Similar to last Saturday's Futures Game the realities of life and fatherhood wouldn't allow me to see the entire afternoon session of training camp on Saturday (or get this posted Saturday afternoon). But I did have my eye out for a few things as requested by you, the loyal Anaheim Calling reader. So before I leave this open for updates/comments about day four, here are my observations from Saturday afternoon:
Line Rushes (for what they're worth)
#51 Dany Heatley - #15 Ryan Getzlaf - #10 Corey Perry
#7 Andrew Cogliano - #67 Rickard Rakell - #12 (weird) Devante Smith-Pelly
#50 Nic Kerdiles - #20 David Steckel (PTO, technically) - #64 Stefan Noesen
#57 Kenton Helgesen - #62 Chris Wagner - #74 Joseph Cramarassa - #55 Brad Winchester (PTO)
D Pairs (for what they're worth)
#4 Cam Fowler - #6 Ben Lovejoy
#45 Sami Vatanen - #3 Clayton Stoner
#42 Josh Manson - #61 Nathan McIver
#37 Mat Clark - #57 Andrew O'Brien
Goalies (as expected)
#31 Frederik Andersen
#30 Jason LaBarbera
Kerdiles was mostly playing on the left wing. He centered a few drills where, due to the odd number of players necessitated mixed lines, but wile with his Orange color coded line listed above, he obviously wasn't going to push Steckel to the wing. Kerdiles and Stefan Noesen each had a few nice shots on Jason LaBarbera during the first drill (unit of five set up in the OZ for one shot then NZ transition for another) but that initial combination would suggest to me that they're both expected to start in Norfolk this year, unless things change in the next week or so.
Then the group moved to 2-on-2s where Getzlaf and Perry were naturally matched up. But that got me thinking, don't you already know what Getzy and Perry are going to do together? Why not give those few extra reps to work on the Getzlaf/Heatley dynamic, if we're seriously trying to make this work. Of course that was all thrown out the window when the next round came up and the random assignment of Getzlaf and Steckel went together.
Next was battle drills in the corners. Unfortunately it was on Andersen's side of the ice which was visually obstructed for me. Instead I got to see Dwayne Roloson working on progressions and puck handling with LaBarbera.
After that was a series of full ice 5-on-5 shifts starting from different faceoff circles (no actual faceoffs were taken). Some young up and coming kid named Ryan Getzlaf decked Rakell with a hit within seconds of the shift starting then scored on LaBarbera with a nasty deflection at the top of the crease. I think he might make it this year. Jokes aside, this is where I have to admit Dany Heatley didn't look terrible. And I can confirm our old friend Jen Neale's comment from Friday that he did look pretty quick. Not sure if that's just his exceeding low expectations or he's actually made some progress over the summer.
Last but not least (of what I saw) was a complicated drill to describe, but pretty much broke down as a 3-on-2 (forwards vs. D) then one D-man and one forward broke off for a point shot/attempted deflection with the forward screening/going for a deflection while the other forwards and D go on a 2-on-1 the other way. Anyway, the reason I went through all of that was pretty much just to crap on Stoner for one tiny mistake. Basically he completely whiffed a wrist shot (!?) from the point with literally ZERO pressure of any kind. While it's entirely unfair to judge him solely based on one minor lapse, in a practice, before the season starts, it was really the only thing he did that stood out in any way.
So those are my thoughts from Saturday's afternoon session. Today's plan is for Eric to attend both morning and afternoon groups and report later tonight or tomorrow morning. In the meantime the requisite twitter updates and comments start.... NOW!
#NHLDucks holding a scrimmage at the end of the first session. A glance at the scoreboard reveals the team names: Casino vs. Taxi Driver.— Kyle Shohara (@kyleshohara) September 21, 2014
HAHA! Goodfellas vs. The Departed is more my style but pretty sweet nevertheless.
Here's Eric's report on the morning session of training camp today. Mostly scrimmage.
And finally, here is Eric's report from the afternoon session/scrimmage. Tomorrow the Ducks open up the preseason games with a split squad game against the Avs. One in Anaheim at 7pm PT and one in Colorado at 6pm PT. We'll have more from those as well as the beginning of our season preview series.