We'll open our 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame blog with a funny story from Gary Roberts about Doug Gilmour. Roberts talked to me about his relationship with Joe Nieuwendyk for this story, but he also played with Gilmour in Calgary and Ed Belfour in Toronto.
When St. Louis shipped Doug Gilmour to the Flames, he bought ex-NHLer Craig Berube's house that was located just down the street in the same South Calgary development as where Gary Roberts lived.
Roberts and Gilmour became immediate friends and carpool mates, even if it meant Gilmour had to wait for the younger Roberts a few times.
"We drove to the rink together every day that Doug was in Calgary," Roberts told NHL.com in a phone interview. "It'd be a 10 o'clock practice and he was supposed to be picking me up at 8:30 to get to the rink by 9. I'd be walking down the stairs at a quarter to 8 in the morning and he'd already be waiting in his truck. I'd go over there and I'd be like, 'What are you hear so early for.' He would say he was just trying to enjoy his coffee, eat his muffin and read the paper. I'd come out, jump in the car and we'd go."
Roberts, a well-documented workout guru, recalls marveling at how Gilmour somehow came to training camp in unbelievable shape despite barely seeing him work out during the offseason months.
"He was not a big workout guy, but we'd get to training camp and he'd be leading all the races. It would look like he was training all summer, but I didn't see him very often and I was living down the street from him," Roberts said. "I was out running every day, biking, trying to get in shape, and then in the first practice in training camp he's skating by me like I'm standing still. I thought, he must workout in his closet. He would always chuckle because he would see me out running around, riding, trying to get in shape but he'd just walk into training camp and start skating laps around everybody.
"He was a very gifted player who was 170 pounds soaking wet and played like a 200-pound guy. When the game was on the line, you wanted Doug Gilmour on the ice."
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