Sleek's Impressions from Monday's Ducks Training Camp Scrimmage

I did end up going down to Anaheim Ice today with a Ducks buddy of mine to see the scrimmage.  Teams went something like this (completely going off of memory):

Team White: Jonas Hiller, Justin Pogge, Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Saku Koivu, George Parros, Todd Marchant, Kyle Calder, Steve Eminger, Ryan Whitney, Sheldon Brookbank, James Wisniewski

Team Black: J.S. Giguere, Bobby Ryan, Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul, Petteri Nokelainen, Ryan Carter, Evgeny Artyukhin, Andrew Ebbett, Nick Boynton, Luca Sbisa, Scott Niedermayer, Jassen Cullimore, Brett Festerling

With plenty of kids rounding out both rosters.  They played some silly rules -- goalies were often changing on the fly, which led to some comical plays.  Penalties weren't served, but were penalized with a penalty shot, which if missed was in play (basically nine skaters followed the penalty shot shooter into the zone).  And essentially the game was played in two halves -- a 45-minute running clock on NHL ice followed by a 45-minute running clock on Olympic ice.  Halfway through the crowd had to move over to the adjoining rink, essentially.

Bulleted impressions:

  • Any hopes I had for a strong comeback year for J.S. Giguere took a big hit today -- Jiggy looked bad on a number of goals.  Team white won the game 6-4, and even though the net time was split three ways, Giguere surrendered at least 4, none of which were very impressive.  He allowed goals to both Selanne and Koivu (playing on separate lines throughout) that seemed stoppable, and his worst moment was when George "the magician" Parros bounced a puck in the net off Giguere's back from behind the net.  Ouch, Giguere.  Meanwhile, Jonas Hiller looked as solid as he did last spring -- still a lot of rebounds, but nothing getting past him. 
  • Saku Koivu was awesome throughout -- I think he's going to be awesome for the Ducks, especially if he's hidden behind Getzlaf.  He was fantastic distributing the puck, backchecking, and seizing opportunities in front of the net.  He would've had a bigger day but his linemates weren't all that good at finishing.
  • Aside from the Parros trick, the best "wow" goal went t o Bobby Ryan, who had a breakaway stopped but then did some fancy trick (I wish they had a replay) to roof the rebound.  He may have a bit too much "show off" in his game still, but when he looks good, it looks damn good.  Another good goal was scored by Ryan Carter, who bulleted a top-shelf rebound shot from in tight.
  • The two teams were coached by the Ducks assistant coaches -- Newell Brown and Dave Farrish -- but I didn't see Randy Carlyle there at all.  He was either watching from a hidden location or doesn't take much stock in scrimmages.  After the game, the teams split off and did skating drills on each rink -- the best part of the day was watching poor goalies do laps.
  • Two players who didn't play in the scrimmage but did make skate appearances afterwards -- Ryan Getzlaf  and Erik Christensen
  • I tried to keep an eye on blueliners, and certain ones did impress -- Scott Niedermayer was awesome, even paired with the unknown Stefan Warg (when's the last time the Ducks had a Swedish d-man?)Brett Festerling had a strong game, also, and I liked Sheldon Brookbank
  • I was less impressed with Steve Eminger -- could have been the wrong moments I watched, but he seemed slow and did a poor job holding the puck in the blueline -- my first two impressions, at least.  However, I generally did like the blueliners -- at this point, I'm not opposed to the idea of keeping Luca Sbisa in the minors for part of another year.  Sbisa looked fine, I guess, but he is still a kid -- not much of an impression either way today.
  • Evgeny Artyukhin is huge -- the one guy throwing the biggest hits today.  He may have scored a goal also -- we were on the wrong end of the rink for that one, though.
  • Couldn't get too much of a look at other goalies -- Justin Pogge stood out mostly because his helmet is still littered with blue maple leafs.  He was the goalie (probably by chance) at the end of the game, though, and did make an awesome save when Team Black pulled its goalie.  The game ended comically -- there may have been a dozen players in the crease when the final whistle blew.
  • I can tell you already that I am going to be confused by Joffrey Lupul's #14, much in the same way I get confused about Erik Christensen and his #26.  Every time I saw Lupul, I immediately thought it was Kunitz.  He did score a power-play breakaway shot, but for the most part it seems the same Lupul as before -- a guy that shouldn't be carrying the puck very often.  I think Lupul may be better off if he handles the puck in less-than-two-second increments.
  • Hard to tell you too much about either of the tryouts' prospects for making the team.  There were some decent things today out of Jassen Cullimore and Kyle Calder, but for Calder especially, there were some down moments.  At this point, I'd put Cullimore's chances as higher, I guess.
  • I can't say very much about any of the prospect kids, except there is definitely a talent gap between them and those who have played in the NHL.  They're young, though -- I do look forward to some future day when Peter Holland, Josh Brittain, and some other player whose last name is a country team up to form Anaheim's "U.N. Line".
  • Lastly, I do have to say that Corey Perry  looked strong out there -- only took one dive, as far as I could tell, and had a super-sweet assist to MacGregor Sharp
  • All told, a pretty good time; I may end up going again tomorrow. Go ahead and shoot any questions about anything I neglected to mention -- I didn't take any game notes or anything, but I'm a moderately attentive guy and I'll do my best to answer.

    Go Ducks.

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