About a dozen onlookers showed up to Anaheim Ice Thursday morning to watch the Ducks' Wednesday night pre-season squad take an open practice with Coaches Brown and Farrish. Your bloggers were there for the short session.
Daniel, what problems from Wednesday's game were you glad to see the coaches addressing Thursday morning?
That's an easy question to answer. I was most pleased with work on puck possession. I know that our roster has changed, but I think the main components of a puck possession game are still in place. I think a lot of these kids are not used to having to fight for the puck, keep it in the zone and then transform that pressure into offensive chances. I don't think the style of game we play needs to change just because some of the personnel has changed. I think this extra practice with forechecking and maintaining the zone is especially important considering that no matter who we place a particular prospect with, that team will not be exposing him to our system. These kids need to learn this before they get sent down.
I was happy to see Coach Farrish working so closely with Artyukhin. With limited hockey sense, it will probably take him a while to feel comfortable in our system, and the coaches seem to recognize that. They paid extra attention to his timing and his positioning on the forecheck, restarting the drill for him on more than one occasion. He can really fly out there, and with some tenacity in the practice rink (and probably some rote memorization), he may know where he's supposed to fly to before the season starts. If he can, he'll vindicate Murray and the pro scouting staff's high hopes.