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04-01-2004, 04:19 PM
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TheStonedKoala Returns to Vancouver...

TheStonedKoala is Returning to Where it All Began
by Christoph C. Cobalt

With a cup of coffee in hand and little sleep, Stoney stepped off the plane and back into the familiar Northwest territory he once called home, even if it was for a few weeks. Still a bit bitter over the constant juggling of his roster status until he retired after not getting the contract negotiations he wanted, Stoney has softened up a bit after spending time in Cleveland and Houston.

"I was tired of the ____ they were throwing at me, you can only take so much you know?" He responded to me as I met him at the airport, having flown in six hours earlier. "I meant no ill will toward any of them. I love hockey, I love the sport but you know it does get tiring when you wake up in a hotel and your family lives 2,000 miles away."

What is he doing back in Vancouver?

"I got sent up here by Dallas to scout the Canucks during the playoffs," he said slyly. "It was a request I had put in, since the season is wrapping up and the playoffs are around the corner. I wanted to get settled back in."

Little did Stoney know I did some digging around in his files to see that there was an ulterior motive on why he was in Vancouver.

"I'm not going to comment on that but it is a sticking point on why I returned to Vancouver for the playoffs, I might put in a request to stay here full time, depending on what happens," Stoney responded as I asked him a couple questions. "I like Cleveland and Houston a lot but Vancouver...Vancouver will always be home to me."

Asked about how his movies are going and if he was still pursuing a writing career, Stoney laughed and shook his head.

"You never know man, with all the ____ I've been up too, I haven't had time but I got some great ideas," Stoney smirked. "I might even write a hockey script like Major League one of these days."

When questioned about Minnesota, Stoney hesistated and sighed.

"I went to see their -um- AHL team when I took a break last week from Cleveland and went home to Austin to see my family, they look good, the prospects they are bringing up look sharp and should be interesting season for them," Stoney responded quietly before I asked him what his feelings were about Minnesota. "I miss playing with the team, I miss having wingers like Bookman and NyCon by my side and Ceber backstopping me, making sure everything was okay, nothing slipped up..."

Finally asking about the playoffs, Stoney smiled big again as he stood by the doors leading out to Vancouver.

"I want to see the Nucks win, you know that, but you know what? I have a soft spot for the Predators, the Flames, the Lightning, the Senators, and the Canadians too," he laughed and shook his head. "May the best team win you know?"

Disposition changed, and a little bit lighter about what has been happening in his life, Stoney seems to be on the path to recovery after some hellish weeks bouncing around the league first as a player and then as a scout. Still quick to point out the faults in Minnesota, he has tried to take a softer approach to them and other teams.

Here's hoping he doesn't get shipped out again.