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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
01/18/2007 2:09 PM
by Mike Ulmer

It is, says Jason LaBarbera, a bit like college.

“The NHL and the AHL are different money-wise,” he said. “The cities are different and because the guys in the NHL are older, they go home to their families. But in the American League, a lot more guys are single so they’re more likely to go in a group of seven or eight for dinner.”

That’s why for many, the AHL represents the good old days, a time when the game and the life was simpler. It’s why players invariably take the good (the friends, the times with teammates), with the bad (the disappointments and the travel) and remember only the good.

“Obviously, everyone wants to play in the NHL,” LaBarbera said, “but the biggest thing is to enjoy what you are doing. This is our life and we love it.”

LaBarbera, a 27-year-old backstop for the Manchester Monarchs (top affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings), is the starting Canadian All-Star goaltender for the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, scheduled for Ricoh Coliseum on January 28-29. He will be opposed in the PlanetUSA net by Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens) star Jaroslav Halak.

Over the last decade, LaBarbera has played in the Western Hockey League, the NHL, the AHL and the East Coast Hockey League. He logged 29 games for the Kings in 2005-06.

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