I took the day off from my 'big girl job' to catch Friday's session of Anaheim Ducks training camp. Friday, Saturday and Sunday all have two parts. One half of the team practices from 10:00am to 11:15am. The other half plays a scrimmage of two 30 minute periods starting at noon.
This recap is going to be a bit different. I'm going to give you my opinion of most players during each session and some additional notes. At the end of the post is a tweet-splosion of the scrimmage. Why the heck would I write a full recap when I can just piggyback off the work of others?! C'mon man!
A few notes:
-- According to the OC Register ($), the Ducks did not do the physical endurance bike tests that make them barf on Wednesday. Instead, the coaches and training staff are going to bag skate the team like crazy for the next few days. It was apparent at practice today. Each drill involved a lot of skating. There wasn't a lot of stand around time or sitting on the bench time. At the very end, the group skated 'suicides' until some of them looked like they were going to die. (Spoiler alert - no one died.)
-- I did catch one Bruce-ism while he was yell-talking to the players, "Let's not just fucking skate around, alright?!"
-- Today's drills had an emphasis of fighting for the puck along the boards and quickly transitioning out of the defensive zone.
-- From what I could tell, Penner, Perry and Getzlaf were chirping assistant coach Scott Niedermayer a lot. All of the guys looked like they were having a lot of fun and laughing a lot.
|Jonas Hiller||Looked solid but he really didn't need to exert himself too much.|
|Etienne Marcoux*||New goalie coach Dwayne Roloson spent a majority of the time with Marcoux over Jonas. He was watching his footwork in several different goalie drills and correcting him along the way. Like Jonas he really didn't have to do much actual goaltending.|
|Bryan Allen||(Paired with Vatanen or Zahn) At last season's training camp, I remarked how out of shape Allen looked and how he was doubled-over on his skates all the time. He was the same way this time around. He was getting beat on drills and started to turn to just punishing the forward by pulling him down or full on shoving him to the ground.|
|Nolan Yonkman||(Paired with Cumiskey) Each group has one guy that pushes the other players buttons. In the practice group, Mr. Yonkman was that guy. Before one drill even started he cross-checked Corey Perry in the back three times. He was slamming people into the boards while they were standing waiting for their turn until Ryan Getzlaf asserted his right as a captain. Yonkman was about to push Getz into the far glass when Getz was slowing down to stop. Getzy turned around, grabbed Yonkman by the jersey and kinda pushed his palm into his chest, looking at him and saying something. Yonkman didn't do much hitting after that.|
|Tiegan "Don't Call Me Steve" Zahn*||(Paired with Allen or Vatanen). Didn't notice this guy too much|
|Shea Theodore||(Paired with Beauchemin) Assistant Coach Bob Woods was almost glued to the kid. He was working with him after every drill. Very good skater.|
|Kyle Cumiskey||(Paired with Yonkman) Didn't really notice him much. This is Cumiskey's second stint with the Ducks franchise.|
|Sami Vatenen||(Paired with Allen or Zahn) He is so little. The roster has him listed as 5'10". If that's the truth, then I'm 6'0". I still think he needs to put on more muscle. When he was trying to clear Perry out from front of the net, Perry towered over him and turned him into roadkill.|
|Francois Beauchemin||(Paired with Theodore) What ACL surgery? Beauch is a badass. He was skating at nearly full speed the entire time. He even participated in the suicide drills at the end. In the last wave of suicides he was outskating Getzlaf and Penner.|
|Ryan Getzlaf||He looked like he was having fun, which is always a good sign. A happy Getz is a good Getz. He, Perry and Penner seemingly fell right back into where they left off. And even when he's not even trying hard, the man has just an amazing backhand.|
|Corey Perry||He was the most surprising of the group. I say this because we always refer to Perry as being aloof. Not today. He was coaching the younger players where to be if they made a mistake during a drill. If someone scored a goal, he was the first one hit the boards with his stick in a congratulatory manner and would occasionally let out a hoot at a nice save, shot or goal. He outskated Penner and Getzlaf. He just looked comfortable.|
|Dustin Penner||I went from pleasantly surprised to not shocked at Penner's behavior during practice. In the first half he was skating harder than I've seen him skate in a while. Being with Perry and Getzlaf, he had to push himself to keep up with them. He would spend extra time with Bruce at the whiteboard going over plays. Towards the end, everyone was getting exhausted but he struggled the most. In the final leg of the suicides, he was barely moving his legs, struggling to get back and forth. Bruce came over and started kind of skating next to him cheering him on and clapping. Bruce gave him a head nod of approval at the end.|
|Brad Starburns (Staubitz)||I forgot he was still on the team|
|Ricky Racoon (Rickard Rakell)||It was unfortunate Rakell was paired with two less skilled players. He is an amazing puck handler and passer. I would see glimpses of it when he wasn't having to work with Staubitz or Mitchell.|
|John Mitchell||Eh didn't notice too much|
|Steven Whitney||He is about the same size as Sami Vatanen. They have him correctly listed as 5'7". I am excited to see more from this kid, who was signed out of Boston College. He's fast with great hands. He would have been a nice compliment to Rakell.|
|Rico (Maxime) Suave**||Everytime I saw his jersey, the song 'Rico Suave' from the early 90's would get stuck in my head|
|Ross Johnston*||Didn't even see him until the end|
|Ryan Horvat*||He fell a lot. That's about all I remember|
|Austin Carroll*||Kept calling him Steve Carroll, as in Ducks radio play-by-play man.|
|* Denotes Amature Try-Out (ATO)|
|** Denotes Pro Try-Out (PTO)||
Practice is just that, practice. Can't really judge the guys ability until seeing them in a game situation. A majority of the group will be in the scrimmage tomorrow (Saturday).
On to the scrimmage...
-- There was ONE penalty called and it was on Teemu for holding. Lame. The referee did have a very nice thin handlebar mustache, though.
-- The Black Team was the most consistent of the two teams. They sustained the same amount of energy the entire scrimmage. The White Team plain tired out in the second half of the second 30 minute period. It was a shooting gallery for the Black Team. Bobkov had one save where he was on his back and did a whirlwind kick in the air to stop a wide-open Etem.
|TEAM WHITE||TEAM BLACK|
|Charlie Sarault||I am developing a major hockey crush on this kid. He's not the biggest guy in the world at 5'11" (if he's Stretch Armstrong) but the kid can fly. He easily navigated through traffic with the puck and even stole the puck from the defense a few times. Towards the end of the scrimmage, he was beginning to look like a smaller Andy McDonald. Just a smart player.||Kenton Helgesen||Kept getting him confused with Beleskey. It's the long hair.|
|Patrick Maroon||I think Pat finally woke up. He's lost the baby fat and is stellar shape. Last camp he was continuously benched - during drills (!!!) - for lack of effort. He was skating hard the entire scrimmage. He's now showing why the Ducks have held on to him. He's not quite as big but he's certainly has the ability to be 2007 Dustin Penner-esque but with even more skill. He opened the scoring of the scrimmage with a beauty.||Matt Beleksey||Bels was himself. He didn't fall down nearly as much as he does during the game.|
|Max Frieberg||He's fast and skilled but he looks lost out there. He's out of position and kind of skated aimlessly in the neutral zone.||Emerson Etem||Still awesome. He looks like he put on lean muscle instead of bulking up. He seems to have learned to keep his stick on the ice when he's speeding up. Many times last year he was hit with high sticking penalties because his stick would fly up in the air as he jetted down the ice. He is going to be great.|
|Stefan Noesen||He's fast. That's about all that stood out today.||Hampus Lindholm||I was really disappointed with Lindholm's performance. He looked lost and Palmieri was consistently talking with him after plays pointing things out. Part of me thinks he's gun shy because of the two concussions he sustained last year. The kid is a fantastic skater but that's nothing when you can't get the puck out of your own zone time after time.|
|Antoine Laganiere||Big guy||Peter Holland||I have gone from Trade Kyle Palmieri to Trade Peter Holland. He's got a ton to prove and Bruce has said as much. His savior right now is having Palmieri on his wing. Those two looked like they did two years ago in Syracuse when Palms scored a billion goals.|
|Teemu Selanne||Teemu looked like Teemu from the beginning of last season. A bit rusty but still skated effortlessly. Towards the end of the scrimmage, he was taking longer breaks between shifts. Not at all surprising.||Luca Sbisa||Luca is still himself. He's physical at all the wrong times. When he got beat, he'd slash and hook instead of skating hard to catch up to the player. Totally unimpressed by him. If the Ducks didn't need an experienced defenseman, I'd say he was on the trading block for sure.|
|Nick Bonino||Same old Bones. He and Selanne were attempting to re-form the chemistry they had prior to Bonino's injury last season||Andrew Cogliano||Even though he scored, I only noticed him once and it was when he missed a wide open net.|
|Viktor Fasth||Same as usual. Quick glove, still has a problem closing the five-hole (that's what she said)||Kyle Palmieri||I ain't scurrred of Palmieri not being able to pick up where he left off. When he sustained a concussion last season, it threw him off his ridiculous goal scoring pace. I think not having Nick Bonino there impacted him as well. There are a lot of expectations on Palmieri to fill the goal scoring hole left by Bobby Ryan. He may not score 30 goals this season but he'll get close.|
|Devante Smith-Pelley||Okay, if Daniel were at the scrimmage he would be in tears - tears of joy. Like Maroon, DSP had a crappy year last year and much of it was blamed on fitness. Not a problem now. He shed the baby fat and put on more lean muscle. By far he was the most dynamic player for the White Team. He was physical but not to the point where he went for the player instead of the puck. Really excited to see what he can do now that he's taking things seriously||Ryan Horvat*||Unremarkable|
|Draco Malfoy (Jakob Silfverberg)||What haven't we said about him yet? He's FAST. He's a great puck handler. My favorite part of his game is his ability to effortlessly strip the puck from the opposing player and jet up the ice towards the goal. He did that several times during the scrimmage.||Garnet Exelby**||Didn't really notice|
|Cam Fowler||Cam being Cam. He took a stinger in the first half and was a little slower afterwards. Nothing remarkable about his game.||John Gibson||Goalies are so hard to describe. He was good, not NHL good yet, but AHL good. He and Etem came out early to practice Gibson's glove work. There were a few puck handling missteps but nothing horrific. He looked better than Bobkov, that's for damn sure.|
|Daniel Winnik||I swear I didn't see him during the first half of the scrimmage. In the second half he showed up a tiny bit. He's a quick skater||Frederik Andersen||He and Gibson really didn't have much work to do with their teammates on the other side of the ice so much. The goals scored on the two of them were due to them getting caught napping. If Hiller is traded, he's going to backup Fasth|
|Kevin Gagne||He was everywhere. I thought he was a forward.||Tiegan (Not Steve) Zahn**||Can't remember anything he did|
|Mat Clark||The only thing I remember about him was when Zach Stortini had the puck skating towards him and Clark was skating backwards. For some unknown reason, Stortini reaches out, leaving the puck and bear hugs Clark's head. It was strange.||Saku Koivu||I have never hid my affinity for Koivu. His skating may not be as fluid as Selanne's but he's incredibly quick and agile. He looked better than a lot of the kids out there. I feel safe when he's in the lineup.|
|Ben Lovejoy||I didn't realize how hard his shot was. He scored from the blueline on a slapper.||John Kurtz||Didn't notice|
|Mark Fistric||Didn't notice||Chris Wagner||I like this guy. He was always in front of the goaltender. One of my favorite parts of his game is small shoves and chops at the goalie's stick when play is elsewhere. It really annoyed the goalies|
|Igor Bobkov||He's gigantic. He let in a dribbler and more goals than Fasth, but I will give him some credit because his teammates weren't helping him out at all. He was getting hammered by the Black Team nearly all the second half.||Zach Stortini||The Ducks have Starburns so this dumbass better not crack the NHL lineup. He's known as 'Huggy Bear' because he has a tendency to stir shit up but never fight. Today he was going at DSP to the point it was getting dangerous. DSP stood his ground. He had one foot in the gate as Stortini followed him back to the bench chirping the whole way. They were shoving each other until Maroon broke it up. BTW, he looks like a homeless, crazy-eyed guy who thinks he's Jesus.|
|Kyle Becker*||Unremarkable||Alex Grant||He scored too and I didn't notice. Too much going on!|
|* Denotes Amature Try-Out (ATO)|
|** Denotes Pro Try-Out (PTO)|
I'm heading back to Anaheim Ice tomorrow for practice and the scrimmage. If there is anyone you have questions about or want me to look a little closer at, put a note it in the comments.
Now for a tweet-gasm play-by-play-ish of the scrimmage...
Group B in White and Group C in Black. Will follow @PollakOnSharks lead and refer to them by color.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
#NHLDucks Groups B and C hit the ice for today's scrimmage. pic.twitter.com/gpxgub7B8k— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Two 30-minute halves with running clock. Maroon already puts White up 1-0 with backhand on Andersen.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
Charlie Sarault pushes the White team's lead to 2-0 with his first of the scrimmage.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Palmieri gets the Black team on the board, beating Fasth with a shot past the glove. White leads it, 2-1.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Silfverberg-Bonino-Selanne and Beleskey-Holland-Palmieri lines getting a long look together. Stortini and Smith-Pelly mixing it up.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
Will only tweet notable lines and combos staying together. Etem-Koivu-Cogliano still a unit and Fowler-Lovejoy a pairing.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
At the end of the first half, the White team leads the Black team, 2-1. We have one more half left to play.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Gibson in net for Black and Bobkov in White to start second 30 minutes.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
Cogliano snaps one by Bobkov on a rush with Koivu and Etem. 2-2.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
Good stop by Gibson on deflection try but Silfverberg buries rebound on power play for 3-2 White lead.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
What a save by Bobkov! Ranged to his right just in time to stick aside a shot from Etem. That keeps the White team ahead by one.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Beleskey's on the board. He chips a shot over Bobkov's blocker and into the net to tie the game at three.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Alex Grant gets one by Bobkov to put the Black squad ahead, 4-3, with just over seven minutes left in the scrimmage.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Ben Lovejoy ties the game with a rocket from the point. That puck found its way through a mass of bodies and past Gibson. It's 4-4.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) September 13, 2013
Holland off nice feed from Beleskey and Palmieri late for Black, who wins 5-4. Potential fourth line with offensive upside?— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013
Boudreau liked Beleskey-Holland-Palmieri combo and strongly suggested they'll be together through first three or four preseason games.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) September 13, 2013