I had the good fortune to spend practice today with Steph (@keepontruckin30 on twitter), and part of the awesome involved was that she brought along her fancy pants camera. She also got there about 25 minutes before I did…being up late playing hockey is tough, and getting out of bed to be at Ristuccia for 10:30 was a little too taxing for me. Half this practice report gets credited to her, as well as the use of camera. Tag-teaming for the win!
Around 10:10, the zamboni was still finishing up the ice and apparently Savvy was already on it, skating around. He was shortly joined by Boychuk, Chara, D-Mo, Wideman, Tuukka, Bergeron, Wheeler, Krejci, Ryder, Satan, and Lucic. So…about half the team, out twenty minutes early for practice. That’s saying something, especially considering how long practice ended up running for. They run some drills, and about 10:30, the rest of the team joins them, begins warming up.
(ETA: According to Bish’s blog, this was the power play unit out working early. I feel EVEN BETTER about this now! Was Boychuk perhaps there so he can step in and replace Wideman…? Only time will tell…)
Last man on the ice? Claude Julien.
The guys worked on simple breakout passing at first, using the following lines:
Notably absent was Mark Recchi, who was home in Kamloops, British Columbia carrying the Olympic torch through his hometown. What a beast. Marco Sturm and Andrew Ference were also obviously absent due to injury.
Switching over after passing drills – for about 45 minutes, the B’s worked on drills down low – 3-on-2s and other various combinations. One drill in particular was interesting – the defending team would flip their sticks upside down, gripping them by the blade. Not sure if the point of that drill was to have the defenders focus on getting a body on the other player or to prove the importance of paying attention to the puck when forechecking/backchecking, but regardless, it was interesting.
Steve Begin didn’t participate in the higher-contact part of practice, but looked pretty good for the time he was out there. Around 11:30, the team huddled up, Julien gave them a talk, and then they did about 15 more minutes of down-low drills before stretching at about 11:45ish.
After that, about six or seven guys stayed out as usual to do extra drills, working on one-timers and shooting on the two goalies. The ice was empty at 12:20; for some of the guys, that’s close to 130 minutes of ice time today. Let it be known that there’s an attitude change going on, here; this does not feel like the same club we saw even on Monday. Here’s hoping this is true.
PHOTOS FROM PRACTICE
(click to enlarge)
For more photos from practice (about 40 more!) visit Steph’s Flickr page!