Let's jump right into what everyone is probably most curious about. Injury Updates!! First, the good news. Jesse Winchester participated today in a full-contact sweater. He had a play where he drove the net, and totally ran over Calvin Pickard. He juiced him good. Nick Holden gave Winchester a few playful shoves to the head after the incident, while the mass of humanity and goalie equipment was trying to untangle and get up. A good sign, that the noggin is feeling good for Jesse!
Tomas Vincour, who suffered an apparent foot injury last night, was also on the ice. He looked fine while he was out there, although he did leave the ice early. All-all-all, Vincour was out there for about thirty minutes. Hopefully, he left early just to take things easy. Not sure if it was my imagination, but when he left the ice, he might have been limping slightly. That or he just has a goofy European gait. Hard to say.
The rest of the injured guys were all MIA. This means no Varlamov, Tanguay, Mitchell, or Bordeleau on the ice today. Everberg, McGinn, Stuart, and Wilson are all, of course, on injured reserve.
Erik Johnson, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla, and Jan Hejda also did not participate in today's practice. Presumably, they all were given maintenance days. That or they are all getting traded!! Heyo!
As far as the actual practice, it was a pretty quick one. They started off with a couple of rush drills. The first drill was a two-man rush exercise. A quick outlet pass from one skater to exit the zone, followed by a skate through the neutral zone into the attacking area. The skater with the puck then returned the feed to the outlet pass guy who took a shot from near the circle. Roy was focused on guys getting to a precise area just at the edge of the circle for the shot.
Next, they switched it up, and added a third player to the equation to defend the play. Pretty standard rush drills. The most exciting moment came, when as I mentioned above, Jesse Winchester showed off his linebacker skills on football Sunday, and made a nice takedown of Pickard.
After this, everyone stretched out. Roy took MacKinnon aside for almost the full duration of the stretching. The two had a long, calm conversation. Not sure what was being said, but the impression was that Roy is really trying to take MacKinnon under his wing.
After this, there was a blend of a few guys dinking around at center ice, and some shooting drills at each end. The defenseman worked on slappers from the point for a while. Pretty simple stuff, the d-man would back into position, and one-time a feed from a coach. Each d-man got a dozen or so repetitions from each side. Then they repeated the drill with a block covering the low portion of the net. The defenseman finished off with a cool little drill. The coaches had a buttload of pucks scattered in front of the net. Then they made a pass through the debris field of pucks. The idea was to get some strange deflections, etc. The d-man did his best to gather the puck, sometimes not even the originally passed puck, and get a shot on net.
The forwards were on the opposite end, so I payed a bit less attention. They did a lot of drills coming out of the corner or end boards to receive a pass and take a shot. Gloves were used to set up target areas, or regions that the player had to skate around before reaching the shooting sweet spot on the ice.
After this, practice was pretty much over. The boys were off the ice within about 45 minutes. Tyson Barrie and Ryan O'Reilly gave the few fans in attendance some entertainment. They did a little drill where one guy stick handled, while the other shot pucks to try and knock the stickhandled puck away. Was pretty amazing to watch how quick they both were with their handles. Barrie has amazing hands for a d-man.
Funniest moment of the day, was when pucks were being gathered and bucketed. Tyson Barrie was weaving in to take a shot, and Andre Tourigny shot a puck at his feet. I think Barrie stepped on the puck, or something, because he totally ate it. Was pretty hilarious. Tourigny hammed it up, and went and messed with Barrie while he was down, and was pushing him around on the ice.
Looked like everyone was in a good mood today. A nice win the night before will do that for you I guess!