I'm going to start with the part about which you care most: Chris Stewart
Stewie was on the ice. He donned an orange jersey and participated in opening warm up, skating warm up, and the drills for which I was there. He started out a bit gingerly with the stick work and skating, but by the time they were doing organized warm up drills, he was going full speed. He looked a bit shakey at first, bobbling the puck some and even lost his balance and crashed into the boards. (I freaked a little bit when that happened.) He just got up, laughing, dusted himself off and kept going. Once the formal drills were under way, he looked great, guys. I give him a week to ten days until he's back in the line up.
Kyle Cumiskey was in full practice mode. And by that, I mean practice mode. He wasn't skating very hard and had a difficult time controlling pucks when receiving passes. I'm sure it's just a case of getting back into the groove of things; he's been out a long, long time. I wasn't encouraged, though.
Matt Hunwick was only slightly better in practice than he is in games. Passes way off course, pucks bouncing off his stick when receiving a pass, not skating very hard. I just don't get it. He was laughing and joking around with Stewie for a while, so I got the impression they're friends. Or maybe they just clicked when Hunwick came over. Perhaps that has something to do with all of this: Hunwick's well-liked by the team? Still, it was easy for me to pick him out in the drills because he was the guy disrupting the rhythm of them.
Jonas Holøs was hot and cold. He did great in the straight up drills, but had some defensive mental lapses when they were doing a mini 5-on-5 scrimmage. Part of that may have been due to the fact he was paired with Cumiskey for the hour I was able to watch. The other pairings were the same as in games, so I don't think you can expect to see Hunwick sit in favor of Holøs any time soon. However, maybe Sacco was waiting until Cumiskey got back to see how the two would work together. Not sure I dig the pairing, but Holøs playing is better than not.
Some random notes:
- I had a Kyle Quincey sighting. For the first five minutes of warm ups, he was hanging out on the bench, chatting with folks. His arm was in a sling. He seemed in good spirits, at least, and it's nice to see he's still spending time with the team.
- David Koci was, again, the first on the ice. Ryan O'Reilly came out about 1.5 minutes later. Holøs was the first defenseman out about two minutes after that.
- All of the drills I saw, up to the scrimmage, were entirely about using cross ice passes to clear the puck out of the zone or bring it into the zone. Obviously, that is something they had a lot of trouble with last night, so it was good to see them working on it.
- Julie Browman was there. I have to be honest: she's a lot cuter in person than on TV. Nice smile.
- Watching Adam Foote and Ryan Wilson defend against Matt Duchene was utter hilarity.
- When it got to the scrimmaging, Stewart sat on the bench. I have to believe he came back out to do other stuff after I left; otherwise, I'd think he'd go back to the locker room instead of sitting there.
So there you have it, folks: a bit of an update on the happenings at Family Sports Center.