If Abbott and Costello had ever done a routine in hockey skates, they might have been mistaken for Dan Glover and Evan Salmela.
While these two senior blueliners for the men’s hockey team might not often find their names in headlines, their complementary personalities have earned them notoriety with their teammates.
“Evan, he’s always good for a couple of laughs. It’s fun to hang out with him,” said senior forward Mark McCutcheon. “Danny’s more of a quiet guy, but when he speaks people listen to him.”
With the defensive ranks depleted following the 2005-06 season as teammates left East Hill with degrees or contracts with NHL teams in hand, Glover and Salmela remain as the only four-year defenders for the Red. Both seemed poised to lock down spots in the starting rotation in their final campaign after posting their best seasons in a Cornell sweater last year.
However, while Salmela has been an active presence on the ice for the Red thus far, Glover fides himself relegated to crutches after undergoing hip surgery last week.
“It was a really difficult decision. I had to decide whether to battle through the pain,” Glover said. “After skating a few times when I got back to Ithaca [this summer], I knew right away that things weren’t right.”
It’s not an unfamiliar situation for Glover, who has been forced off the ice by injury before.
“I know it’s extremely frustrating with the kind of injuries he’s had, it’s been very very hard to detect, so he’s been kind of battling to figure out what it is,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “He obviously brings experience — he’s been in a lot of different situations for us and when healthy, he’s been able to play against the other team’s top forwards and kill penalties for us.”
Glover played in a career-high 28 games last year, contributing five points and finishing the year with a +6 rating. This year, Salmela will look to have a career year of his own after seeing action in 17 games in 2005-06, the most playing time the Whitefish Bay, Wisc., native has seen in a single campaign at Cornell.
“He’s doing a good job back there the first two games, playing his position and moving the puck well,” said sophomore goaltender Troy Davenport. “Hopefully it continues and everyone else follows and it meshes together real quick for us here.”
While Salmela has brought consistent play on game nights, he also provides comic relief to lighten the workload in practice.
“I don’t think he’s trying to be funny, but just the way he does stuff — he always talks to people, everybody’s trying to get a laugh out of him. He’s a great guy,” Davenport said. “He’s one of the more funny guys on the team.”
But even the funny guy knows it takes a serious work ethic to build a team capable of achieving the success Cornell has come to expect.
“[Glover and I] didn’t play every game every year, so you just keep at it,” Salmela said. “Even when you’re not playing on the weekend you still have to work your [butt] off at practice, so just learn that and you learn that it’s a long season … so that’s something you try to pass on.”
For now, Glover will turn that attitude to his recovery, which he reports is on the right track with the return of full range of motion already achieved. He hopes to be ready to play by January, when the dynamic duo will be reunited in game situations.
“We’re both kind of laid back guys; we’re not really intense personalities,” Glover said. “We have to lead by example.”