Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tueday practice: good news and bad news

i woke up early this morning cause i thought it would be good to attend practice today and see what the heck is going on down in flamesville. i tried to get there early to catch the presumed gio/sarich skate but i'm never prompt for that kind of thing so i missed whatever on-ice shenanigans took place before the healthy players started...

it was easily the most interesting practice i've ever attended. quite enlightening and educational when it comes to what we might see in game 1. [i did actually consider that this post would be giving info to the enemy but a) who the hell from chicago reads this blog, and b) i bet there were 'hawks scouts there anyways....]

there were a whole heckuva lot of dudes out there; it looked more like training camp:

some key points to consider from the hour-long skate:

1. walking wounded
regehr, sarich, & (not surprisingly) gio were all absent, but the rest of the flames' roster + all the troops recalled from the QC were present. i was pretty much ecstatic to see glenX going hard; having not skated in previous drills or game#82, i was a little concerned about his status. he and bourque both looked up to speed and game ready this morning, though bourque might have seemed a little on the slower side.... i wouldn't suggest injured, so that could be a conditionning issue (or he's just taking it a bit easy). warrener does not appear to have progressed any further than the practice i attended six-or-so weeks ago, and i would place him as a huge longshot to start game 1. not that i would imagine he'll progress to NHL-ready ever again....

2.lines and pairings
obviously we're talking about a keenan-helmed squad, and we're examining a practice two full days before puckdrop. also, i'm clearly i'm not one to pull out a pad of paper and take notes, so take this all with a grain of salt:

vandy-eriksson (this one is especially gag inducing when you consider that,
          for the next two games, chicago will have last change. in a text
           to kent i suggested they were gonna get murdered. he responded
          "Total slaughter. Emphasis on the laughter' part.")

i should have paid much closer attention to the plethora of pluggers but i did notice rhettro playing on a line with roy (and brett jr, i believe), which makes perfect sense if those guys aren't ever gonna see actual gametime for the rest of the year. i wish i could recall where boyd ended up, but the mathematics of this team would place him on a line with lundmark and nystrom (though i certainly don't recollect actually seeing it). that would leave peters, dvdg, and greentree for the majority of the drills, which seems about right.

i've only ever been to two flames' practices outside of training camp/prospect camp, so to see a powerplay drill in one of them makes me wonder if the "flames don't practice the powerplay" myth is just that. taking the yellow "PK jerseys" were pelech, negrin, sutter jr, and dvdg. below is a shot of the first unit: from the top clockwise around the perimeter is iggy, jokinen, cammalleri, dion, aucoin (on the blueline).

here, bertuzzi falls to the second unit with lundmark, langkow, leopold and (it hurts me) eriksson. rene bourque and glenX were down at the other end taking shots on Qmac, so who knows if this was an experiment or an actual consideration.... it's still nice to not see bert on the first unit, but i won't sugarcoat the truth: the yellow-shirted babies got the puck out across the blueline more often than the red-and-whites got the puck in the net... not a good sign.

4.individual effort(s)
dion pretty much levelled squid on one drill --not phaneuf's fault, entirely (cammo should keep his head up; he just skated directly into #3 who had both feet firmly planted). he also accidentally toppled lundmark who was waiting for his turn and also not paying attention. dion came off of his turn and ran right into him... glenX and pardy stuck around after practice for a little point-shot + tip-in action:

(that's playfair holding a mini-meeting with the newbies in the background).

other notables were:
- the most beautiful goal by pardy (perfectly picking the top corner)
- nystrom popping the waterbottle
- pelech's size
- rhettro's hair
- dvdg making iggy howl about who-knows-what

uhhhh.... that's pretty much all i have to say about today's event, other than there was a very seriously strange crowd watching. one dude in a truly pimpin' gold-ish plaid suit (like cherry styles but far more subdued) with a jimmy-canaryshirt blue button-up. there was another chick with hella piercings and tatts, a very curious family, an english guy with a broken arm (in a flames-red cast !), and a well dressed man taking notes in a ledger. i was sad not to see my gio, and also noticeably absent was jamie mclennan; even with the organizations top three goaltenders present.....

[links to the photos in enormous form, for your perusing/stalking pleasure here, here, and here. also, as a bonus you can check out a big ol' photo of the team doing their cool-down stretches here.]


Ms. Conduct said...

Now that I don't have to deal with him anymore, I can say that I really like that Leland Irving. He's a good little goalie.

walkinvisible said...

.....and so CUTE !!! i really would love to pinch his cheeks.

maimster said...

Hard to follow that comment...

Thanks for the pics and insight, this post makes me feel better than reading all of the analysis (as accurate as it probably is) over at M&G.

burningfish said...

Great post. Nice to hear a bit of what's going on at practice!

And I, for one, would love to see larger versions of the photos.

walkinvisible said...

okay, no probs..... i will link to em in enormous form for your perusing/stalking pleasure here, here, and
here. also, as a bonus you can check out a huge photo of the team doing their cool-down stretches here.

Kent W. said...

I somehow knew that pithy text would end up in a post...

walkinvisible said...

pith - y /ˈpɪθi/ [pith-ee]
–adjective, pith⋅i⋅er, pith⋅i⋅est.
1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation.
2. of, like, or abounding in pith.

(just so other people don't have to bother looking it up)i liked that text, kent... it made me laugh, and reflected the eriksson comment i made over at M&G yesterday....

R O said...

I just read that piece on McE injuring his thumb... kid can't buy a break huh?

walkinvisible said...

i noticed he left before the end of practice but there was hardly any time left so i figured it was an equipment issue...

sortof reminds me of brent krahn; always a bridesmaid, never a bride... 8 years with the flames organization with not a single NHL game played... on the eve of training camp in 08 (the first time in eons there's a vyable shot at the backup job) he blows a knee...

i'm pretty sure that everybody and their dog knows that irv's the next franchise goalie anyways... another AHL year before he plays backup to kippy here in 10/11. after that, he'll take over top spot. you heard it here first.