i'm not really even sure where to start, here, because the canadian men's olympic camp red v. white scrimmage was un-freakin-believable. even without the physical play we're accustomed to in the NHL (and that there will no doubt be during the olympic games), these guys were HUSTLING.... the pace and intensity was pretty high, but there was definitely good humour and sportsmanship offered forth by both teams...
the first thing that struck me was that there were quite obviously no rules set out, by hockey canada, in regards to jersey numbers.... on the red team there was #11 jordan staal and #11 danny cleary. also on the red team was #19 joe thornton and #19 shane doan... the white team had #12 jarome iginla, #12 eric staal, #3 dion phaneuf and #3 stéphane robidas.... i'm not sure who was in charge of this fiasco but let's just say anyone in the third tier would've had a whole lot of trouble figuring out which players were which.... even down in the 200's, i had an argument about which #11 made an awesome play (it certainly didn't help that j.staal and cleary were on the same line for the first two periods)...
for the record: the best line on the ice bar-none were "the elevens" with doan on the wing. surprised ? yeah... me too.
another interesting thing was that mike babcock coached the reds for the first two periods and they DOMINATED (i think the final shot clock showed 46-21, or so, for the visitors)... he came out with team white in the third and they seriously picked up their game. it was pretty heartwarming to note that whichever team he was coaching was the better squad....
the first period was probably one of the most amazing twenty minutes of hockey i've ever had the pleasure of watching in person. within the first minute, the reds had swarmed the net and bobby lu made the most mind-boggling save ever for team white. not to be outdone, brodeur snapped a wicked glove on a kickass crosby wrister and absolutely ROBBED spezza in the period's dying seconds.... there was really never any doubt but those two goalies should probably just buy their tickets to vancouver right now.... the shots at the end of one read 15-5 for the red team, and the scoreboard read 0-0.... bobby lu stole a few, to be sure.
there was a lot of "LUUUUUUUUUUU" from the crowd in the first when roberto stood on his head, and again in the post-game shootout when lucic went in on net (and missed). there was also a lot of "BOOOOOOOOOOO," both for pronger and for heatley throughout the game.... heater, however, got a mix of jeers and cheers (the guy behind me said something like "...in his hometown ?!? man !! heatley's for sure on the bench all single-tear") but sent the crowd into a frenzy when he scored in the shootout.
what else ?
the four players representing the calgary flames looked a little.... uh... frightening. regehr, quite frankly, sucked in the first period --though, admittedly, he wasn't allowed to play "his" game in a non-physical scrimmage... he kept losing his man, and seemed to be scattered and out of position a lot. i'm hoping this is just the result of learning a new system, but it was disconcerting at best.... dion also scares the crap out of me, currently, as he was noticeably the guy doing NOTHING in front of the net during opposing scoring chances (one which led to a goal).... we're talking flat-footed, stick on the ice, doing his best bertuzzi impression.... ugh... iggy also looked a step behind on a line with crosby and nash (btw: nash was AWESOME, crosby was GOOD, iggy was..... well.... i'm PRETTY SURE iggy was on that line)... he was replaced in the third period by martin st.louis, and ended up grinding it out with derek roy and jonathan toews... regehr and dion also switched partners in the third (seabrook & doughty).... scary, scary stuff. the good news for flames fans ? jaybouw looks awfully effin' sharp. :P
guys who did pretty much nothing, or at least i didn't notice them much:
patrick sharp, vinny lecavalier, mike richards, andy mcdonald, francois beauchemin, duncan keith, marc staal, jonathan toews, brendan morrow, getzlaf/gagné (*snicker*).
guys who were invisible except when they were scoring goals:
ryan smyth, patrick marleau, joe thornton (who's goal was so obviously kicked in that while they were reviewing it, he was all smiles on the bench), and corey perry (who was noticeably bad for the most part, in my opinion).
guys i really liked a lot:
shane doan, rick nash, jordan staal, eric staal, jaybouw, brent burns, shay weber, jeff carter, niedermayer, danny cleary, danny boyle, st.louis, spezza, brodeur/luongo, mike green on the powerplay
guys who pissed me off for playing dumb/dirty:
milan lucic (two ridiculous and unnecessary plays, one led to a holding the stick penalty, the other could very easily have led to an injury), dion phaneuf (after totally flubbing a play and losing his man, he chased him down and MASHED him into the boards....), chris pronger (okay he didn't actually DO anything other than thread the needle on a beauty pass, but i just don't like him).
guys who are gonna be pissed off tomorrow about their errors:
brent seabrook (lost an edge, fell, and lost the puck which led to a goal against), marc staal (his use of rhett warrener's patented stick-on-the-ice to stop a shot/pass move actually tipped in ryan smyth's goal)
i guess that's it for now. i'm sure mike h --who was with me at the game-- will remind me in the comments section about anything i might have missed....
final score: 2-2 after regulation and 6-2 after shootout (where all twelve forwards on both teams --- brent burns in lieu of simon gagné--- took a shot).