Friday, October 3, 2008

It's GO Time!

Can you smell the ice (mixed with the pizzeria scents and Zamboni exhaust)? Hear the pucks hitting the boards, skates digging into the ice? Oh yeah, baby, hockey is back.

Skipped out for a bit today and caught the pre-game skate for the campers playing in tonight's game against the San Antonio Hosers Rampage, as well as the practice for the non-playing campers.

Seemed to be a pretty even mix of vets and tryouts spread between the red/green jerseys AND between the playing and non-playing teams, though it did seem like the team not playing tonight had more enforcer types. Of course, with about half the tryouts being rather high PIM guys, I'm not sure that matters much. In practice, they all look pretty nice (except Emmerson, who is scary regardless).

I had a big duh moment because in the first skate, I saw Dimples (recognized the hot, blond angel paint job on his mask... I guess if you're gonna have a guardian angel on either side of your melon, she might as well be hot and blond). But I assumed the other goalie was one of the tryouts because he had on solid white pads and a mask with some ferocious yellow animal on it. And I was watching him thinking, "Damn! That guy is pretty good!"

Well, apparently it was Nolan, so I'm assuming he gets the start tonight. He looked better than Dimples, who got frustrated at one point during a 2 on 0 drill where he was just getting lit up. Understandably. My inner goalie cringed watching the drill. However, I did see him moving the puck quite a bit and he's handy at it, which I don't recall from prior games. You all know how I adore puck-moving goalies, right? Yeah. Go Dimples.

Of course, one of my big ponders this summer has been who might be the captain this season. I can say that Stoner, Hamilton, and Kassian all had leadership roles on the ice during practice, whether it was helping shoot pucks for drills or leading the stretching. It's no surprise that these are the go-to guys. I'm guessing Stoner wears the C tonight.

Here's the roster for tonight in no particular order:

G - Khudobin, Schaef

D - Crowley, Albers, Love, Stoner, Tarkir, Noreau

Just taking a stab at some line combos:
Schultz - Rosa - Locke
Kalus - Madsen - Olvecky
Tarkir - Lang - Ryznar
Soares - Deitsch - Powell

That top line could be scary. Rosa and Locke seemed pretty chummy and though I didn't have my list of numbered guys in front of me, I kept noticing #10 for his nice shot and soft hands. Turns out that was Schultz, which is fantastic. And they have Locke listed as a LW, so we'll see how that position change works for him. My understanding is that he's been playing center for some time now.

Of course, I'm sure the lines will be shaken and stirred throughout the game but it's more fun to look at a roster in line combos, I think.

Another guy I noticed was Ryznar. He put a nifty backhander in the net, seems to have good hands, and is a pretty big guy.

Locke was first off the ice, Rosa was last off, as he spent quite a while doing a little puck handling drill. It's clear why he's so strong on the puck if he's doing these little things on his own.

That's it for the guys who are playing tonight. Should be a good game.

The second practice was the non-playing guys and included some vets like Hamilton, Kassian, Rogers, and Lundbohm. It was a much harder skate and occasionally looked like real hockey, which was a sight for sore eyes. Not much else gleaned from watching that session, other than Kassian putting a couple of pucks past the goalies. Atta boy.

Oh and in spite of having quite a few tough guys in the second practice, it wasn't super physical. The guys were definitely not going all out in their checks and stuff.

In other news, the Wild signed big defenseman Justin Falk of the WHL Spokane Chiefs to a 3 year deal and a fat signing bonus. Somebody's getting a new car this weekend. He's coming to Houston likely within the week, but is playing with the Wild tonight in his pro debut. Big day for that kid. The Wild are never short on drama in their contract dealings.


buddhafisch  October 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM  

Congrats Ms. C. Is it everything you dreamed of? I hope so.

As for your comment in Russoville... you don't owe me anything. Well, except maybe some good, solid coverage of the boys.

Ms. Conduct  October 3, 2008 at 5:47 PM  

I'll do my best, B.

To be perfectly honest, we're still 2 hours from game time and I'm exhausted. Today has been a busy, good day. :) I'm sure when I get to the rink I'll be energized again. Maybe I should have a Coke now...

hipcheck  October 3, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

Good luck tonight for your boys! We are pretty stocked in the NHL and AHL now. :)

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