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Putting on game face

By Rick Tabaracci -Special to the Sun
April 18, 1996

CHICAGO -- I'm sure game day isn't as exciting as many people think.
It's actually a pretty simple day for the most part.
You get up at 8 a.m, when you're on the road, go downstairs to one of the familiar restaurants and have a little breakfast.
I'll read the morning paper and check out what the other teams have been doing, along with all the news we missed while we were flying out here.
After breakfast we take a cab to the rink to get there early.
It takes some of us longer than others to warm up -- the team bus usually rolls in about a half hour after I get to the rink.
The equipment is always set up regardless of what time we get in the night before. Our training staff -- Bobby Stewart, Bearcat, Terry Kane and Tony Oumerov -- does such a great job.
After everyone is ready, we go onto the ice for the morning skate, which is about 30 minutes to stretch out and get a feel for the building we're in.
It also helps you get into a rhythm -- as a goalie you get comfortable on the ice taking a few shots and working up a light sweat.
After the morning skate, we take the team bus back to the hotel where we have a team meal set up. It's always buffet style, with chicken. pastas, baked potatoes, vegetables.
Then we go back to our rooms. My roommate is Dean Evason. We sleep for 90 minutes or so.
Then it's back downstairs to grab a coffee and maybe a bagel or muffin at the nearby coffee shop and into the cab and down to the rink early again.
Last night I sat down to write this when I got to the rink, since Kidder was getting the start.
When you prepare for a game you play, you start to think about it off and on through the day, but it really starts when you get to the rink.
Doing the homework:
With Chicago you may look over the linup to know which guys to key in on, to be aware of certain guys when they're on the ice.
It's easier to prepare for the playoff than regular season because you're playing the same guys.
With the 'Hawks, you look for Jeremy Roenick, Joe Murphy, Tony Amonte, Murray Craven and, of course, their two big D men Chelios and Suter.
After working on a few sticks and stretching, I'll start getting dressed about 6:30 for a 7:30 game.
We have a pre-game skate at about five minutes to 7 for 20 minutes just to feel the puck again and for everyone to loosen up.
Then it's back into the dressing room where the coach will come in for one last talk about seven minutes before we head out for the game start.
I'll take my sweater and arm and shoulder pads off but I keep my pads on.
It's difficult to go into a game when you're not starting because you're cold and haven't taken the warmup like you would when you're playing.
Then the exciting part of the day starts.

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