Canucks’ David Booth returns to the ice
September 6, 2013
The Park City Ice Arena was completely quiet on Monday morning, save for the sounds of one man’s slashing skates and labored breathing.
After launching a puck into the net of the lone goal on the ice, Vancouver Canucks winger David Booth skated back to center ice hunched over, elbows on his knees.
Seconds later, he was at it again hopping side to side, stick above his head, before launching into a sprint, snagging the puck and firing another shot into the net.
After suffering a season-ending ankle injury during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 NHL season, Booth is working his way back into playing shape before heading off to the Canucks’ preseason training camp.
"I had ankle surgery this past year and it takes a long time to start feeling normal out there," he said. "But it’s actually feeling really good now. In mid-August, I was really starting to question whether I’d be able to start [the 2013-14 season] on time."
But, for the second-straight year, Booth, who was born and raised in Michigan, was able to make it up to Park City to do some high-intensity training.
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"I think late August/early September is probably the toughest time of the whole hockey season getting ready for training camp," he said. "You train off ice, you train on ice hard sometimes more than you even do during training game getting ready for testing and the season. Coming up to Park City and training at the altitude I think really just intensifies it and gets you ready even faster."
Booth enjoys visiting Park City, even if the workouts at altitude are more brutal than he’s used to.
"This is my second year of doing this," he said. "I have a good friend who has been very generous to let me come up here and use his place. It’s become one of my favorite places in the world. It’s been awesome and I hope I can keep coming back here for years to come."
Next year, though, he hopes he’s not coming back to Park City to rehab an injury.
"Obviously, my number one goal is to stay healthy," he said. "Playing all 82 games is a huge goal. If I play hard and get an opportunity to play all 82 games, I think I can get back to producing the highest numbers I’ve ever produced in the NHL."
And, when he comes back to Park City next year, he hopes to have some hardware to show off.
"I think we have a team where we can go and win a Stanley Cup," he said. "So that’s definitely the biggest team goal."
An Olympic gold medal would be nice, too, Booth said.
"I really believe that a quick start to the season could lead to me playing there [in Sochi, Russia, for Team USA]," he said. "I think my game suits what [the Team USA coaches] are looking for. USA’s got so many skill players [Patrick] Kane, [Zach] Parise, the list goes on. If I can bring some speed and a battle mentality to the team, that’s what I’ll do."
But, for now, he said he’s just happy to be back on the ice and feeling healthy.
"I was glad I was able to get out here and do my normal exercises," he said. "If you can stay away from injuries, that’s when you’re able to get in a rhythm, get in a flow and keep your coordination and your speed."
The Canucks are scheduled to play their first preseason game at home against the San Jose Sharks on Sept. 16.
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