Well, I went. And I had a good time. At the expense of Foppa Opening Night tickets, which I did NOT get. I has many sads, and possibly some mads at me. Oh well. Dammit.
Enough about that crap, now on to what I am sure you all are craving: Info on the superawesome scrimmages I witnessed today!
Well, there were a lot of us MHHers all together today. It was a strong day for representation at South Suburban, and I was really pleased to see the other posters. We spent a lot of time yelling at the ice, bitching about the other fans that seemed to be missing riser etiquette, and generally reveling in the first strong hockey of the season. Rookie camp was awesome, but lets be honest, a lot of those kids aren't very good at hockey. A lot of the veterans are. It was a ton of fun out there.
I only stayed for the first two scrimmages before rushing to the Pepsi Center box office to find a cute girl at the counter to bat my eyelashes at in an attempt to fanangle my way into some Foppa tickets. It was unsuccessful, but I got to witness some great Avs preseason hockey, and I loved it. The teams went straight into it, without any playing around. Very pleased.
I turned up at 8:05am, and staked out a place on the second row. Second row, for those of you that don't know, sucks. As you can see from Dario's, Beachie's, and my videos of the rink. Colonel Mustard was particularly bothersome, as you will see from the videos. I was trying to convince AJ to go over and yell "ITS PEANUT BUTTAH JELLAY TIME!" in his face, but he would never have gotten the joke, so we let it be and decided to get there really early tomorrow instead so he, or anyone else, wouldn't be in our way. Ill be there at 7:45am tomorrow, assed out on a front-row bleacher with my bag under my head while I wait for everyone else to show.
Oh yeah, the game. Well, it started out with the blue team, comprised mostly of rookies and a few vets like O'Reilly and McClement, started out doing drills on the other side of the rink, and I didn't really watch them much. And by much, I mean at all. I didn't watch them at all. They were over there, and the fun stuff was over here. The West Rink had the Black Team versus the Grey Team, and they did not mess around. The entire front office staff was up on one of the 'opera boxes', for lack of a better term, overseeing the whole scrimmage. It was so crowded on the balcony that Rick Pracey and his entire staff stood across the way on a different balcony. Everyone turned out to see the scrimmage, and I could feel the pressure in the air.
We got our first inkling of what we were in for when the refs came out onto the ice when only a couple players were out stretching. We had no idea we would be treated to a scrimmage right away; we figured that there would be drills and all that BS before we saw anything good. We were wrong. Boy, were we wrong.
Black team and Grey team were pretty well evened out. The top line on black was Paul Stastny, David Jones, and Joakim Lindstrom. They were out there backed up by Jan Hejda and Erik Johnson. They did not come to this game at 50%. Neither did Grey team, with a top line of Matt Duchene, Milan Hejduk, and Peter Mueller. Their blue line consisted of Kyle Quincey and Ryan Wilson. Also on Black were some guys like McLeod, Winnik, Malone, Mercier, and Elliott. Grey sported guys like Galiardi, ummm, who else? I didn't bother with notes on this, really, I just watched.
The teams came out to PLAY. I sat there, imagining Sacco in the locker room: "Your teammate will be your teammate when this scrimmage is over. As of now, if he wears the other jersey, he is the ENEMY. You HIT him and take the puck from him. I want this team to play HARD and be PHYSICAL. If you want to make this team, you have to be able to play in the Western Conference and WIN!". I am pretty sure thats how it went. Because all the guys came out and played like they took every word of a speech like that to heart. They hit, they bounced, they pinned and pinched. These dudes want to play hard and physcial.
A couple that I will go ahead and call out are Galiardi and McLeod. Gally is playing for that top-6 spot. He wants that shit bad. Remember good ole thorn-in-the-Sharks'-side Gally? Yeah, he was out there, and to his own teammates. It was kinda rough, but not malicious. McLeod was the same way. He feels guys like Meurs and Malone breathing down his neck, not to mention the Bordello of Blood himself. He wanted to make himself a pest, they both managed to do some of that despite the fact that they were playing against their own team. It was really great to see.
Oh yeah, Grey team had Siemens on their side. I don't remember him getting scored on, despite his raw-ness.
Black team had a pairing of Mike Brennen and Gabriel Beaupre. Actually, they did surprisingly well together. Is Beaupre going back to the minors? Cause if he is staying up, I would love to see that pairing in Lake Erie. They worked pretty effectively against the Dutchie-Duke-Linds line. I was pretty impressed with them.
After the Black team won, something like 3-1 against the Grey team, they took a break, and the Blue team came over from the other side to battle the Black team. I didn't get to see that much of it, actually, because I wandered off to call the Pepsi Center Box Office, but I did take a good 6-7 minutes of video before that.
And for those that want the original - http://youtu.be/xZVjd5Asb2k
Once again, here is the link to the original:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rX1DeVtT9Y
Aaand here is a close up of Colonel Mustard, AKA the Banana Man, and our view of the far end of the ice most of the day:
This next video ends up with an almost-goal by McLeod on a rebound from a Stefan Elliott shot. I guess I started to get lazy and just filmed a long time, because this one is longer than any of the others. Blue team: Joel Chouinard, David Van Der Gulik, Ryan O'Byrne, Ryan O'Reilly, Garrett Meurs, Kyle Cumiskey, Tyson Barrie, Jay McClement. Black team: David Jones, Paul Stastny, Erik Johnson, Joakim Lindstrom, Jan Hejda, Cody McLeod, Daniel Winnik, Stefan Elliott. I am pretty sure this stop is made by J.S. Giguere, but I don't remember adequately:
Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj8qXZX2XaA
Another long clip, and this is the final one. It has a bunch of pretty stead back-and-forth action; this is what much of the scrimmages were like. It culminates in a Ryan O'Reilly goal:
Aaaand, the source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am_OTJM0QvU
All in all, it was a very good day at camp. Everyone hit the ice running, and really set the tone for how the season wants to shape up. Very physical. Remember that Sacco presser where he talked about how great it would be to have some healthy competition in training camp this year? He ain't playing around. They all seem like they are playing with a chip on their shoulder; something to prove. I feel like this was a fantastic way to get started with the year, and I can't wait to see how the intensity in ten cities transfers over to the rest of camp.
I'll be out there again tomorrow, so ya'll keep ya'lls heads up and shizz. Mad love.