NOTEBOOK

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Fifty-two playing cards are a whole lot easier to pick up from a 10-foot radius in a living room than 52 pucks are from a hockey rink 200 feet long by 85 feet wide.

Just ask Danick Hudon-Paquette.

Assigned with clearing all pucks off the ice after practice (because, as fellow rookie Peter Delmas puts it, he doesn’t help with anything else), Paquette slowly started firing all of the pucks from one end of the ice to the other, to make it easier on himself.

Twenty-year-old Triston Manson, Timberland boots and all, grabbed his stick from the locker room and started floating pucks back toward the far end of the rink.

At his wits end, Paquette yelled at Manson, four years his elder. His face bore a scowl.

Manson agreed to go pick up his pucks, but as he fired them back toward Paquette, he also tried to hit him with shots much harder than when he was shooting at the empty net on the other end.

Eventually, Paquette picked up all of his pucks and went home.

Pick a post, any post

Paquette, the Maineiacs’ only 16-year-old forward skater, is always the last off the ice.

Last week at practice, Paquette stayed on the ice and started shooting pucks at the net, trying to hit the posts from about 10 feet out.

Veteran forward Eric Castonguay came flying onto the ice in street clothes and shoes, and started doing the same.

And he started to show the youngster up. Calling his posts, Castonguay hit all three – crossbar, left and right – in succession.

As he bragged, Paquette clanged his own off the crossbar.

A competition was born.

The players assigned five points to the cross bar, another value to the posts and then subtracted points for missing the net. After trading shots, Castonguay again started going on a roll.

Castonguay ran cheering from the ice, hands raised in celebration, while Paquette finished picking up the pucks, kicking ice chips all the while.

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