Mannequins. Durable, cheap, coachable.
Used for goaltenders to practice battling screens, for forwards as a passing tool and for defencemen to work on getting pucks to the net through and around shot-blockers, these Crash Test Dummy-looking pylons serve their purpose for sure, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a straight-up ghoulish sight for some Chicago Blackhawks players who now have to go head-to-head with these monsters on a drill-to-drill basis.
The team has deployed these all-time creepy ‘defenders’ in recent practices, and it sounds like they’re here to stay, folks. Drink it in:
Two mannequins now. One day we might show up and see 18 of them.
Btw, their helmet numbers are 53 and 41. So Mashinter and McNeill.
— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) October 15, 2018
— Chris Boden (@BodenTweets) October 15, 2018
Forward Nick Schmaltz agrees with most people on this one and was rightfully weary the first time he laid eyes on these two peeping weirdos before a skate.
“It’s creepy when they’re sitting on the wall there. You catch yourself looking because you think it’s an actual person.” he said to NHL.com’s Tracey Myers.
Alex DeBrincat seconded his teammate’s sentiments, saying the mannequins “kind of creep me out. I see them in the training room, sometimes I think it’s a real person dressed up over there.”
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) October 15, 2018
These things give off a freakishly real vibe, especially when decked out in Blackhawks helmets and gear. Not only do they look the part, the dynamic duo plays the part, as well, according to head coach Joel Quenneville — who praised one of his newest recruits after his second one-ice session.
“I thought [mannequin No. 1] picked it up a little more today,” he said. “He went from just OK to OK.”
Captain Jonathan Toews is also a proponent of the gritty, immobile defenders, saying, “They were doing a hell of a job out there. Standing around just like we need them too.”
Creepy yet effective — peak performance always comes at a cost.