Team Black pulled out a 5-4 victory over Team Gray in a scrimmage during the first day of Colorado
’s 2007 Training Camp. Andrew Brunette notched the game-winning goal for Team Black with only seconds left on the clock.
Chris Stewart chipped in with two goals for Team Black, which also received tallies from Jeff Finger and Cody McLeod.
Wojtek Wolski led the way for Team Gray, notching a pair of third-period goals. The first came on a strong individual effort where Wolski worked his way toward the net and faked to his forehand before sliding a backhander past Team Black netminder Andrew Penner.
Scott Parker and Wyatt Smith also recorded goals for Team Gray.
Netminders Peter Budaj and Penner combined to lead Team Black to victory, while Tyler Weiman and Michael Wall tended goal for Team Gray.
Coach Quenneville’s Reaction to Day 1 of Training Camp
“I thought it was an excellent first day. The pace was tremendous and the guys picked up where we ended rookie camp. Our young guys looked really good and the pace was sustained from start to finish. Everybody looked like they deserved to be out on the ice and the play was very physical, so it was a very good first day.”
-Joe Sakic started the game centering Ryan Smyth and Brunette for Team Black, with Scott Hannan and Jordan Leopold on defense. For Team Gray, Paul Stastny was flanked by Wolski and Milan Hedjuk, with Dale Purinton and Brett Clark on the blue line.
Budaj began the contest between the pipes for Team Black, while Weiman started the game in net for Team Gray.
-Sakic and Smyth played nearly every shift together in the first half of the scrimmage. While the right wing position was filled on a rotating basis, Brunette handled the most shifts in that role. In the second half of the contest, Sakic and Smyth separated for a handful of shifts while the lines were shuffled, but were together again down the stretch.
-The Wolski-Stastny-Hedjuk combination was together for every shift of Friday’s scrimmage and looked to have immediate chemistry – a fact not lost on Quenneville.
“Paul and Wooly had a pretty good day out there as far as reading each other, and with Milan, the three of them worked well together,” said Quenneville. “Wooly didn’t see much action with those guys last year, but they played very well together.”
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Perhaps nobody was happier to be back on the ice than Jordan Leopold. The defenseman was limited to 15 games last season due to various injuries.
“Last year was a big rollercoaster for myself, mentally and physically,” said Leopold. “I’m able to start fresh this year, which is comforting.”
During Friday’s scrimmage, Leopold looked sharp while spending most of his shifts alongside newly acquired free agent Scott Hannan.
“I played against him for many years in San Jose. He’s a tremendous talent and a great all-around defenseman,” said Leopold. “He’s a big guy, very talkative and is easy to play with. It doesn’t mean anything if we’re paired up in camp, because all of us just need to go out there and do what we can to get ready for the season.”
While most fans are focusing on the addition of Hannan to the Avs’ blue line, having a healthy Leopold back in the mix may be just as important according to Queneville.
“It’s almost like we added two defensemen in the offseason,” said Quenneville. “It’s important for him to get some playing time during the preseason and get comfortable. I think that he can really help our hockey club this year.
Tough Guy Shows Soft Touch
Scott Parker received one of the largest ovations from both the fans and the players during Saturday’s scrimmage following his third-period goal. After a workman-like effort, Parker found the puck on his stick in the slot and rifled a high shot past Penner.
The 6-foot-5, 240 pound forward admitted that he worked hard on his offensive game during the summer in hopes of earning more playing time this season.
“I skated quite a bit this summer. Unfortunately I only played a handful of games last year so I really wanted to get on the ice and work on some things to really round my game out,” said Parker. “That was one of the things I worked on, being in front of the net and getting lots of shots off. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.”
Quick Hits: Jose Theodore (knee) did not participate in today’s scrimmage. Theodore is expected to return before the conclusion of training camp...Budaj did not allow a goal in 30 minutes of action, while Weiman was only scored upon once.