More thoughts about camp, the rookies, and the vets! I got to stay for the full scrimmage today, and I came away with pages and pages of notes. I will try to maintain brevity, tho, and just get my points across. [Note: I just finished, and I guess I'm not into the whole brevity thing. Sorry for the long read...]
I'll divide this up into three parts: The actual practice, scrimmage in the east rink, and scrimmage in the west rink.
I got to practice a little late today. They were just finishing up laps and started straight away into odd man rush drills with a feed from the blueline. After that they did a few puck handling drills and laps before doing end to end 2 on 2s. There was little emphasis on taking the body, but more about movement, positioning, and stickwork.
Delmas: I talked yesterday about how Delmas plays small; after reading Guild's posts about his style I checked him out more carefully. The butterfly really is very technical, but the great thing about his work is the speed that he has going down into it and popping out of it, as well as his lateral. It looked a lot better in gameplay simulations than it did yesterday in just shooting drills. One thing that I especially noticed about him was that even tho he is all the way down, his trunk remains tall and his shoulders wide. One of the things that killed me about Boods late in the season was that he would drop down and leave room up high for someone to just flip it up and over. Delmas looked like he could cover that with his posture even while in the butterfly. I have hope for him under Roy for sure.
Duchene: I didn't really watch him that much yesterday, but I definitely noticed him today. I won't get too deep into it since Dario did yesterday, but he does have very quick feet, great vision, and a quick, fast wristshot. He is just what we want him to be.
David Marshall: Marshall had a great, great shot during the 2 on 2s, putting a perfect top shelf shot over Delmas's stick while driving the net. It was good enough I watched him for a little bit, but nothing else he did really impressed me. His puck control is a little weak, his skating is nothing special... etc. We will have to see how he does in Lake Erie.
East Rink Scrimmage:
I went straight over to this rink once the practice finished up. I noticed that Koci was the first one on the ice on that side; he was the first one out there yesterday too. About half of the rookies and some vets came in start shooting around and warming up before the scrimmage started. An incomplete list: Hendricks, Wolski, Hejduk, Salei, Quincey, Cumiskey, Durno, Fritsche, Montgomery, Yip, Mercier, Tessier, Barrie, McNicholl, and Svats. There were more, I am sure, but with so many numbers changing this year and the vets not wearing any numbers at all it was hard to keep track. It looked like Duke was running this game.
Koci and Haydar: These two were two of the first out on the ice, and were laughing it up together during warmups. Haydar looks TINY compared to Koci; I wish I had the presence of mind to take a picture. I would think that Haydar's listing of 5'-9" is rather generous. Haydar is definately speedy, but I am not sure if hes quite good enough to see much action outside of Lake Erie. Koci, as Dario said yesterday, can indeed skate. Nothing too fast or flashy, but his puck control is good.
McNicholl: He reminded me of Svats: fast skater, decent shot, even if he does seem a little undersized. He was pretty explosive tho, cruising up the boards carrying the puck into the zone. Not a fancy skater... didn't make any special moves or weave in and out of people, but played well all the same.
Yip: I like the way this kid plays. I noticed in the last couple practices that he has a good shot, but that was about it. During the scrimmage you could see how well he sees the ice. He was in the right place at the right time more often than not, making passes, shooting the open lane, screening for his line. Good defense too, I saw him strip the puck on a couple of occasions and immediately skate off with it on a breakaway. He scored one goal and assisted on two others that I saw.
Tessier: This kid has a great accurate shot. I suspected it when I saw him shooting for the goalies warmup yesterday, but it was there in the scrimmage too. He played on the line with Yip, and scored from the left circle with a wicked sniper shot thru a nearside opening that I couldn't even see. He plays bigger than his size would dictate, he and Yip were two of the best guys on the black team.
Hejduk, Wolski, and Svatos: Wolski looked really good. He was centering this line, and was constantly driving the net. He looked hungry. Svats looked decent; played well, took a couple shots that rang off the post. Looked kinda confused at LW tho, I don't suggest leaving him there once the season starts. Duke looked like... Duke. Healthy and happy to be playing.
West Rink Scrimmage:
I came into this one after the scrimmage had started, so I didnt see anyone warming up. Foote ran this side and was on the black team, Stats on the gray. Some other guys on this side [with notation for the color team if I remember it]: Tucker [G], McLeod [B], Jones [B], Hensick [B], Fahey, Willsie [G], Macias, Duchene [B], Galiardi [G], Dupuis [G], Peltier, Stoa [B], Oneil, and Elliot.
Duchene vs SOS: This was fun to watch. They tended to be on the ice at the same time, but I dont think it was really by design. Stats obviously was the better player [he looked great all game], but even from my vantage I could see them grinning at each other when they ended up 1 on 1.
Hensick: Hensick just baffles me constantly. He keeps showing this greatness inside him, and then it disappears on the next shift. He was at it again today; carrying the puck in, fighting for it, pass it out to someone on the other side cleanly thru two defenders legs and escaping to make another play along the boards. The next shift I didnt even notice him out there. I'm so tired of it. I hope they can do something with him by the beginning of the season.
Foote: Please stay healthy. He looked as good as I have seen him look since he came back to us. Granted this was just a scrimmage, but he didn't really treat it that way. At one point he absolutely flattened Dupuis; took the kid a minute to get up. Positioning was perfect, defense was excellent. He was taking shots on net, and while not really crashing in, he did seem to be much looser along the line. He was constantly smiling and having fun. Tucker was crashing in and Footer just straight tackled him against the boards, and they got up together laughing and joking. I havent really seen the guy look like a leader in a while; today he looked like a captain.
Tucker: Speaking of the guy, he really did look like he was enjoying himself. He was playing with the same reckless abandon that he usually plays with, speeding into the zone and being an ass, but the guy kinda sorta played well. He beat Budaj stickside from the top of the circle and made it look easy. [not a jibe at Boods... not really. It was a good shot, and it was stoppable, but not easy.]
Jones: Look for Jones to have a great year, if he can stay healthy. The guy was everywhere for the black team. Every time I saw some guy fighting to get to the net, or leaping over somebody to reach the puck, or taking on three defenders and winning, I thought "who the hell is that, doesn't he know this is just a scrimmage??" That guy was always Jones. Well, once it was Hensick, and once McLeod, but the rest of the time it was Jones. He looks hungry. He's playing to win, and I love it.
Stoa: I can't really imagine Stoa not making the team. While not as flashy as some of the other guys on the black team, he was always out there working. I don't think he scored a goal, but he was always smooth, always in the right place, always helping out. He has a lot to work on, but since we are what we are this year, he should be out there.
Oh, and the gray team won.
And now, your moment of Zen:
I love what I have seen in camp this year. The practices are all business, the scrimmages fun. The vets are already looking good, and I see a lot of promise in the rookies. All together this is awesome, and if they can keep it going for until the season starts our team stands a great chance of at least learning to play as a team, whatever our win-loss numbers are. I cannot wait for the season to start.