The air is filled with the whizzing and metal grinding sound of skate sharpening, soon to be followed with the boom and crack of shots hitting the boards and glass, the thump of pucks bouncing off goalie pads, scraping and shaving from cuts, slash skating and stops and the ever-present string of bad jokes.
At the opening of camp the bad jokes could easily be mistaken for a Henny Youngman style one-liner festival. For example, “What did you pay for insert suit, haircut?” Wait for answer and respond, ‘Jeez, you could have got a good one for that price.” Ka-thump.
If you’re at Honda Center today look for the differences in acceleration. This will be the first tell-tale sign of each player’s readiness and conditioning. Another tell is puck handling, giving and receiving passes. Who is executing at top speed and who isn’t.
At some point you’ll see the forwards pair off and practice give and goes up and back. Keep an eye out to see who pairs with Bobby Ryan as this will be a clue to who Coach sees as his possible new line mates. The Ryan Line has a ring to it, no?
THN has our Ducks picked for 11th in the Western Conference. On TSN Power Rankings our guys open at 22nd overall. Mainstream media doesn’t see our Ducks in the playoffs. Tagged as the dog is always helpful.
From Back of the inter-Net Biscuits:
Count Habs center Scott Gomez as the first casualty of the new CBA. Rookie GM Marc Bergevin sent the veteran home for the season to await a cap amnesty buyout this summer. Under the new rules a team can’t buyout an injured player. Rather than risk injury, Gomez will receive a pro-rated $7.2M this season.
Carolina Hurricanes GM kicked off the day by pulling the trigger on a couple of trades. Former Amherstburg, Ontario native Kevin Westgarth is going to the ‘Canes in return for Anthony Stewart, a 4th round draft pick in 2013 and 6th rounder in 2014. Westgarth is an enforcer with some playing ability. In return Kings get a depth forward, with maybe, possibly some upside. Always sad to see one of my home boys leaving So-Cal, even if they’re a King.
‘Canes also shipped backup goaltender Brian Boucher and D-man Mark Alt to Philly for prospect Luke Pither. The 23-year-old Pither will compete for a depth center slot behind the Staal Bros. Pither is everyone’s heartfelt choice? Hey it’s bad joke/pun day, gimme a break.
Vancouver Canucks took a Flyer on journeyman Cam Barker, giving the now well-traveled D-man a one year contract at $700k. Barker still has a “lAte-bloomer” possibility about him. Maybe Vanland will be the right fit at the right time.
In case you missed it, Brian Burke offered ‘No excuses, no complaints” at his post firing press conference yesterday. It was Burke at his curmudgeon best as he told reporters, “We’re here today because we didn’t win enough.” When asked if he’ll manage the USA Olympic team Burke told Toronto Sun reporter Steve Simmons, “The good thing about today is that I don’t have to talk to you again.” And he moved on.
Burke did say that he’s ready to start with a new team tomorrow.
Buffalo Sabres brought back veteran Jochen Hecht on a one year contract.
Cap strapped NY Rangers signed RFA D-man Michael del Zotto to a two-year $5.1m contract. del Zotto scored 10 goals and added 31 assists in 77 games last season. He posted another 10 points in 20 playoff games. Starting the season with a healthy Marion Gaborik and new addition Rick Nash ought to improve del Zotto’s assist number.
Look fir the Rags to follow the Habs example and send Wade Redden home rather than risk injury by playing him.