Day 2 of Ducks training camp at THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE is officially in the books.
In front of a standing-room-only crowd at the club's official training facility, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle put his players through the paces on Saturday, the intensity level reaching new heights during chip-and-chase puck retrieval plays and 2-on-2 rushes up and down the ice.
The pace and physicality only figures to ramp up as the days go on, considering Anaheim's seven-game preseason schedule begins Tuesday in San Jose. That's just fine for rugged defenseman Josh Manson, who got into town early to take advantage of informal skates.
"It's been good so far," Manson said, on the first two days of camp. "Always in camp, you find the speed is ramped up a little bit more than what you're used to throughout the summer. It's about acclimating to that and finding your timing as you go along."
Manson was paired primarily with prospect Marcus Pettersson, who had himself an impressive performance in Anaheim's three-game sweep during the recent Prospect Showcase in San Jose. Though it might be a stretch to label Manson an NHL veteran right now (he has 181 games of experience), he's using his experience in previous camps to help mentor some of the younger defensemen, including the 21-year-old Pettersson. "Year by year, as you go along, you get more comfortable," Manson said. "You look at some guys and you find similarities when you first came in. You want to help them as much as you can. It goes a long way."
Another rookie soaking it in is 19-year-old defenseman Josh Mahura, who, like Pettersson, had a fine showing in the rookie tournament last week. Soft spoken and poised, Mahura says he isn't worried about how long he'll stay in main camp. Instead, he's simply focused on improving each day.
"I'm letting it come to me," said Mahura, who was paired with veteran Kevin Bieksa today. "I'm not trying to be someone I'm not. Just continuing to try to improve. When it comes to offensive things, I'm just letting things flow."
Labeled as an intelligent two-way defenseman, Mahura combined for 53 points (17g/36a) with a +17 rating in 73 Western Hockey League games with Red Deer and Regina in 2016-17, ranking sixth among WHL d-men in goals and tied for fourth in power-play goals (8). In addition, he helped lead Regina to the WHL Championship final, earning 21 points (8g/13a) in 23 postseason games.
Mahura is one of a handful of prospects who could crack the opening night roster. With the news yesterday that Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are not expected to play until November, opportunity awaits.
"Everyone comes into camp looking to stay as long as they can," Mahura said. "For me, I'm just showing up every day and not overly thinking how long I'm going to stay. I'm just playing. I'm not trying to over-complicate things. You're just playing hockey out here and having some fun."
Remaining Training Camp Schedule
Sunday, September 17: Practices for Groups A, B & C run 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on both Olympic and NHL rinks
Monday, September 18: Scrimmage, 10 a.m. on NHL rink
Video: Josh Manson on training camp and taking steps forward
Video: Kevin Bieksa on the team's blueline depth