Following last night's 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the coaching team wasted no time this morning in putting the players to work at practice. Despite the Canucks success in early preseason action the two teams featured new combinations of players.
The players rose to the demanding practice with high energy as the battle for roster spots continues. The coaches and management team expect to make cuts by this coming Monday.
The two groups practiced in two on-ice sessions, each followed by dry land training. The coaches pushed the players, running flow drills, shooting exercises, on-ice conditioning, and scrimmages. Head coach Alain Vigneault ended the practices with shoot out drills.
The first group of players to take the ice featured new line combinations, including the grouping of Mason Raymond
, Pavol Demitra, and Taylor Pyatt.
“I think we have a good little break up there, Taylor can drive the net and Pavol can make the puck dance a little bit and we can hopefully find some seams and make some goals happen,” said Raymond.
The coaching team carried the high intensity into the second team’s on-ice practice, which followed a similar schedule.
In the second group Steve Bernier skated on a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin
and Cody Hodgson centred a line with Michael Grabner and Matt Pettinger.
“Right now to play with Bernier for the first time, it’s always fun to see how it’s going to work out,” said Henrik. “He’s big and strong and he can actually beat guys one on one, he’s got a good shot.”
With two preseason victories under their belts the players are concentrating on raising their level of play and finding chemistry with their linemates.
“For a first game, it was nice to get it out of the way,” said Alexandre Burrows
who played in last night’s game on a line with Ryan Johnson and Darcy Hordichuk. “I think Johnny’s a great centreman. He wins a lot of face-offs and pays the price, and talks a lot out there so he’s going to be fun to play with. And, obviously Hordy, he’s fun to play with because he always gets in the forecheck and he likes to throw his big body around and crash the net. He’s tough to play against, so it should be fun to play with these guys again this weekend.”
Preseason action continues on Saturday in San Jose and on Sunday game in Anaheim.