on what might be the hottest day of my summer (kindly recall that i was in new york when the mercury topped thirty degrees back here in calgary a few weeks ago), the chill in the saddledome came as a welcome reprieve.
david marcoux was joined by the recently appointed head of goaltender development, jamie mclennan, on-ice to run this afternoon's session. noodles might have been a little nervous or something cause the drills that he was running on the west end of the rink went slower and less smoothly than the head goaltending coach's side. it was still nice to see him there, and i honestly think he'll be a fantastic addition to the flames' coaching staff.
with no roster lists available to the public this year, i made due with what i knew of the goalies, easily identifying each of keetley, irving, lalande & spratt. my roommate, who joined me in today's expedition, dubbed lalande "fancy pads," as the ECHL goalie is still sporting his old yellow-and-black equipment. irv's now year-old red-and-whites and keetley's flame-painted helmet made them easy to pick out as well, leaving the odd man out as the lowest guy on the ladder: james spratt.
the five skaters were much tougher to recognize, and i was kicking myself for not printing a roster before leaving the house. in some ways, however, my notes on them can be deemed more honest, like in a double-blind science experiment.... here are my thoughts:
#62: this was so clearly kris chucko that i'm not sure i need to elaborate much more. just go read up on all the stuff that has ever been written about him, and that's what i saw today. his "style" was easily identifyable: he's still big and he's still slow. i'll concede that he has a decent wrister, and placed a couple nice ones top shelf.
#43: this guy is pretty small, but he's fast and looked extremely eager to play. i was pretty excited when i discovered him to be dan ryder. scrappy. i look forward to more on him in the next days.
#75: the best player i saw today, i'd say, and i was surprised to find it was the petes' john armstrong. he's big, tall, a solid skater with a great shot and good stick skills. he probably scored the most goals of anyone this afternoon --whether due to talent, conditionning, or desire remains to be seen.
#80: the only defenseman on the ice today was 19-year-old swede, alexander deilert. i don't have a whole lot to say about him thusfar, but he seemed pretty big and a bit slow, but with a lot of determination and a decent wrist shot.
#60: in the first drills, i believed this to be kris chucko (which scares me a great deal cause it's actually mikael backlund). after only a brief time, i decided it couldn't possibly be chucko, based on this guy's superior skating ability (so that's comforting).... i will reserve further comment until i see more, but he certainly did not impress me all that much on initial viewing.
as for the goalies, there's not much to add at this point either. i still think that keetley is far superior to irving, and those are really the only two to watch. last year i was impressed by keetley's glove, and disappointed by irving's fivehole. today showed some improvement on the latter, while both players seem to have improved positionally in the past year....
that's it for today, kids.