A SCRIMMAGE & A SHIP
By Derek Jory
Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp has come to a close, at least as far as on-ice activities are concerned.
Monday was all about putting the players in real game situations and with a full contingent of Canucks brass on hand in the stands, the prospects were out to impress. Team Green did just that winning the scrimmage 5-4, but Team Blue got their revenge in a shootout and took the event 8-7.
Nicklas Jensen and Frankie Corrado were two of seven prospects to score in the one-on-one battle, and they stood out because of their sweet moves that led to highlight goals.
After the 4-on-4 scrimmage, players from both sides were shaking their heads in disgust. The score was irrelevant to the players, it was their individual performances they considered subpar. For Jensen and Brendan Gaunce, who hadn’t played a serious game in a few months, the timing was a touch off. Both players are consummate professionals, so they won’t be taking away many memories from the scrimmage.
The memories of the day were made in the afternoon.
Mother Nature washed away the prospects chances of attending a Vancouver Canadians baseball game, but the Canucks had something up their sleeve instead. The players were treated to a tour of the HMCS Vancouver, a Halifax-class frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy.
The ship, commissioned in 1993, is active in service and has been a primary part of Canada's anti-terrorism naval forces in the Middle East since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.
The prospects and Canucks staff were divided into four groups with each assigned a tour guide; Combat Systems Engineering Officer Derek Johnson toured our group for more than an hour explaining the harpoon missiles, torpedo tubes, chaff rockets, vertical launch missiles and Gatling cannon. As you would imagine, the prospects were all ears.
Officer Johnson, a 25-year veteran from Ontario, asked as many questions as were thrown his way; being a hockey player himself he was thrilled getting to meet future Canucks.
Johnson and other members of the HMCS Vancouver were at Rogers Arena Monday morning scrimmaging prior to the prospects taking the ice. As Johnson explained, hockey is popular among the ship's crew and they play as often as possible. Dubai, Singapore, Melbourne, Hong Kong – you name it, Johnson and company have played hockey there.
The tour ended with a bite to eat as the prospects and HMCS staff swapped war stories.
Garrison chomping at the bit
Jason Garrison’s phone was red hot on July 1st as he fielded calls from NHL teams interested in his services.
He admitted Monday there was only one call he was truly waiting for and when Canucks general manager Mike Gillis called, a deal didn’t take long to reach.
That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part of changing cities and becoming a member of the team he loved growing up, which he’ll play for in front of friends and family in a Canadian spotlight.
”There’s definitely going to be more pressure playing there, but that’s part of the business and part of the game,” said Garrison, during a conference call Monday. “I look forward to the challenge.”
And Canucks fans are looking forward to seeing the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenceman, a BC product, in action.
Garrison described himself as a very strong two-way player who takes a lot of pride in his defensive zone coverage, moving the puck to the forwards and helping the goalies as much as possible. Offensively he said getting pucks through to the net is always a priority, and being physical, as long as he’s in good position, is also a big part of his game.
With that skill set it’s no wonder Garrison had teams calling him non-stop, but in the end it was all about the Canucks.
”It was a team that I really wanted to play for and I think the fit is important and obviously the chance of winning. Vancouver has had a winning team for many years and I just hope to come and play and fit myself into the lineup and help my team win.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in Vancouver, that’s where I’m from and it’s definitely something that I’m really excited about it.”
Canucks re-ink Ebbett & Pinizzotto
One of the hardest working men in the NHL and one with possibly the best last name the league has ever seen re-signed with the Canucks Monday.
Andrew Ebbett, 29, appeared in 18 games for the Canucks in 2011-12, recording six points (5-1-6), including two overtime game-winners, and added six penalty minutes.
Pinizzotto, 28, missed the entire 2011-12 season with the Canucks due to injury and previously spent the 2010-11 season with the Washington Capital’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears where he collected 42 points (17-25-42) and 178 penalty minutes in 68 games.