With a split squad exhibition game just three days away, most of the players jumped right into training camp with both feet this morning for a 40 minute scrimmage. The 54 players presently in camp were divided into three teams as listed below with Team A facing Team B today, Teams B and C squaring off tomorrow, and Teams A and C going on Sunday for two scrimmages apiece.
Today's scrimmage was a 3-0 win for Team A thanks to goals by Devante Smith-Pelly (backdoor tap in), Jon Merrill (slapshot from the point) and Blake Coleman (technically a breakaway, but it was a penalty shot with backchecking awarded after the only penalty called in the game). The short version is that it was a bit of a track meet in the first 20 minutes and simmered down in the second half as their summer legs caught up with them. There was also more hitting than I expected, something Adam Henrique and I spoke about during our chat on Facebook Live earlier this morning. He also spoke about playing on a line with Taylor Hall again (yes, they are presently on a line together, joined by Smith-Pelly) and if this is any indication of what's in store…yes please!
Video: Hall skates with Henrique, Smith-Pelly in camp
Beau Bennett met with the media after practice and he addressed his sorted history of injuries. Here's the full scrum:
Video: Beau Bennett on the first day of camp
If you want the cliff notes:
- "I've been healthy the last four years at training camp, so that hasn't been a problem, but maintaining that level of health has been the struggle for me. I worked on it a lot this summer and hopefully I can just shake the injury bug. I mean, it still takes a little bit of luck to stay healthy, too."
- "There were some dog days in Pittsburgh when I was injured and kept struggling, asking 'why me?' or 'why was this happening?' constantly and I think I just have to have fun and get back to the roots of why I started playing hockey."
- "It's nothing that's chronic or that I have bad hamstrings or groins or something like that. It's just getting hit in an awkward spot and a lot of it is luck. A lot of it's me putting myself in those vulnerable spots. So, I gotta be better at that and just try to play my game and contribute."
- "When I was first getting injured, I hated seeing [negative comments] so I deleted my Twitter just to take it out of my hands, basically. Now, I don't know what switch flipped, but I kinda love reading what people say and it kind of gives you motivation to show what you can do and, if you play well, you can just kind of stare down the haters and do your thing."
- "I've asked my trainer if there was anything I could have done differently [to prevent his previous injuries] and he said, 'Honestly, if anyone gets hit like that, they're going to have the same thing happen to them.' So, I trained a lot this summer putting my body in awkward positions and gaining strength that way."
I'll be chatting with Beau tomorrow on Facebook Live after the scrimmage, so if you have questions you'd like to ask him, tweet me!