Day 4 of Canucks training camp opened with a veteran practice that included Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, Nick Bonino, Dan Hamhuis, Zack Kassian, Alex Edler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata.
The focus of the skate was the power play as the team practiced in two units of six; Hamhuis, Bieksa, Higgins, Bonino, Burrows and Kassian, then Weber, Edler, Vrbata, Vey and the Sedins, with the team working on everything from power play shooting sequence, two line shooting and breakout drills to puck recovery and possession.
Coach Desjardins wants the Canucks to have two distinct power play units this year, as opposed to one top power play group and a second ever-changing crew, as has been the case in the past.
“I just don’t like guys on the ice when they’re tired, I don’t think that’s fair to them and I don’t think they get the best results,” said Desjardins. “Last year I think the Sedin unit had a good year, but you didn’t get anything from the other unit and for us to be good, we need both units going.”
The 52-minute scrimmage was broken up into a 25-minute period, a 20-minute period and a seven-minute overtime that had the teams start at 4-on-4 before playing 3-on-3 for the final few minutes of OT.
Then there was a shootout.
Team Quinn, sporting blue jerseys, had Bo Horvat, Shawn Matthias and Derek Dorsett on its top line, while Team Kurtenbach, in white, responded with Mike Zalewski, Brad Richardson and Jannik Hansen.
Team Quinn scored on their first shot on Ryan Miller to take a 1-0 lead early. JT Wyman did the damage; 10 minutes later Curtis Valk scored his first of two first period goals and it was 2-0 blue. Valk found the back of the net again and it was 3-0 Quinn in what looked to be a lopsided game.
Nicklas Jensen and Darren Archibald replied with late back-to-back goals on Eddie Lack to make it 3-2 after 25 minutes.
In the second period, Alex Biega was the lone goal scorer leaving the game 3-3 heading into overtime. In extra time Alex Friesen and Wyman traded goals, leaving the game to be determined in a shootout.
Cole Cassels was the lone goal scorer, he put a shot off the crossbar and in on Jacob Markstrom as the fourth Team Blue shooter.
Overall coach Desjardins was happy with what he saw from his Canucks.
“I thought it was good, I thought the tempo was good in it, you liked the white team coming back and battling back and I thought there was good flow and good goaltending both ways.”
Wyman, a 28-year-old winger at Vancouver’s camp on a professional tryout, turned heads by hitting the scoresheet twice Sunday, but he was more concerned with showing the Canucks staff he’s an all-round player.
“I’m here on a tryout so I have to go a little further in terms of proving my self and trying to establish a spot in this organization,” said Wyman. “It’s good to get on the scoresheet, but the important things are what you do away from the puck and those are really the things that management and scouts are looking at.”
As for Valk, who had two goals and is coming off three goals scored during the Young Stars Tournament, he too wanted to display more than just offensive prowess.
“I thought I played well, there’s always room for improvement though,” said Valk. “On the goal that Archibald scored I probably could have been better defensively, but it was a good first game in camp.”