Vancouver Canucks winger David Booth worked on his shooting this lockout-lengthened off-season, and managed some quality practice time in the hockey rink, as well.
Booth, 28, was shrouded in controversy this past spring when he tweeted a photo of a black bear he bagged on a hunting trip in Alberta and then a video of the kill not long after the Canucks were ousted from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the first round.
In addition to the photo of Booth, four friends and the lifeless bear, he tweeted: “Just killed a Chara sized bruin! 7ft black bear- 21in skull.”
Part of the public uproar had to do with the fact Booth, who chose a bow as his weapon of choice, used a technique called bear baiting, which is legal in Alberta but against the law in 18 of 29 U.S. states that allow bear hunting, according the Humane Society of the United States.
On Thursday, Booth answered to the storm his hunting tweets created.
“My twitter is just my personal life. I guess that’s what fans want to know,” he told reporters.
“Some people support it, some people don’t. Sorry for the people I offended; that’s something that wasn’t intended. I’m just really passionate about it and that’s something I enjoy doing.
“I toned it down a little bit, believe it or not.”
In addition to his outdoor adventures, he talked hockey, too.
Booth comes back to Vancouver for his first full regular season, albeit an abbreviated version, due to the lockout.
The Canucks acquired him in a trade with the Florida Panthers in October of 2011, but he struggled offensively at various times, with only one goal in his final 16 games, including regular season and playoffs.
He was also sidelined for almost six weeks from Dec. 6 to Jan. 15 after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Colorado Avalanche centre Kevin Porter.
One could argue that the ensuing MCL sprain may have disrupted any momentum the winger was picking up nearly two months into in his tenure.
“I think I’ve gone to two extremes in hockey markets, from Florida to here,” said Booth.
“And that’s alright. I’m excited for it and I’m glad I’m going through this. This is something that develops your character a little bit.”
ROBERTO LUONGO IS IN TOWN AND SO ARE RAMPANT TRADE RUMOURS
Roberto Luongo, one-half of the Vancouver Canucks goaltending duo – at least for now – is in the city and expected to be at training camp when it opens Sunday.
“He’s a member of our organization, he’s an important member of our organization and like every other player under contract to us, he will be in camp,” Canucks assistant general manager and VP of hockey operations Laurence Gilman told the Team 1040 radio station Thursday.
Luongo could also skate with his teammates Friday at UBC.
It’s a good chance that a large crush of media will also be in attendance, considering the ongoing trade rumours surrounding Luongo.
The buzz is that Luongo will likely be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs once members of the NHL Players’ Association ratify the tentative agreement with the NHL owners that ended the lockout last Sunday.
Dave Nonis – named the Leafs new general manager Wednesday morning after Brian Burke was fired – was the GM in Vancouver when the Canucks acquired Luongo in June of 2006.
Wednesday night, talk appeared on Twitter that the Philadelphia Flyers were also interested in Luongo.