, who is generally one of the more cheerful guys on the ice, if not the planet, was playing with a big chip on his shoulder Monday morning.
Marc looked downright mad. And, by my count, he scored on his first four shots.
More on Mr. Savard below.Not too different
Beyond Coach Dave Lewis’ pre-practice talk about teamwork, and the corresponding five on one drills, Monday’s practice resembled many of the sessions we have seen recently.
Many of the drills we saw were very familiar.
a)1-on-1 drill, with a shooter taking on the goalie, then taking position in front of the net to attempt to pick up the next shooter’s rebound.
b)Skater, matched up with a defenseman. Defenseman skates backward, attempting to keep up with the shooter, and attempts to put himself between the forward and the goal.
c)Several sets of 3-on-1’s, 2-on2’s, etc.
One unique drill was 3-on-0’s or whole lines versus the goalies. The line had to make several passes before sending one skater in on goal for the shot.
Many of the drills had direct application to the power play or the penalty kill.
There were no sprints on Monday.Coolest moment of Practice…Thomas on Fire
A couple of hockey writers noticed this fun spectacle. Tim Thomas
had a terrific session and seemed to take every goal scored on him very seriously. On a break, Tim-may skated over to the net after a pretty brutal selection of drills and when he took his helmet off, a steady stream of steam was wafting from his head -- but it really looked like smoke, as if he was literally on fire.
Ok, so maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty cool.Puck on a Playground
Perhaps the most charming moment of practice, and one of the more unexpected sights, was three grown men chasing after the same puck. Bear with me. The main session was actually over, and the guys had finished their stretching. Three of them, Phil Kessel (with a new shorter ’do), Shean Donovan, and Jason York went racing toward the corner of the rink.
One of the writers turned to me and said something about thinking that they were racing to get off the ice.
Not so, they were racing to get the one unoccupied puck left sitting on their end of the ice -- just like if they were kids on a playground or river somewhere.Staying after school
As usual, every player stayed almost a half hour after the main session had ended.
One end of the ice had skaters making the goaltenders work on their side to side movement. The skater would take the puck and move from right to left or left to right making the goaltender stay square to the puck.
By the way, it’s always interesting to see Toivonen in a 1-on-1 situation, because you are never sure if he is going to pull out the splits. When he does, it often results in a spectacular save.
At center ice, several centers were practicing faceoffs.
Our end, the one closest to the dressing room, had Stuart, Chara, Savard and others practicing getting the puck on goal from the point through traffic. To do so, a triangle was set up by the players, who would pass back and forth several times, as if on a power play, until Stuart or Chara took the puck, wound up and shot to the left or the right of an obstacle that had been set up at the top of the circle.
P.J. Axelsson and Glen Murray positioned themselves in front of the net and attempted to tip the puck at the top of the crease.Enough from me
"I know I have more to give to this hockey club and it’s frustrating. But in the same sense you have to stay confident with things. Everybody knows that the power play hasn’t been great. The penalty kill hasn’t been great. We know that. And we know that’s what we need to win games. I take a lot of the onus on myself, especially on the power play -- to make things better…every shift, I’ve got to give everything I’ve got. But you can’t run around, you have to be smart about it, you have to control that stuff, and just really work hard. [On Thursday,] I want to put in one of my best efforts."Forward, Marc Savard, on his play thus far
"I’m too easy to play against right now. And that is not the way I play. Not that I have to get penalty minutes and stuff like that, but…I’ve just got to be tougher to play against. Usually if you ask other teams, they don’t like playing against me, because I am a [pain], so I just have to work hard and bring that to the table."Savard, on Thursday’s home opener
"Yah, I can definitely get upset…at times, when things don’t go the way I think they should, then I get pretty fired up…it definitely helps me. Growing up as a kid, I’ve always done that. If I’m not scoring the way I think I should be, or I am not helping the team the way I should, I am going to get real upset at myself. And that’s when I get out there and try to use that [energy]."Forward, Brad Boyes, on playing mad
"It feels like we’ve been on the road for a long time and it’s good to be back…we have all week to work on things and tidy up the things in our game that we need to address and just go into [Thursday and Saturday] with a real good mindset…When you get those chances early in the game, you’ve got to bury them, because they usually come back to bite you. I think it’s just a matter of, when we get opportunities, cashing in and obviously special teams have to be better. And we’re going to work on those things this week."Defenseman, Jason York, on this week
"There is a period of time [after a loss] where you think about things you could do better. I always watch [the tape of] the games…and go over what I can do better. You have to learn from it and leave it. Because, if you dwell on it too much, then it’s not going to do you any good. So if you can learn from it, and let it go. In the next game or next practice, if that situation comes up again you’ll know what to do differently." Defenseman, Nathan Dempsey, on learning from tough times