'Old Man' Connolly cramps up
Team Canada forward Brett Connolly cramped up during his first practice back with the world junior team on Sunday.
"It was uptempo just like a typical Don Hay practice so it was good," said Connolly, who has been loaned to Canada by the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It was just like the summer camp. It was good for everybody to get a hard practice under their belts.
"I was just cramping up a bit. I didn't have enough Gatorade. It was a hard practice and I lost a lot of water and it was just a little cramp."
CANADA'S 'OLD MAN'
The sight of Connolly struggling at the bench will only embolden some of his teammates who have given him the nickname, "Old Man."
"We call him the Old Man," Jaden Schwartz, who was on last year's Canadian team with Connolly, confirmed. "I don't know if it's the facial hair that makes him look older or what it is, but we've been bugging him. I know last year we were bugging him too about being old."
"He's got a full facial beard and everything going," said Quinton Howden, who was also on last year's team. "He looks like he's too old."
For the record, 19-year-old Connolly is five months younger than Howden and only two months older than Schwartz.
A clean-shaven Connolly played coy when questioned about his nickname.
"Who said that?" he asked before claiming he had no clue as to its origin.
"I have no idea. I remember last year a few of the guys were joking around a little bit. It's all in good fun."
'A HIDDEN HUMOUR'
"He's a good sport," said Schwartz. "It's just fun and jokes. When he says he's cramping up and everyone else looks pretty good you just bug him, because 'he's old.'"
With the selection camp so short – the final exhibition game is Tuesday – cohesion is important and Connolly's ability to loosen up his teammates is an asset.
"It's kind of a hidden humour," said Howden. "It comes natural to him. Just the things he says come off as funny."
"He likes cracking jokes," said Schwartz. "His humour kind of relaxes everyone a little bit."