It was the first time since March 10th where the Vancouver Canucks participated in a morning skate at Rogers Arena, went about their gameday routines — whether that be a pregame nap, a special meal, or something in between — then were back at the rink for a 7 PM puck drop.
Team White ending up securing a 5-2 victory. Here’s what went down tonight at Rogers Arena.
Here are each team’s roster (in absolutely no particular order, really)
Groavac, Toffoli, Brisebois, Markstrom, Myers, Lind, Rafferty, Gaudette, Sautner, Miller, Rousell, Edler, Pettersson, Virtanen, Benn
Juolevi, Chatfield, Horvat, Boeser, Eriksson, MacEwen, Bailey, Hughes, Fantenberg, Stecher, Motte, Demko, Beagle, Tanev, Pearson
Like watching really high-level beer league
It was evident almost instantly that these players hadn’t seen game action for well over 100 days. The early goings of the game saw many turnovers and a healthy dosage of both teams failing to get the puck out of their own end. This game wasn’t live-streamed or televised, and that was probably for the best.
As for the mood/atmosphere in the arena, I think Thomas Drance of The Athletic really summed it up best:
If you want to know what it’s like to watch an NHL level scrimmage, beer in hand, at 7pm in a big, empty arena – the atmosphere is honestly not too much different than watching a beer league game at the local barn, except that the level of play is so high it’s mind bending.
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) July 17, 2020
It was weird but felt good to be watching semi-competitive NHL hockey once again.
Zack MacEwen opened the scoring for Team White shortly after being denied on a penalty shot by Jacob Markstrom. Here’s the goal:
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) July 17, 2020
Chris Tanev then made it 2-0 after going right by Jake Virtanen, who really didn’t have a great performance tonight, especially in the defensive zone.
Jay Beagle then scored to make it 3-0, followed by a goal from Jalen Chatfield to extend his team’s lead to four goals to none. This is one Markstrom certainly wants back, and one he’ll probably be able to make without breaking a sweat in roughly two weeks’ time when the games actually matter.
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) July 17, 2020
Tyler Graovac broke Demko’s shutout, with Elias Pettersson adding another, but Bo Horvat eventually sealed the deal for Team Blue to win by a score of 5-2.
This was team white’s game to lose and it showed in the second period when they controlled the play almost all game long.
Through the first three days of camp and in the game tonight, it seemed like everybody had to shake off some rust, as can be expected after a layoff as long as the one the players went through. That being said, Brock Boeser has looked stellar all week long. He’s skating hard, playing the body, and seems like he can’t make a mistake with the puck right now.
Similarly, Jay Beagle continued to look a step ahead of basically everybody else, which, if I’m being honest with you, was a line I never thought I’d write. He’s jumping up on the offence, moving his feet, and competing at a level that makes it seem as though he never actually left during the NHL’s pause.
All the players appear to be at the same level, with the exception of Boeser and Beagle. A player who had a good game that hasn’t necessarily stood out through the first three days of camp was Zack MacEwen. The majority of his peers from the Utica Comets looked a step behind at multiple times throughout the game, but MacEwen really looked like he belonged among the other NHL players on the ice.
Markstrom didn’t look great, but these games don’t count and he’ll be fine
I had someone who was listening to the radio broadcast message me and say “Markstrom looks off, eh?”
Sure, he let in a few that he’d like to have back I’m sure but the chances against him compared to what his team was able to create on Thatcher Demko were much higher in quality.
Given that Markstrom seemed visibly frustrated after the last scrimmage as well, head coach Travis Green was asked to assess his starting goaltender’s performance through the first three days of camp.
Green said, “I think he’s fine, he looks good… it’s hard to get a good grade on where a player’s at, where any player is at in practice, but Marky’s probably one of the guys that I’m least worried about. He’s fine, he’s been fine, he’s been a rock for us, and he’s going to continue to be one.”
It’s simply gratuitous to worry about Markstrom at this point in time. If he allows five goals in a few more scrimmages, then sure, maybe we can start to have the discussion — but at this point in time — Markstrom is far from the only player who doesn’t look like he’s up to game speed.
The Canucks have a scheduled day off tomorrow, but will be back at the arena at 7 PM on Saturday night, following the same format they employed today with a morning skate followed by a scrimmage at night.