NOTES FROM PREDS CAMP: Day 3…
- Updated: September 14, 2009
Notes from today’s training camp practice at Centennial SportsPlex:
* Goaltender Mark Dekanich was back on the ice after missing yesterday’s activities due to the flu.
* In what could be the closest regular season preview thus far in camp, Santorelli, Legwand and Erat skated together almost exclusively. Erat and Legwand worked really well together once again but unlike yesterday, Legwand seemed more “with it.”
* Shea Weber, who looks in mid-season form already, was paired with Alexander Sulzer while his usual partner Ryan Suter skated along side Teemu Laakso.
* In an obvious “you guys are the darkhorses” message, Ben Guite and Triston Grant skated on a line together with Ryan Maki and Andreas Thuresson rotating as their linemate. Same with defensemen Ford and Matheson who were paired almost exclusively together for the entire Group B session.
* The most interesting line combination of the entire day (including Group A) was Jordin Tootoo, Cal O’Reilly and Ryan Jones. Unlike yesterday, the line combos seemed to be more deliberate today and these three saw action regularly together.
* Speaking of O’Reilly, he still doesn’t look sharp. We know he’s more of a playmaker than a sniper, and we know that doing drills doesn’t exactly show off creativity, but O’Reilly has looked exceptionally average in the two on-ice days of drills. Hopefully, come pre-season, he can put his real assets on display (agility, playmaking and creativity) to remind all of us why he deserves to be with the big club this year.
* Mike Santorelli has the best wrist shot of camp. Don’t get me wrong, Erat’s shot looks good but Santorelli is burying everything. His wrister is hard, fast and accurate. He’s rarely missed and, when he does, he rings his miss off the post. The coaching staff might know what they’re doing by wanting to make him a wing.
* Joel Ward was absent from Group A’s session. He did poke his head out during Group B’s session but didn’t show for his group and wasn’t on the ice at all today.
* Jerred Smithson has continued his strong camp, finding the back of the net more often than not, skating really well and being accurate when passing and shooting. He could be the “diamond in the rough” for the Preds this season.
* Wade Belak dressed as a defenseman for the second straight day. And, quite honestly, he looked completely uninterested. Kevin Klien, his partner on some of the drills, looked less than thrilled when paired with him as well.
* If it wasn’t for skating with Dan Hamhuis regularly, rookie prospect Cody Franson wouldn’t even be noticeable. He hasn’t shown much of anything so far but, in fairness, that could just be because he’s a quieter player on the ice. Usually the guys who are the most sound positionally can be unnoticeable. So, for now, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
* Nolan Yonkman and Huge Jessiman went toe-to-toe in a fight late in the second session. Two guys trying to make an impression or two guys actually pissed off? It was broken up pretty quickly once the grabbing and punches stopped. Yonkman let Jessiman know a few moments later that there were still some hard feelings when he laid him out in the slot during 2-on-2′s.
* In yet another scare, Dumont seemed to have gotten tripped during 2-on-2′s and favored his right leg, barely being able to skate off on his own power. After allowing the trainers to evaluate him on the bench, Dumont returned to the ice and skated off the “injury.” What makes this notable is that it’s his second leg issue in as many days. Not a good sign for the team or the fans.
* Marcel Goc looked good once again. Nothing spectacular but very solid. He’s shown a good shot and the ability to be able to play with anyone he’s put with. A very solid chance he’ll make the big club out of camp this season.
For additional observations, please check out whatthepuckpreds.com.
DAY 3 STANDOUTS:
Returning Preds – Martin Erat, Ryan Jones and Jerred Smithson
“New” Preds – Patric Hornqvist and Mike Santorelli (the rookies are in Atlanta so “new Preds” will have to mean guys who played the bulk of their season in Milwaukee last season)
DAY 3 DUDS:
Cal O’Reilly and Wade Belak
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover/section303.com