Monday, September 14, 2009

PK: Monday Practice at Training Camp

Well, if you didn't know, this is my first solo post. I spent the morning watching drills and an inter-squad scrimmage. I'm happy to announce that some of the rookies are starting to round into shape and some of the veterans look like they could open the season tomorrow night. Anaheim Ice wasn't as packed as it was Sunday, but there were still a few hundred people in the stands for the scrimmage, and the Ducks didn't disappoint. The players looked excited, and that made me excited. No matter what happens this year, I think Ducks hockey will be some of the most entertaining out there.

Since it's just me, I'm going to do a quick recap of players who made great plays and guys who need to step it up in order to be ready for the season, or even stick around.

Rookies Rising:
This list includes Deschamps, Sharp, Brittain, and Macenauer. Deschamps' passing wasn't as crisp today as it was yesterday, but he's very creative and working hard. I even saw him drive to the net a couple of times like a power forward. Macenauer is still working that shot, but he's also flying at the net and burying feeds from the likes of Getzlaf and Perry-- I'm just saying.

Sharp and Brittain were dominating in the corners. They were playing like big men and Sharp was showing flashes of skill that I think should get him consideration as a Bottom 6 forward coming out of camp. Brittain was skating with Selanne a lot, and the kid may not have the best hands I've seen, but he takes the body and cycles well. He looks a little like a poor man's Dustin Penner right now, but the Ducks need a player like that.

Taking It Back To The Old Skool:
Getzlaf is still avoiding full contact drills, but the members of the RPG line seem to have their game intact, as does the captain. No surprise there. But two proven NHLers who stood out today were Koivu and Wisniewski. Wisniewski was a defensive wall. No one seemed to be able to get anything past him. His stick work was phenomenal, and he was separating guys from the puck all practice.

Koivu looks like a kid on his first pair of new skates. He's putting on stick handling clinics and creating so many scoring chances. Not to mention he's fighting for ice. He was taken down during the scrimmage and was still making plays from his knees. I can't wait to see this guy in midseason form.

Packing Their Bags:
Holland wasn't meant to be an NHL guy this year, but he still disappoints with his inability to play power forward offense. I don't see the grit he'll need to play in the Western Conference.

Things are getting worse for Mitera. Everytime I noticed him today, it seemed to be for something bad. He was still showing that strong skill set, but it was like watching a clock with some missing cogs-- it just wasn't working.

Vacationing Veterans:
Ryan Carter could not get it going today. Every decision on the ice seemed to be wrong. He spent most of his time mishandling the puck in the defensive zone, and there was no offensive upside to his game today.

Jiggy made some really good stops, but the goals he did give up were the kind that go through a goalie. He was mostly solid, but a couple of bad goals today have me worried about whether or not there really will be a goaltending battle in camp, or if we're going to have the most expensive backup in the league.

Overall, great day at camp and I can't wait to go back tomorrow.

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