It seems like just yesterday Vancouver’s prospects arrived in Penticton, BC, a few days later the big guns showed up and after 10 days of Young Stars Tournament and Canucks Training Camp, it all comes to an end.
The Canucks ended training camp with a 40-minute practice (on two ice sheets depending on the groups) before back-to-back 30-minute scrimmages gave the fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre a final look at the 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks.
It was Blue vs. White with Group A taking on Group B and in the first 30-minute scrimmage, both teams skated at a fast pace with end to end rushes on almost every shift. Shots were hard to come by with lines getting their feet wet together, but Canucks regulars Rick Rypien, Darcy Hordichuk and Aaron Rome wasted little time getting to the body with a pair of hits each.
Eddie Lack and Cory Schneider went head-to-head in goal and neither budged until Bill Sweatt put the Blue team on the board with a sick dangle on a penalty shot (there were no penalties called, instead shots on each infraction).
Team White responded with a goal a few minutes later as Mario Bliznak beat Schneider shortside off a 2-on-1 alongside Pierre-Olivier Morin.
The second half of the game was dominated by Blue early on forcing Tyler Weiman to stand his ground, and he did. His offence responded with a Tyler Perrault goal from a bad angle to put White up 2-1. That lead was shortlived as Raffi Torres evened the game up with eight minutes to play on a nifty backhand goal off a penalty shot.
The game finished a 2-2 draw meaning a shootout was needed to decide a winner. Prab Rai and Kevin Connauton scored in the shootout before Team Blue, while Jeff Tambellini and Perrault replied for Team White. It came down to two final shooters and after Brendan Morrison was stopped, Alex Bolduc went high blocker-side on David Shantz for the winner.
When the smoke cleared, coach Alain Vigneault was happy with what he saw from his players.
"I really liked our focus and our work ethic in these first three days. I thought today was a good way of getting ready for the exhibition games that are coming up, we had a 40-minute practice and we had a real intense scrimmage out there with guys battling real hard out there so for us the evaluation continues tomorrow and we appreciated our time here in Penticton, the people treated us real well."
Cody Hodgson has been cleared for contact, according to Vigneault.
“Cody indicated to us this morning that he’s ready to join a normal practice group so tomorrow he will be with the same group that he was on today with the guys that don’t play tomorrow and we’ll take it a day at a time and see how he continues to improve.”
This is the group that will open the pre-season at home Tuesday against the Calgary Flames:
Schaefer – Rypien – Oreskovich; Torres – Friesen – Desbiens; Sweatt – Morrison – Shirokov; Rai – Schneider – Weller; Rome – Sweatt; Connauton – Bieksa; Oberg – Tanev; Ellington – Hannay; Schneider & Shantz
Kevin Bieksa and Manny Malhotra will also dress for the Canucks, but it’s unclear in place of who.
This is the group that will open the pre-season on the road Tuesday in Calgary against the other half of the Flames:
Tambellini – Perrault – Hansen; Glass – Bolduc – Schroeder; Volpatti – Bliznak – Morin; Hordichuk – Rosa – Anthony/Fraser; Ballard – Baumgartner; O’Brien – Ramsay; Zimmerman – Alberts; Polasek; Weiman & Lack
Group C will not practicpate in their game Tuesday.
Group C is made up of:
Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows, Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler, Mikael Samuelsson, Manny Malhotra, Cody Hodgson, Alex Edler, Christian Ehrhoff, Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa and Roberto Luongo – also known as the majority of the Canucks with secured jobs.
This group practiced Monday and will practice again Tuesday.