When we arrived in Glendale, Arizona, Tuesday night, I shook hands with the recently recalled Joe LaBate, welcoming him to the team.
“Thanks,” he grinned, “but that photo? Come on!”
I was as lost in that moment as you are reading this.
Then it hit me: when we recalled the forward from Utica this past Monday, I used a draft photo from when the Canucks selected him 101st overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota.
Download. Crop. Upload. Tweet. Instagram. Facebook. Moving on.
Not so fast.
One of the first Instagram comments on the photo (below) was from Thatcher Demko, LaBate’s teammate with the Comets. ‘Tough pic,’ he commented.
“The guys have been all over me for that one,” he said Wednesday after morning skate. “I haven’t heard the end of it.”
“You talking about that Insta pic?!” chimed in Ben Hutton, from across the room. “That was harsh!”
Since LaBate has never played an NHL game, there are no action shots of LaBate playing an NHL game on Getty, our photo source that doesn’t shoot pre-season games. Old “harsh” headshot it was.
That changes tonight.
LaBate will make his NHL debut against the Coyotes, filling in for an injured Jack Skille, who is day-to-day after suffering an upper body injury.
LaBate found out he was playing during morning skate and spent extra time on the ice to ensure he’s ready. Then, despite an 8 p.m. puck drop (Arizona time), LaBate was first at the rink at 5 p.m. He walked to the rink with Brendan Gaunce, the pair discussing Gaunce’s first NHL game in Dallas.
LaBate somehow managed to sneak a nap in this afternoon and, well rested, he had a little swagger in his step pre-game. He’s excited and rightfully so.
Whether he’s more excited about the game or the action photos from the game remains to be seen.
Derek Jory – @NoJoryous