A full recap with video of the Canucks’ Team White vs Team Blue training camp scrimmage
2 months ago
Hockey’s back, the Canucks are back, and CanucksArmy’s detailed coverage of a relatively meaningless practice scrimmage is so f*****g back.
Unfortunately, the Canucks elected to keep this scrimmage on the hush-hush, meaning no YouTube stream for us to work with. We know you love GIFs of beautiful 16FPS 720p game footage, but today, we’ll be leaning on the in-game footage captured by our boots-on-the-ground reporter Chris Faber!
We hope you like articles loaded with Chris Faber Tweets because we’ve got lots of them!
With that. Let’s get into Saturday’s scrimmage: two twenty-minute periods featuring mini-bag skates and penalty shots in lieu of special teams play.
The (still somehow only) 20-year-old Belarussian Danila Klimovich kicked off the pre-scrimmage good vibes the way he has in every practice, scrimmage, and game in his Canucks tenure: last off the ice before gifting the crowd with pucks, sticks, and autographs. “One of the good ones” is a phrase often thrown out by the media, so forgive me for lazily suggesting that Klim might actually be one of the good ones.
For the ceremonial puck drop, Elias Pettersson took the puck from Captain Quinn Hughes, confirming our long-held belief that the Canucks locker room is split into two factions, Captain Q versus Captain EP. We’ll have more on this stunning development as the game progresses. (This is a joke; please don’t race to the comments to ask Quadrelli to fire me).
It took all of 22 seconds into the first period for the potential 1st-line of Elias Pettersson, Andrei Kuzmenko, and Nils Höglander to generate a dangerous look. Their first chance began with Höglander protecting the puck along the d-zone wall long enough to draw Carson Soucy down off the blue line to spring Pettersson and Kuzmenko up the ice for a 2-on-1 chance on Casey DeSmith.
Team Blue responded later off a spinning shot on goal from Tristen Nielsen on Thatcher Demko.
Team White’s 1st-line proved troublesome for Team Blue, with Kuzmenko missing just wide on a tap-in opportunity on his line’s next shift.
Quinn Hughes then sprang Conor Garland up the ice with a stretch pass for a scoring chance on Demko. But it was once again the Petey-Kuz-Hög show that took over.
After breaking out of the d-zone, Pettersson and Kuzmenko connected with Ian Cole on a tic-tac-toe passing play off of the zone entry, with Cole executing a slick shuffle pass to set up Höglander for a wrister on goal.
More Team White action saw a point shot from Christian Wolanin off an offensive zone faceoff win by Jack Studnicka.
Studnicka punctuated his shift with a clean hit against 20-year-old Josh Bloom while forechecking in the offensive zone.
Bloom stood his ground against Team White’s 3rd-line, battling long enough to win the puck back for Team Blue and draw a slashing penalty against Sheldon Dries that earned a penalty shot against Thatcher Demko. For his penalty, Dries was the first victim of the mini bag-skate of shame.
GOAL – 1-0 Team Blue – Josh Bloom (1 – Penalty shot)
For those wondering, during these abbreviated scrimmages, the Canucks opt for penalty shots instead of special teams time.
The penalty call did not deter the aggressive play of Team White’s 3rd-line. Jack Studnicka continued to turn heads at training camp, displaying excellent speed on a chip-and-chase around Carson Soucy to pick up the loose puck along the endboards to set Dries up for a one-timer.
Soucy had his good looks during the scrimmage, though.
First, a clean slap shot into Demko’s glove off the point.
Then, Soucy smoothly turned around a breakaway opportunity for Max Sasson, resulting in a breakaway scoring chance for Pius Suter on Demko.
Despite being pinned in their end for most of the first half, Team Blue ended the period narrowly edging Team White by a score of 1-0.
For the second period, the backup goaltenders entered the game. Nikita Tolopilo replaced Thatcher Demko for Team Blue, and Arturs Silovs replaced Casey DeSmith for Team White.
It was good that David Quadrelli left training camp early because Teddy Bluegers tied the game early into the second period with a slick wrist shot over Silovs’ right pad.
GOAL – Team White – 1-1 Tie – Teddy Bluegers
GOAL – Team Blue – 2-1 Blue – Conor Garland (no video; blame Faber)
Conor Garland immediately responded to regain the lead for Team Blue, much to the dismay of resident Twitter anti-Garland club leader Boestmode.
GOAL – Team Blue – 3-1 Blue – Chase Wouters from Cole McWard
Seconds later, it was Team Blue’s fourth line joining the goalscoring action, with Chase Wouters leading a breakout and zone entry before having a Cole McWard rebound bounce off his chest and past Tolopilo.
Near the midway point of the second, Max Sasson drew a tripping penalty against Noah Juulsen to earn Team White a penalty shot opportunity. Following Juulsen’s mini bag-skate of shame, Sasson wired a wrist shot off Silovs’ blocker and wide.
Team Blue answered with a heavy slapshot chance from Jack Rathbone, swept aside by Jett Woo.
In true Canuck fashion, a brutal line change by Team Blue prompted a fantastic Danila Klimovich breakaway chance off a stretch pass from Guillaume Brisebois. Planting his right pad down on the ice, Silovs did well to calmly turn the young Belarussian’s shot toward the half wall.
Maybe Quinn Hughes saw his 13th-place rank on Dom Luczyszyn’s evaluation of NHL defencemen. Maybe Hughes saw JFresh’s player card that pointed out his league-lowest hitting rate. Perhaps it’s a side-effect of starting training camp on a pair with Noah Juulsen. Whatever it was, Hughes put some serious OOMPH behind his crushing hit of Phil Di Giuseppe after the winger attempted to cut around Hughes for a drive on goal.
Hughes continued his stellar play, walking Sheldon Dries in the offensive zone for a shot off Tolopilo’s mask.
In the dying minutes of the third period, Team White elected to pull Tolopilo for the 6-on-5 advantage.
During a line change, future AHL teammates Aidan McDonough and Tristen Nielsen got into a heated conversation outside the benches, including nasty whacks to each’s ankle.
The 6-on-5 failed to yield any dangerous looks for Team White, with Captain Hughes and Team Blue coming out on top 3-1.
CanucksArmy Three Stars
Quinn Hughes earns our first star of the game for the crushing hit on Di Giuseppe and rallying his troops to overcome a demoralizing start that saw Team Blue trapped in their d-zone for the bulk of the first half.
Josh Bloom earns our second star of the game for drawing the penalty against a seasoned veteran and giving Team Blue life after scoring on one of the best goaltenders in the league as an untested rookie.
Big Jack Studnicka earns our third star of the game for his speed and tenacity on the forecheck. As Chris Faber reports, “Studnicka seemed to have a huge game, definitely tried the hardest.” Considering Team White featured a line of Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Höglander, that Studnicka stood out the most on Team White was impressive, to say the least.
Stanchies jersey-foul warmup
A Nelly Furtado jersey would be peak Victoria.
Random thoughts about the scrimmage
Thatcher Demko, penalty shot goal aside, looked excellent while facing down the clear-as-day best line of the night in Pettersson, Kuzmenko, and Höglander.
Carson Soucy had some highs and lows. Worth noting that he spent the game playing entirely on his off-side on a pair with Hughes. While his puck retrieval work wasn’t as inspiring as Ethan Bears of last season, he was nonetheless smooth, providing a calm and steady presence to the chaotic circumstances of scrimmage-style hockey.
Höglander is this team’s 1st-line winger on opening night, right? Tocchet loves guys who work hard and win battles along the boards. Höglander does just that and brings a feisty, pest-like aggressiveness to his game. It will be hard for a player like Anthony Beauvillier or Ilya Mikheyev to bump him off that trio. He looked good.
The mini bag-skate is excellent. If only there were more scrimmages in store for us to witness this hilarious method of shaming a player.
Training camp continues with special teams practice later today before their first real preseason game, a road tilt against the Calgary Flames on Sunday at 5:00 PM PST.
You know we’ll have you covered then!
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