- Saturday's event, held at Anaheim Ice, was well-attended. Take with a grain of salt the market, but there were easily several hundred people there from start to finish. Finding a seat during the scrimmage became close to impossible if you were late. I think it's safe to say that the fans are hungry this season and excited for what's to come.
- Newcomer Carl Hagelin is fast. Technically a "no, duh" statement but I'm talking really fast. Hags wasn't part of the intra-squad scrimmage as he featured in the morning practice session. During the conditioning stretches he was zipping around the ice and barely seemed to have to put any effort into it. Meanwhile other guys behind him looked like they were putting everything they had into their strides just to keep up.
- Depth signing and likely full-time San Diego Gull Brian McGrattan is just as mean, nasty, and physical as you could remember, if not more so. McGrattan spared nobody in terms of physical play. Didn't matter who you were or where you were, if he could line you up while you controlled the puck for just a split second too long, he'd drill you hard. Good practice for a lot of the young developing defensemen, as it forced a lot of them to play with urgency and keep their head up in order to make a good decision.
- The morning practice featured a line of Ryan Getzlaf centering Hagelin and Chris Stewart. Stewart and Getzlaf already seem to make a great pair, and Stewart has some pretty quick hands. You can tell the talent for scoring is definitely there, so there is definitely a high-reward potential on this one-year show-me deal. Which also brings up an interesting storyline for the remainder of camp: what is to become of Patrick Maroon, since both play a similar role, both play well with the twins, and Stewart has a little more skill in terms of scoring and potential?
- PTO Vitaly Vishnevski was also in the morning practice group that did not scrimmage. He looked like he was holding his own partnered with Simon Despres , but it's hard to tell a guy's true skill unless you can get him in a game situation. He should be in the full scrimmage tomorrow.
- The scrimmage was an entertaining affair. Two halves of 20 minutes each (running time), with the first half played on the NHL sheet of ice, and the second half played on the Olympic sheet on the other side of the facility. Not the most friendly format for fans who have to mad-scramble from one rink to the next to catch the second half. Just keep that in mind if you attend any future sessions.
- The highlight matchup for the scrimmage was between Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, who were seen jostling with each other more than a few times. At one point Perry cracked a wry smile after Kesler gave him a shot to the ankles.
- Charlie Sarault, a former standout in juniors, looked like he was doing everything in his power to make a name for himself, but it backfired on him, as it was him who looked to be the guy making a bunch of the mistakes, including taking the only penalty of the scrimmage by boarding Andrew Cogliano.
- There were a ton of goals in the scrimmage. I'm not even really sure who won. That's because the scrimmage was really a bunch of mini-games. First team to score three goals made the other team skate a quick conditioning ladder, before the game would resume with the score reset. The white team was the only team forced to skate in the first half, but both teams had to skate at least twice in the second half, as teams ramped it up on the bigger ice.
- The scrimmage also featured a few minutes of practice for the new 3-on-3 overtime rules. Perry is going to absolutely shine in this new format, as twice he found space behind the opposition in front of the blue line, once scoring and making it look easy, the other getting denied. He's going to be lethal in this new format. Sami Vatanen also looked excellent, as did Jiri Sekac. This format is all about skill.
- Nick Ritchie is looking bigger, stronger, and more mature than ever. He scored a beautiful backhand breakaway goal in the 3-on-3 part of the scrimmage, and seemed to blend seamlessly with whoever was on his line, whether full-time NHLer or kid on an amateur tryout contract.
- Speaking of those amateur tryout contracts, C.J. Garcia is showing some real potential as a smooth-skating, defensively solid young man. He's very young and will likely be cut by the end of camp, but this young man certainly looks like someone who could be of great use in San Diego in the future.
- Perhaps the biggest standout in my opinion was 31-year old Joe Piskula. Signed as a free agent after appearing in just one game for the Nashville Predators last season, Piskula was a beast in the scrimmage. In fact there were two different times where he was the only non-NHL player on the ice, and he looked hardly out of place. He has a tremendous offensive upside aided by wonderful skating ability, but also excellent presence of mind to be able to figure out the difficult situations. When he went up against any of the younger non-NHL kids, he was clearly the better player. He's going to be huge for San Diego this season.
- The squads for the scrimmage were:
- Forwards: Alexandre Alain, Matt Berry, Andrew Cogliano, Joseph Cramarossa, Max Friberg, Shawn Horcoff, Antoine Laganiere, Kyle MacKinnon, Patrick Maroon, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, Charlie Sarault.
- Defense: CJ Garcia, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour, Joe Piskula, Sami Vatanen
- Goalies: John Gibson, Ryan Faragher
- Forwards: Ryan Kesler, Brian McGrattan, Nathan Noel, Nick Ritchie, Kenny Ryan, Mike Santorelli, Jiri Sekac, Jakob Silfverberg, Chris Wagner, Harry Zolnierczyk, Nick Kerdiles, Michael Sgarbossa.
- Defense: Cam Fowler, Kevin Gagne, Korbinian Holzer, Eric Knodel, Josh Manson, Shane O'Brien
- Goalies: Frederik Andersen, Landon Bow
Anaheim Ducks Training Camp 2015: Thoughts and Highlights from Day 2
The second day of Training Camp for the 2015-16 Anaheim Ducks was a well-attended, spirited affair that featured all three training squads in action, and a fast-paced, high-scoring scrimmage.
By Kyle Nicolas