Sunday, December 25, 2005

A RIB-TICKLING BUZZ

As a hockey coach, Paul Maurice is as famous for his wit as for his proficiency. He is famous for cracking up a press conference. An NHL coach at age 28, one whom Leaf fans best remember as the bench boss behind the Carolina Hurricanes' rise to the 2002 Stanley Cup final, Maurice now calls the shots with the Toronto Marlies. At that time, for the older players, there was a certain respect to the title, head coach, and your job is to keep that respect. And when respect is the most important thing for a coach, a lot of guys played for coaches and did not respect one bit, but they had confidence in them at game time. He is the person who has encountered unique incidents. As a junior, he was struck in the eye with a puck, which obviously ended his playing career. In his own words,” One, I lost most of my eye, and I got injured at birth because I lost most of my talent. But that (puck in the eye) was indirectly the best thing that ever happened to me because I don't think I'd have ever played in the NHL.” Unbelievably, the thing that he would have inherited came to him incidentally, since his father lost the sight in his right eye while shovelling snow, and his brother Mike was born without sight in his right eye. And a society of one-eyed people doesn’t get any extraordinary attention. Maurice, now 38, says his wife and kids keep him grounded.

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