RALEIGH — Tim Gleason, figure skater?
That's not going to happen. But Gleason, a rough-and-tumble defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes, did get a few figure-skating tips Wednesday at the RBC Center, courtesy of U.S. Olympians Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora.
Gleason tried a waltz jump. He attempted a mini-Axel and a few other moves. Suffice it to say his skates were not off the ice for long.
"I don't trust myself to get that high," Gleason said, smiling. "I just kept it low key."
All three were in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Gleason with Team USA for the hockey competition, and Ladwig and Evora participating in the figure-skating pairs competition for the U.S. Gleason brought back a silver medal while Ladwig and Evora finished 10th overall but first among the Americans.
Ladwig and Evora were in town on a media tour to promote the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, to be held Jan. 22-30 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. They also did a few promotional spots for the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 29-30 at the RBC Center.
Ladwig and Evora showed Gleason some of their best moves, while Gleason gave them some quick instructions on the proper technique on slap shots.
As for Gleason's marks for his waltz jump?
"I would have to give it deductions for the artistic mark," Ladwig deadpanned. "But in terms of technical ability and lack of experience, I would give him a 6.0 on that.
"I think he was playing up the fact he's a hockey player. I think he can skate. I know he could probably whip me nine ways to Sunday if we were out here playing anything."
Ladwig, who grew up in Minnesota, is a big hockey fan. He said he played the sport until he was 12, finishing his career as a goalie.
"I couldn't shoot, as you could witness today," he joked.
Ladwig and Evora claimed the silver medal in last year's U.S. Championships, earning the trip to Vancouver. In August, they were ranked 14th internationally by the International Skating Union.
Gleason said Ladwig's and Evora's slapshots were "impressive," saying he'd give them a score of 9.5. Some of the pair's skating moves also drew some raves.
"It was fun to see their talents," Gleason said. "I don't have many talents, other than maybe shooting or hitting somebody."
Gleason can now trade notes with Jeff Skinner, the Canes' first-round draft pick. Skinner was a nationally ranked figure skater in Canada as a teen.
Word has it Skinner still can do a single Axel in full hockey gear. Maybe Gleason will give it a try now that he's had a lesson.
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