I dropped by the final training camp practice today. It turned out to be an intrasquad game which garnered some limited though interesting observations of some of the players involved.
The two clubs wore black and white jerseys without any numbers, so it was difficult to identify certain players outside of familiar veterans. Team Black had a number of regular Flames and veterans on it, including Giordano, Hannan, Kostopolous, Jokinen, Bourque, Tanguay, Kipper and Karlsson. The White Team seemed marginally younger, featuring Backlund, Baertschi and Ferland, although Babchuk, Moss, Glencross and Bouwmeester evened things up a bit.
I wasn’t able to determine all of the line combinations and duos, so I’ll stick to what/who I could recognize. Pat also wwatched some of the game toay, so maybe he can swing by and fill in some of the blanks.
– Backlund, Baertschi and Hagman were probably the best line on team White. They scored two goals (both by Backlund), one via an incredible cross-crease pass from Baertschi. No doubt the prettiest goal of the afternoon. The unit tended to be pretty dangerous in the offensive zone and the 18-year old first rounder rarely looked out of place in any area of the ice. He made one questionable decision in the defensive zone during play, but that’s just me straining to find something to criticize. Backlund made an even more egregious error (a pass up the middle from the corner), so it’s not like the kid was alone.
– Giordano and Hannan were paired on the Black side and they were very vocal. Excellent communication between the two. Of course, Giordano was running things when he was on the ice a lot of the time.
– Rene Bourque took one bad penalty, but he was good otherwise, winning puck battles and forcing his way into scoring areas. He played with Byron and Tanguay and they were on the ice for both of their club’s goals. I didn’t notice Byron much until the second half of the game, although that’s in part because I wasn’t sure who he was at first.
– TJ Brodie scored the other Black goal. A good, hard shot to the top corner.
– Glencross I noticed, but for the wrong reasons. He had one particularly bad shift where he gave the puck up just inside the offensive blueline, regained it on the backcheck, only to lose it in the exact same manner upon re-entering the zone. Assessing veterans in these sorts of scrimmages isn’t terribly useful, but I thought I’d mention it.
– Greg Nemisz played today. I know only because I made a point of looking for him. He mostly skated with Jokinen and he didn’t do anything of ntoe.
– Clay Wilson had a very nice end-to-end rush at one point. He seems very mobile and good with the puck. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure it was him who gave the puck up behind his own net at a critical point, which lead to the Bourque goal.
– Most of the goalies who appeared (kipper, Irving and Orito) played well aside from Karlsson. Both goals he surrendered were groaners…especially Bouwmeester’s shot from the point, which was a bit of a floating wrist shot.
– Only about two thirds of training camp was involved today. Iginla, Carson, Morrison, Ivanans and Sarich are out with ailments as well.
– Team Black is likely the squad that will appear in the Saddledome versus Canucks tomorrow night. Team White will probably travel to Vancouver.