couple of howitzers. Asked about it afterward, Toews grinned sheepishly and said: "I didn't know about that. Oops. I tried not to hit the goalie anyways, so..."