Ducks Gameday -- Another Sleektooned Logo

Phoenix Coyotes (0-0-0) at Anaheim Ducks (0-0-0), 7 pm
Five For Howling and Anaheim Calling -- Abraham Linkin'.

Hooray!  All of a sudden it's hockey time!  And while I normally don't do gameday posts for preseason games, I'll break that lazy rule today, because I just found out I've got Row B seats for tonight's preseason opener.  Woo hoo!  So you suckers can listen on the internet radio or something for a guy who sounds like he's wearing a green shirt.  :)

As for lineups, the Ducks have announced that Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, and Lubomir Visnovsky will be playing tonight.  Beyond that, shrug!  A mix of kids and strangers, some wearing the Ducks uniform for the first time.  Should be exciting!

Way more exciting than practice, at least.  I did attend yesterday's training camp / scrimmage with Jen from AC, and my main takeaway was that it was pretty damn boring.  The scrimmage was better watching than the practice, but even that was pretty so-so.  Still, it was good to see some players back -- everything looked fine that I saw from Hiller, Selanne, and Lubo.  I don't like making strong conclusions based on one boring day of camp, but here's a few notes, at least:

  • Just like in real life, Jason Blake outhustles everybody in practice -- it may be where he excels the most.  If he were a young prospect, I'd be very excited about his work ethic.
  • I may have coined a nickname for Rickard Rakell.  It's not based on anything I saw, but "Roadkill" seems to roll off the tongue nicely.
  • I guess I didn't really quite know what Andrew Cogliano's face looks like.  To constantly prove that to myself, I mistook Nicholas Deschamps for Cogliano like four times.  Cogliano wasn't even in that group I watched practice.  :)
  • Mark Bell was quicker than I thought he'd be.  Which isn't astoundingly fast or anything, but he can skate pretty well.  Some intrigue there.
  • I still kind of refuse to believe there is a person with the last name Cramarossa -- that sounds way made up.  But he was way better than I'd be if I made up a fake name to get into a training camp.
  • I don't know why, but I came away liking Nate Guenin.  Well, I sort of know why -- he made some capable defensive plays in the scrimmage and his hair looks kind of cool when he's skating.  He could make for an unspectacular fill-in during the season, perhaps; Ducks need some of those.  And best of all -- when you first see him, your first angry gut reaction turns out to be false; he's not Bill Guerin.
  • The only thing I marked on my roster sheet all morning was a "+" next to Sean Zimmerman's name.  I kind of forget why -- later in the scrimmage he worked his way down to a minus but ended the day kind of even.  I think I'm way more lenient on guys I've never heard of, though.
  • Matt Smaby wears #25.  He's not really big enough to be a fake-Pronger, but he's not the worst choice.  I came away decently impressed, though, and he could be another unspectacular defenseman fill-in option for the Ducks. 
  • I didn't get to see Emerson Etem and Andrew Gordon's group practice, but they both starred in the scrimmage.  Gordon is small but smart about it; Etem has a lot of "jam" or whatever it's called.  The biggest event of the scrimmage happened when Etem threw a sort of awkward mid-ice hit on Sheldon Brookbank.  Ten seconds later, Etem had the puck and Brookbank threw an angry two-hand slash at the rookie as he skated by.  It would have been a penalty shot (the scrimmage had no power plays), but Etem scored before that could happen.
  • Devante Smith-Pelly impressed me less than Etem, though I don't know if he's hurt or something -- Jen noted he didn't play towards the end of the scrimmage.  I can see why I should be excited for DSP down the road, but at least yesterday I did see a couple of mental mistakes -- bad pass choices and stuff.  That's fine -- he's still a kid, but based on my small sample he's a little less ready.
  • Top-to-bottom, I'm excited about the goaltenders.  All of them.  Jonas Hiller, the Swissman gone mad.  Dan Ellis, the rich man gone mad.  Jeff Deslauriers, the ex-Oiler wild card.  Igor Bobkov, the madman turned goalie.  Iiro Tarkki, the Finnish guy.  John Gibson, 18-year-old Captain America.  It's a full house of international insanity, but there's some serious talent and potential there.

Anyways, ready for the Five For Howling logo re-design?  I'll warn you now -- it's not terribly flattering.

But hey, on the plus side, my Gary Bettman turned out decent enough that I didn't have to label him "Commissioner" or anything.  :)


Awwww.  Good luck with all of that, Yotes Fans.

Prediction: Ducks 4, Coyotes 2.  Goals by Not-Bill-Guerin, Roadkill, Commissioner Gordon, and Teemu.

Go Ducks.

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