Good day, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I had an amazing day at Training Camp today. I barely saw any of the drills, but the scrimmage was fantastic. Once again I came away with a ton of notes, and this time I'm not even going to pretend that I am trying to be brief.
I watched a bunch of the drills when arrived a few minutes late. The east rink ran 5-on-3 drills with a good smattering of rooks and vets. I went over to the other side for a few and watched a few sets of full ice length carries, and some cross ice pass drills. These drills were done by everyone too, both rookies and vets. I get the felling that, on the west side at least, the main idea was to see how the guys moved with the puck, and how confidently.
The only specific thing I noticed in the drills was that I like the way that Anderson plays. He was working the east rink, fighting off 5-on-3s. As mentioned before, he does butt up against the posts pretty well. I didnt seem his body language look rattled at all, he kept pretty cool considering he has Tucker's rear in his face and Svats aiming above his left shoulder.
Now, on to the fun part: the scrimmage. Today was Blue on Gray, and a lot of the players that didn't participate yesterday did today. First thing I noticed was the Blue team's top line: Duchene, flanked by Duke and Jones. This line came out swinging against the Grays top line of Galiardi, Tucker, and Svats. They looked great.... great movement, great passing, good shots, great energy... It looked as good as anything I have seen in the last year. Well... in the last 10 months. The guys were all over the ice.
The Gray line of Svats, Tuck, and Galiardi was looking pretty good too. Those three had played together in the East rink scrimmage earlier in the 5 on 3s and seemed to have some good energy. They were easily outshone by the other line, tho. The second lines were pretty good too... Blue had Wols, Haydar and Dupuis and worked really hard. It could be better tho; Dupuis made much more of an impression than Haydar did. Wols looked good, quick with the stick and smiling. The Gray second line was fun: Stoa, Hendricks, and Willsie. I promised I would keep a closer eye on Hendricks sometime over the last few days... the kid is playing with a lot of heart. This line, while they didn't score, was nothing but energy, good passes, physical play. It was fun to watch.
The Blue third line was Koci, Burki, and Matt Clarke. Koci was the best player on this line... I'll get back to him in a minute. The Gray team had up a line of Bates, Fritsche, and Yip. There were a lot of defensive pairings too [since we dont seem to have a plethora of defensemen or anything]. Blue team was running: Hannan-Montgomery, Wilson-Elliot, and Preissing-Peltier. Gray team was mixing it up a bit, but had Liles, Oneil, Barrie, Skinner, and I think Salei, tho I don't remember seeing him later in the match.
Technical stuff out of the way: Duchene looked great, but he didn't look as comfortable playing physically as I would like. He scored the first goal tho, tearing it up with Duke and Jones. Very fun to watch. Blue scored a second time within a couple of minutes: this time it was Koci poking it by Delmas. He had laid out Barrie into the boards right in front of me, knocking his stick away. Barrie was pretty slow afterward but managed to get back into position, but without his stick, and Koci took advantage and scored. The big man looks hilarious skating, but he can do it pretty well.
Team Gray answered with a goal by Skinner off of a feed from Galiardi. It was a simple wrister, but a good shot. Weiman was in goal at the time. Blue answered back a couple minutes later with a great play by DoogieWonderBoyDude, who just crashed the net with Peltier and chips it in over Delmas' left pad. I would love to see that happen in a real game. By this time I figured that Gray was done for, there was no way they could compete, not with that great top line, Wols on second, and Koci killing people on third.
But Gray answered again with a second goal from Skinner... I have no idea who this kid is, but he has a great shot from far out. Not the best defender tho, I noticed both Duchene and Jones pushing him around, but he can skate pretty well and wove in between guys for both of his goals. Rusty with the assist.
Goalies switched up at the break, with Anderson and Cann coming in. Anderson only played a few shots before he traded out with Cann, giving the kid a break, and bringing in Maxwell. Then somethin happened, I didn't see it, and Barrie was awarded a penalty shot, which he sunk no problem. This tied up the game.
Another thing that I noticed after the break... the Duchene, Duke, Jones line was a lot less effective. I paid more attention and it turned out that they had thrown a Stoa, Hendricks, Yip line out there[instead of the Tucker, Gal, Svats line], and the increased physicallity was holding the top line from getting goals. It was really interesting to watch. That line was held scoreless the rest of the game; so was the Gray line, considering they had their hands full.
Gray did some more line mixing too: Bates was out there on the same line as Svats, and ended up scoring a goal! There was a slight lapse of defense and Bates poked in Svato'ss pass just in front of the paint. Maxwell could have had it, but was busy trying to cross between the posts and left his fivehole open. Blue tied it up a couple minutes before the end of the game tho, with a rocket from Elliot. Elliot was high and right, and place the puck perfectly at Anderson's shoulder level, ringing it off of the far post and in. Nice to see some shots from the blueline.
The game went off into a shootout instead of overtime. Svatos went first and scored. Duchene answered, and scored. He did a little fancy-shmancy puck handling too, just for the awwwws he would get from the crowd. Galiardi was next, and he hit the post and it did not go in. The Baron von Wolski was next, and its not like I have to tell you what happened when he shot. The rules were kinda shaken up then, its like they were just keeping shooting because they felt like it. They sent Barrie out to try again [maybe they wanted to see if his first penatly shot goal was a fluke], but the kid started skating toward the wrong goal, and got a big shout and laughter from the crowd and the players alike. He missed, but I think he was kinda embarrased. Dupuis shot too, just for laughs, and beat Anderson. Blue winning in the shootout after a close game.
So that was the game. great time. A few more random thoughts:
Quincey was good. Quite good, I thought. Strong skating, hard shot, good D.
Yip is tenacious. Very physical and sees the ice well.
Same with Stoa, very fun to watch, but hasnt found a scoring touch yet.
Ditto Hendricks. Not flashy, but working way hard.
Jones continues to impress me with his speed and explosiveness.
Duchene didn't do very well on faceoffs, but did well on everything else.
Galiardi has good defense. He had a couple of good strips and took bodies as easily.
All of the other players were on the other ice running goalie workouts and 5 on 3 drills, including blue line slapshots. It was nice to see.
Sorry for the long read again, I am just pumped that hockey is back!!!