I showed up to Day 2 expecting a camp like they've had in past years... you know, starts at 9:15ish, do some drills, scrimmage until noon... nice and chill. I had no idea that they had kept everyone and their mom up for camp... I didn't even lay eyes on half the team. Note: I had to leave after the second period of the first scrimmage, I guess Camp went on well after I left with some many dudes out there. It was strange tho, because since I only saw the Burgundy and Grey teams, it seemed smaller. I guess Blue and Black had some time off.
So, coming at this fresh, it took me a while to get my head back into hockey mode. Also, new numbers for half the cats out there. I had a moment of deep sadness when I saw Maxim Noreau wearing #26. Also slight confusion when I saw not-Jones wearing #54 (Joey Leach). All things considered, tho, I fell back in and let myself just soak up the drills and scrimmage. This time I didn't let myself keep an eye on specific guys, but just let the players jump out at me when they did something impressive.
Here are some of my thoughts from Training Camp, Day 2 drills:
- Joey Hishon is looking pretty good out there. He's definitely vying for one of those empty spots on the lower lines (Something I didn't even know was happening until Cheryl told me... as a slight aside, I saw Bordy in civilian garb coming in to watch the practice. He grimaced as he climbed the steps, and looked like he was really stiff and sore). Hish has great hockey sense, and is clever-slippery in his positioning. Fast hands, determined, alert. I didn't see him do much on D, tho, which has always been one of my concerns with him.
- Jarome Iginla looked fantastic, if anyone was wondering if he had lost a step. He hasn't yet. That hand-eye coordination is so sharp... he played very well in drills, scoring more goals than anyone else. Granted it was drills, and I'll talk about him in Scrimmage in a bit, but the initial reaction is one of great excitement.
- To no one's surprise, Nathan MacKinnon is going to be fantastic.
- Another standout in the drills was Samuel Henley. I guess there has been some talk about him, but I had never heard of the dude. He was definitely good... he reminded me of watching David Jones in drills years ago. I remember seeing someone do something clever and fast, and I had to do a double take to check the jersey number; to my surprise, it was Davey. I got the same kind of feeling watching Henley play. I had to keep looking down to catch his number, and it kept coming up. Dude has some palpable potential. I don't think he's quite in the range to steal a spot from Hish, Carey, or Vincour (see below), but I wouldn't be surprised if he was a number 1 or 2 injury call up.
- Tomas Vincour. Um, is this the dude we traded Cameron Awesome for, lost, and then got back? I think it is. I had better check that before I send it out. Hang on.... Yup. It is. This dude is legit. I was amazed at how big he is... He was standing next to Karl Stollery (granted, not the biggest dude), but Vincour towered over him, and was significantly wider. That being said, he didn't use that bulk at all... he was all skating and smoothness... a finesse player that reminded me a little of Hejduk's game, tho not as good. I noticed him a whole lot, both in drills and in the scrimmage. He has a very good chance at making this team, especially if Hish's defense isn't up to snuff.
Some scrimmage notes:
- Grey team sported a forward line of Andrew Agozzino, Nathan MacKinnon, and Iginla. I didn't like the way they played together much. Agozzino's play was like a boy's alongside the other two, which didn't help, but I felt a distinct lack of chemistry between Nathan and Jarome. I could see that they were both rocking it out there, playing really well, but they didn't seem to be clicking well. I want to keep an eye on that as the pre-season progresses, and see who Iggy does have chemistry with.
- The best line on the ice was Gabriel Landeskog, Joey Hishon, and Alex Tanguay. I haven't mentioned Tangs much, but damn, dude is good at hockey when he's healthy. Hish kept up with his linemates no problem, and they were all on the same wavelength. It wasn't really fair, even tho they were out there against the Agz-MacK-Iggy line.
- As far as lower lines go, one set on the Burgundy team struck me: Tomas Vincour, Ben Street, and Michael Schumacher. If this ends up being a top LEM line, they are going to be money. They played really hard, and communicated well. I can't remember who they were matched against, but they overpowered them.
- Brad Stuart is going to be fine. He wasn't doing anything spectacular, but then again, I didn't expect him to. Just solid, calm, composed.
- A couple of the budding Defenders looked to aiming to make a splash in the big camp. Gabriel Beaupre especially seemed to be trying really hard to get noticed, but others like Daniel Maggio tried to be flashy, too. Which leads me to...
- Stefan Elliot. Buddy. I picked you to improve. I didn't see much improvement today. Please step it up.
- Ryan Wilson looked just fine today. Not amazing, but very solid. I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of his preseason goes.
That's about it for the notes of people that I did see. I wanted to keep an eye on Chris Bigras, but I didn't. I don't even know if he was on the ice when I was watching. I know that some of the other guys I wanted to keep an eye on (Duncan Siemens, Danny Briere, and Conner Bleackley) weren't out there when I was watching. But all in all, it was a fun camp. I'm excited to see who stays and who goes... this is going to be a fun battle for rosters spots.