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Let the Games (Sort Of) Begin

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
Photo by Adam Brady (which is why it's so bad).

As refreshing as it was to see the start of Ducks training camp over the weekend, as gratifying as it was to see those familiar faces back on the ice, there's only so much practice a fan can take. After awhile of watching guys skate through cones, take a knee near the glass while a coach draws out instructions, and take the occasional shot on net, there comes a point where we're wanting more.

So when the Ducks took the ice this morning for about an hour-long intrasquad scrimmage, it was like a breath of fresh air. These are games where the score hardly matters, though for the record the White team downed the Black by a lopsided 6-1, though Randy Carlyle said that had a lot to do with energy levels. "The white team showed they had more energy," Carlyle said. "The black team practiced before and then had to scrimmage. That was the difference in the game. Some people showed they have offensive instincts and skill sets. They did some of the things we asked them to do in teaching them the systems. I think it was very productive."

The likeable Andrew Gordon, an offseason free agent signee from Washington, scored two goals for the White, which you can see in this video here. Said Gordon, "I got lucky to be on the fortunate end of some bounces there. You want to show the coaching staff that you're able to execute the systems that you learned and apply what you did in practice the last couple of days. At the end of the day, it's a tuneup for a lot of guys to get ready for the exhbiition games."

Gordon is among the new guys getting some looks in this camp, but the offseason acquisition that drew the most attention in Anaheim was Andrew Cogliano, who scored the eventual game-winner early in the second half of the scrimmage (they played two 30-minute halves today). Cogliano, who could be either a center or winger in Anaheim, skated on a line with Saku Koivu and Kyle Palmieri for most of the scrimmage.

There were a few guys missing today, including Bobby Ryan, who took an extra day to rest his strained groin but will skate tomorrow, according to Carlyle. Defenseman Kurtis Foster, who came over from Edmonton in the offseason, missed the third straight day of camp and will is undergoing a procedure today to remove a piece wire from his thigh (not kidding). The wire was placed in his leg during a surgery that took place to repair a left leg fracture in March of 2008. The wire was causing inflammation/irritation, and will be removed. Meanwhile, Foster will miss 2-4 weeks. Also, Mathieu Carle, who took a scary spill into the wall yesterday, was held off the ice today when he reported he was not feeling good after riding the bike this morning.

For the guys who were out there, it was a good chance to see the hand the Ducks will be dealt in the coming days. "For us as coaches, it gives us a little bit different of a light on some players when you put them in a scrimmage situation," Carlyle said. "You can't really truly evaluate players, all of their abilites and senses, if you only practice. They have to have some form of game-like situation.

"Again, tomorrow night gives us another opportunity with an exhibitiion game to put some young players in with a mix of some older players. It's going to be a different level than the scrimmage was. That is always part of the test for young players."

Ah yes, that first preseason game tomorrow night, still hard to believe after these 4 1/2 months of non-hockeyness. The Ducks welcome the Phoenix Coyotes here tomorrow night, and we hope to have an idea of which players (out of the 47 in camp) will be in uniform tomorrow morning. We do know that the veterans who are scheduled to play are Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Lubomir Visnovsky.

Players not playing in Tuesday or Wednesday’s games will be working at various locations around Honda Center. Examples include working will call box office, Oggi’s Pizza, and the Ducks Team Store. Fans at the game should visit Guest Relations at Section 214 for more information, or check the Ducks twitter for updates.

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