I hit up practice again this morning, saw enough that I felt compelled to do a little write up. This won't be too long but I found some things interesting.
-Practice started off a bit slowly today as the players mostly all came out within 5 minutes of each other and they ran some slooooooowwww breakaway drills. Energy level was very low. You could tell the boys flew in late last night and were still a bit tired.
-Speculation about EJ ended immediately as I sat down and he skated right by me. Lol okie dokie.
-As has been widely reported by now, Winchester also was out there sans the no-contact jersey. He should be in the lineup by the Isles game. He's been practicing full speed with the team for at least 4 practices.
-After the breakaway stuff, the Avs did my favorite drill where the D has to tap the wall and skate backwards in a semi-circle to catch up with the forwards. I'm doing a terrible job describing this but if you watch some of Dario's videos from the camps, it's probably in there somewhere. The Avs run it all the time. It's awesome. Anyway. The usual suspects dominated this drill - Barrie, Redmond, EJ, Hejda. I didn't notice Guenin at all but Stuart never even put an effort into it, seemingly accepting his fate before it really got going. At one point, he was so far behind his forward that he just threw his stick. Cool, Brad.
-As I tweeted out earlier, there was no Tangs at practice so the lines ran as follows:
90 29 92
11 9 12
7 18 25
55 24 48
With Tangs in the lineup he takes McGinn's spot, McGinn takes Winchester's spot, and Winchester is scratched for tomorrow night's game in San Jose.
-I BELIEVE there was a Josh Kroenke sighting at practice today. A younger guy in suit/tie appeared in the balcony above the rink for about 2 minutes until disappearing again. I tried zooming in on my phone's camera and I think it was Josh. I am open to the idea that I'm wrong, though. Strange for me because I've been going on/off to practices for about 4 years now and do not ever remember seeing a Kroenke there before.
-The Avs really got to work about 30 minutes in, running full-ice 2v2s, 3v3s, and half-ice 3v3s. The focus in every single one of these drills was for forwards to work the pucks down low and then to a man in front of the net. Roy probably shouted "SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT" 10 times during this portion of practice. He placed a heavy emphasis on the Avs creating chances in front of the opposing net.
-One of my favorite parts of watching practice is how the goalies behave. They very rarely receive any direct coaching and are largely left to their own devices throughout the drills. Varly is my favorite because he's so competitive all the time. He works himself into such a fervor as practice goes on and when guys score on him, it's not uncommon to see him deliver a little "get out of my face" message to the nearest offensive player. Varly does not like being scored on in practice. Ever. Berra is much more even-keeled and has basically no reaction whatsoever as practice goes on. Varly is also almost always one of the first players off the ice. This has been true basically his entire Avs tenure.
-Interesting coach notes from the day: Roy is obsessive about his stop watch. He looks at it during every drill a handful of times. Anybody who thinks he isn't very calculated in how he approaches coaching should watch him run a practice or two. He's exact in every detail, down to the second of how long he wants to go.
-Foote and Redmond didn't have their usual 10 minute private session today. Army was the guy I noticed working a lot more with guys individually as practice wound down. He and McGinn spent at least 5 minutes skating around together talking about...something. I'm assuming it was hockey related because they kept pointing to spots on the ice and agreeing/disagreeing about stuff. Family Feud?
-After practice ended, Berra stayed on the ice and took shots from the rest of the guys for quite a while. This is notable because since I've been going to practices, the backup goalies typically have not stuck around for very long once practice was over. Jiggy and Varly were usually off the ice within a few minutes of each other but Berra was out there an extra 30 minutes or so stopping pucks. He was pretty great when they were working on penalty shots.
-The guys taking penalty shots against Berra were O'Reilly, MacKinnon, Johnson, Barrie, Winchester, and Guenin. Sort of. Guenin was mostly just there. Anyway. Berra dominated most of them with only O'Reilly really beating him badly. Notably, MacKinnon missed the net twice before shouting "FUCK" very loudly. Shortly after, Berra said he was done and the boys packed it up for the day.
Which means I did, too! Told you it was a short one today :)