Camp Anawanaheim Day 5: Enough of this Bag Skating

Day 5 of training camp concluded the intra-squad scrimmages and eased up on the cardio on the eve of the preseason schedule.

A lot has been made of Francois Beauchemin's participation in training camp so far, and for good reason.  He's a beast.  After playing on a torn ACL for the last six weeks of the season, including playoffs and having surgery on said ACL in May he's been on the ice every day of training camp so far, including double sessions on Thursday.

This morning he was impressive again.  He was the first skater on the ice, joining Frederik Andersen, John Gibson and the assistant coaches who had been working out prior to the official training session.  And the only time I saw him get beat was by Ryan Horvat, interesting that it was such a youngster, but it happens.

However, it's important to note that while he's been skating his butt off to get ready for the season there seems to be a strict "NO TOUCHING" policy when it comes to Beauch.  I don't blame them at all, but anyone thinking he'll be ready for a full NHL game on Oct. 2 might want to think twice.

One more thing on Beauch; my favorite moment of the entire day was during warm up laps while waiting for everyone to hop on the ice for practice, Scott Niedermayer and Beauch were skating around having a chat.  My nostalgia level got ratcheted up about three levels when I saw that, as if it wasn't high enough, being the 20th anniversary season.

Here is the group that practiced today:

Forwards

Goaltenders

Red Line

Grey Line

Frederik Andersen

Andrew Cogliano

Matt Beleskey

John Gibson

Saku Koivu

Peter Holland

Emerson Etem

Kyle Palmieri

Defensemen

White Line

Orange Line

Luca Sbisa

Ryan Horvat**

John Kurtz

Francois Beauchemin

Brent Andrews**

Chris Wagner

Garnet Exelby*

Charlie Sarault

Zach Stortini

Hampus Lindholm

Alex Grant

* Indicates Pro Try Out

Kenton Helgesen

** Indicates Amateur Try Out

The line that really caught my eye in the practice was the Cogs-Saku-Etem line.  It's no secret how much I loved Cogliano and Etem together on the penalty kill last year, burning past defenders like it was nothing.  I like the idea of putting them together in other situations, but I was concerned about Koivu's drop off at the end of the season.  If I can base my opinion on one practice, those fears have been put to rest.  Koivu was great, and had probably the best play of the entire session during 1-on-1 drills when he absolutely roasted Luca Sbisa and finished off backhand shelf on Gibson.

Speaking of American Hero: John Gibson; he was very good, nothing spectacular, but solid all day, which is what I like to see in a goalie.  Similar to Beauch, he had only one slip up, when he kicked out the juiciest of juicy rebounds during 2-on-2s.

Being a day before the preseason opener against Phoenix, this was the first time that the practice session didn't end with some hardcore skating.  Instead the Cogliano-Koivu-Etem line along with Holland, Beleskey and Wagner had an on-ice meeting with the assistant coaches.  From the stands it was just about impossible to tell what they were going over; a few demonstrations but for the most part it was standing and talking at the blue line.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the ice a few guys, most notably including Lindholm and Palmieri, just noodled around a bit, working on one-timers into an empty net and deflections.

Side note:  after a summer of playing and watching rookie games at Westminster Ice, it's incredible to see how precise everything these guys do is, even when they're just knocking the puck around on their own.  On to the scrimmage!

Team White

Team Black

Jonas Hiller (1st Half)

Viktor Fasth (1st Half)

Etienne Marcoux (2nd Half)

Igor Bobkov (2nd Half)

Dustin Penner

Teemu Selanne

Corey Perry

Nick Bonino

Ryan Getzlaf

Jakob Silfverberg

Steven Whitney

Patrick Maroon

Rickard Rakell

Daniel Winnik

Brad Staubtiz

Devante Smith-Pelly

Bryan Allen

Charlie Sarault

Sami Vatanen

Antoine Laganiere

Shea Theodore

Stefan Noesen

Teigan Zahn

Max Friberg

Nolan Yonkman

Cam Fowler

John Mitchell

Ben Lovejoy

Kyle Cumiskey*

Mark Fistric

Brent Andrews**

Mat Clark

Maxime (Rico) Suave*

Kevin Gagne

Ross Johnston*

Kyle Becker**

Austin Caroll**

*Indicates PTO

**Indicates ATO

The only two players who overlapped the practice and scrimmage were Sarault and Andrews.  Each was impressive in his own way.  Honestly, I wasn't paying a ton of attention to Andrews, as he is on an Amateur Try Out, but nearly every time I found myself checking the roster to see who made that nice move I found his name.

Sarault on the other hand, I had some expectation for, having read about his exploits in Norfolk toward the end of last season, and he delivered handsomely.  Both he and Steven Whitney were exactly as advertised; small, speedy, hard working, skilled players.  Sarault had a great moment at the very end of the scrimmage's first half when he flew up the right wing, fought through a check at the top of the circles and got a quality shot off right at the buzzer.

Whitney looked good with Rikard Rakell, who I was also looking forward to seeing as he hasn't gotten much hype since the So Cal Futures game last weekend.  The only disappointment there was that they were matched up with Brad Staubitz.

The most striking thing about the scrimmage for me was how well DSP and Maroon played.  Winnink was unremarkable at center, but his wingers showed great improvement from last year.   But the most impressive thing about that line standing out is that it is essentially the fifth line.  This year the Ducks are overflowing with forwards, and it's a great problem to have.

Putting Etem with Koivu and Cogliano and Penner with Perry and Getzlaf, essentially makes that entire line of DSP, Maroon and Winnik expendable (if those line combos work out of course).  And that's in addition to guys like Staubitz, Stortini and Kurtz who are, as far as I can tell, on the training camp roster purely to crank up the intensity level as well as Rakell, Sarault, Whitney and Lagagniere who are her e largely for the experience.  I guess Staubitz has a spot on the team, based on last season, but I think we're all in agreement that that's a bad idea.

Overall, as you might expect from the rosters, the white team was severely outclassed in the first half, but picked up the pace in the second.  Still, the black team won 6-1 if you care about such silly things.

For more on today's sessions here is the Ducks' official version of the events and a couple of features from Eric Stephens on the Winnik Experiment ($) and the emergence of Chris Wagner and Hampus Lindholm ($)

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