I spent my third day in a row at Anaheim Ice. Training camp is turning into a girlfriend I never want to break up with. I know sometimes fans just want to get to the meat of what happened, so today I'm keeping it no nonsense and borrowing from Sleek's bullet point method to give you a list of highlights and thoughts from today's camp.
- Beleskey gets it started on the 2 man break drill. Puts away a decent tip. He's a solid player, but doesn't impress compared to some of the other rookies in camp.
- Deschamps is sticking with the play and putting away the change. Gotta like a kid with skill who will go to the net.
- Artyukhin goes high glove on Hiller. That was a little surprising
- Logan MacMillan slips it 5 hole on Cousineau. I'd be more impressed if Logan could beat a goalie that actually has a shot at being in the NHL this year.
- Dan Sexton just found a way around Hiller. Not even sure how he did it. I'm beginning to understand why Arthur calls him "Big Sexy". I'm convinced that name will stick.
- We've moved on to a drill that focuses on breaking out of the zone, and Beleskey cant make the cross ice outlet pass. That's like going to McDonald's and ordering a whopper, all you're going to get is directions to the door.
- Carlyle has to stop the forechecking drill, because Deschamps cannot dump the puck. It hurts my vision of a Deschamps-Koivu-Selanne line that never back checks but dominates on the power play. Not being able to dump and chase in this system...might as well be a Democrat at an NRA meeting.
- Watching Macenauer chase the puck into the zone has me convinced this kid wants to make the team. He's a little too excited at times, and it affects his decision making, can't accuse him of not putting it all out there though.
- Lupul and Ryan are running the 2-1 together. They have a strange affinity for each other...wonder if that'll work out.
- Big Sexy is still working it. This kid is fearless and he's beating guys to loose pucks, and skating around defenders. He's like a more skilled Mike Brown.
- We've moved on to skating races and who would have thought Festerling was so fast. Sadly it won't keep him around. Artie is beating guys too, don't know how he moves that giant frame so fast.
- Eminger has been struggling through this drill. This guy cannot stay on his skates. When I first saw him, I really liked his game. He doesn't take the body as much as I'd like, but his positioning is awesome. He has a way of giving a forward just enough rope so that the guy can hang himself. But today, Cullimore looks like a better choice.
- Scrimmaging now, and Big Sexy is steaming through open ice. Every shift this kid moves higher up in my esteem. I don't know if there's a line where he can legitimately fit in, but there will be soon.
- Arthur mentioned Matt Clark to me the first day of rookie camp. He's a defensive prospect who probably won't be up this year, but what the kid lacks in skill he more than makes up for in vision. He sees plays so clearly, and he seems to always make the right decision. Can't wait to see what he's like in another year.
- Sbisa's skill set is undeniable, but he reminds me of Ozolinsh. He seems to always be looking for an offensive opportunity. I don't think Carlyle will be fond of that.
- Lupul puts away a rebound. I don't dislike him. I just think 4 million is too much for a guy who really can't create his own shot.
- McCarthy probably doesn't make the team. Homeboy just chased down a guy that Scotty clearly had covered, and almost turned a 2 on 2 into a breakaway.
- Macenauer just worked some magic along the boards. I really can't get enough of him or Sexton. Those kids just play a great game.
- Brittain and Koivu just muscled a puck in. Brittain is one of those guys who could find a home in the bottom 6. He's got size, grit, and skill.
- Just saw Big Sexy in the trenches. I think he sold his soul for a roster spot.
- When Sbisa is pressured coming out of the zone he makes me think of an abacus. He'll probably make the right decision, but it'll take him a while to get there.
- Sharp scores on a lucky bounce. Good things happen when you get the puck to the net. Hope Sharp thanks Hayzie when he makes it to the NHL for a cup of coffee this year.
- Mikkelson has scored on 2 penalty shots, and this defense thing is starting to look like a real mess. I don't know if it's as sexy as the Hiller v Giguere controversy, which Jiggy is clearly not winning right now, but it's definitely going to be a problem trying to figure out what to do with 11 guys who can play in the NHL.
- Big Sexy is at it again, chasing down a puck, working along the boards and sending a great dish that Holland completely botched.
Overall, it was a great day. I think the biggest problem for the coaching staff right now might be that they have too much to work with. The battles are getting interesting, and after these first 4 preseason games there should be a better view on what the coaching staff is thinking.