so i was gonna head out early but i am truly terrible at mornings. after hitting my alarm a couple times (i'm supposed to be enjoying this hockey thing, so why make it feel like WORK ??!) and stopping at tim's for the large double double, i arrived at the DHA about 11:15. i grinned to myself as i walked in, zipped up my hoody, and took a seat about eight feet to the left of mike keenan, who was sitting with darryl sutter.
i think it only proper to point out that darryl has either been basking in all this stampede sunniness, or has recently returned from some beach vacation. you could hit fabutan for weeks and still not be that dark... at least he was wearing comfortable footwear, though... keenan was sportin' some seriously hideous dress shoes.
GROUP B was still warming up when i got there, but when they started on drills, it seemed clear to me that sutter spent the first bit checking out taratukhin. i mean, i was trying not to stare but he was acutely interested in the lateral skating & shooting that was happening at the south end of the ice, and thus watching any/all of tukhs, seitsonen, cracknell and lalande. i would think that, due to their apparent advanced skills and experience (along with their presence at the goalie practice yesterday) those are the GROUP B guys to watch.
i tried really hard to overhear their conversations but it was tough with all the skating, post-hitting, slapshotting, and pad-saving --coupled with the fact that sutter ain't the loudest of talkers at the best of times. some suit (with a really nice old briefcase) sat down with them for a bit, and at one point said "he's number 27" and pointed at taratukhin. i can only imagine the question was something to the effect of "which one is the russian ?" or "where's that guy darryl thinks so highly of ?" again, adding to my theory that tukhs will probably end up with a good chance to make the big team. the only other notable comment i heard was keenan pronouncing that his "wife is excited to be here."
other GROUP B notables were:
- all the defensemen (palin, jonsson, pardy, negrin, cole) looked quite solid, big & fast
- seitsonen is sizey and has good hands, but ain't the best skater
- playfair has returned to the goatee
i didn't stick around for much of the GROUP A practice, as it was all skating drills. dan ryder and tim ramholt were noticeably absent, though apparently attended the morning session. it was nice to see prust & boyd, and i must admit that van der gulik looks pretty sharp and could also really contend for a spot come october. boyd looked a bit lazy/half-assed and i don't think it was just me --the on-ice coach was riding him pretty hard... the buzz is that ramholt will be the emerging defenseman this year since richie regehr appears to be playing in europe.
i didn't really see enough to give out any prizes, save for the inaugural "look at me look at me" award which goes to JD watt: not only did he hit an edge and tumble at full tilt (causing sutter to exclaim loudly "OOPS !!!"), but a wayward puck off his stick missed sutter and keenan by mere feet (they both ducked).
****OHYEAH and i was chatting a bit with some guy who had also attended both days, and it turns out that he also had to ask for the 12-pager on monday. therefore i take back everything i said about that guy handing em out, since he was withholding them from any non-press looking folks. i was just the last to pick up on it....