HELSINKI -- After two days of fairly intense practices and a preseason game upon arriving in Finland, Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle felt his team needed a bit of a break Wednesday.
The Ducks practiced at Hartwall Areena, an event that was open to fans, and the on-ice workout consisted of a lot 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 full-ice scrimmaging.
"With the schedule that we've been presented with, with the number of commitments and the people who have been pulling us in different directions with our players -- and we have another event today with our fans (who traveled from Anaheim) -- we felt after last night's game and the travel and the events that it was just a good day to have some fun," Carlyle said. "It was just kind of like going back to your roots, playing a little shinny and a little bit of pond hockey. It wasn't East-West, but it was U.S./European vs. Canada, and being a Canadian I have to say the Canadians kicked butt again today.
"I thought I put all the Europeans … they have all the skill on their side, but the Canadians came through today."
There were plenty of "ooh's" and "ahh's" from a crowd of about 1,000 fans, as all the open ice allowed the players to showcase some fancy stickhandling and passing skills. After one goal, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf attempted to re-create Teemu Selanne's famous celebration from his rookie season in Winnipeg, when he tossed his glove in the air and used his stick to "shoot" it down.
Getzlaf's effort didn’t go quite as well -- he tried to flip a glove in the air, but it came off his hand wrong and quickly fell to the ice. The crowd appreciated the nod to Selanne, though, and applauded him -- after they were done laughing.
"To me it is about the pulse of where your team is at and how they feel," Carlyle said of the lighter tone. "I know that in not even having to play there are some tired bodies, and it showed last night. It showed in some of the practices. We'll always push our players as far as we can, but it goes back to the old saying that you can't push if they don't have energy. You can't demand that 110 percent if they're not rested and not ready to give it to you. You're just beating a dead horse. We've been pulled in a lot of different directions, plus we're still trying to get over the jet lag, so we felt it was good to go, 'Whoa, whoa' today."