The Vancouver Canucks got their first simulated game action Friday when they played their first scrimmage at Rogers Arena. It was the first of three intrasquad games for the blue and white, which continues this weekend. With no charge for tickets, a crowd of over 10,000 fans is expected between Saturday and Sunday.
The blue team came out buzzing in the early minutes Friday, but the white team managed to set the pace for the rest of the scrimmage. Forward Alex Burrows opened the scoring, with a short side goal on goaltender Joacim Eriksson, set up beautifully by defensemen Sacha Guimond. Team white finished the period with a 1-0 lead.
Burrows added to team white’s tally after scoring on a mini breakaway in the second period. He went with his signature move, backhand top shelf, on goalie Joe Cannata.
Forward Zach Hamill made it 3-0 for team white, finishing a play in the slot.
Henrik Sedin broke the goose egg for team blue with a beautiful deflection on a Daniel Sedin wrist shot from the point.
Ten minutes into the second, Zack Kassian pulled of a spin-o-rama move, eventually leading to a 2-on-1 chance, but goalie Eddie Lack made a tremendous blocker save to keep it 3-1 for team white.
The white team showed a lot of hunger and Hamill was able to finish a Burrows pass, making the final score 4-1 for team white.
All players were in unison when they said Friday’s sessions were tough and some of the most intense. “The toughest I have ever been a part of,” said Ryan Kesler.
“I don’t think anyone is coming out of shape after this training camp,” said defensemen Jason Garrison.
Captain Henrik Sedin said he prefers the new shorter practices, “You’re not going to focus if it’s an hour and a half. I rather go 45 minutes and give it everything you have.”
Fans were pumped up to see some hockey finally. “We traveled from Langley to the see the boys,” said Elizabeth. “We know it’s going to be packed on the weekend so this was the best time to see our favourtie team.”
Overall the fans were welcoming the new coaching change and excited to see a new direction. “I think winning solves everything and as long as Tortorella can produce, I’m onboard. Plus after two bad playoffs, I think its time for change,” said Gary.
Forward Zack Kassian is on many people’s radar this year, including the fans, like Jordan. “It’s a big season for him, I think he will do well playing with the Sedins.”
Goaltender Eddie Lack knows it’s his time to shine and finally play in the big leagues.
“I’ve been playing hockey my whole career, I’m excited to play games and right now I just want to stay up here.”
Tortorella said Lack played well, but wouldn’t comment further on Lack or other players after day one. “It’s unfair to them.” Forward Ryan Kesler said Lack impressed him in the scrimmage. “He’s a big guy, can play the puck and looked great.”
Lack was also sporting a new mask with a unique and personal touch. On the right side a print of a Swedish Chef from the Muppet show. And on the left side an image of his dad. “He’s a big supporter and a goalie coach himself. He watches my games at 2 a.m.”
When asked about Twitter, Lack jokingly said, "I’m not going to be the guy to break the ice. I'll wait to see if Lu throws the first stone - then I'll follow."