RED AND WHITE SCRIMMAGE ON TAP
And on the fourth day of the Team Canada Olympic orientation camp a game shall be played.
The Red and White scrimmage is slated for 7 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome Thursday night and ticket sales have been steady all week.
Will this be like an NHL all-star game? Hitless and not competitive?
Not according to Flames captain Jarome iginla
"My guess is it is going to be pretty quick," said Iginla. "There is no easing into it. I think it will be competitive. Probably not as physical as other games but we all like to play and we all want to play."
"We know there's going to quite a bit of skill, and it's going to be fast, so expect that," agreed Jonathan Toews.IGINLA SWTICHES LINES
Last spring they were adversaries in the playoffs.
Wednesday at the Pengrowth Saddledome, they were linemates.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla
, who was paired with Rick Nash and Sidney Crosby for the first two days ot Canada's Olympic orientation camp, was shifted to a line with Mike Richard from the Flyers and Jonathan Towes, of the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that ended the Flames playoff hopes in the first round.
"That's kind of the fun at these camps, to see who is going to be on what line," said Iginla, a veteran of two Olympics. "It's always good to play with different guys. Whatever line you are on you are playing with good players."BABCOCK EARNING PRAISE
|Shea Weber |
With only a brief time-frame to come together as a group, the coaches and management have a limited opportunity to get their message across to the players. As such, the choice of Mike Babcock as head coach seems to this point to be a wise one.
Babcock has comandeered his troops from the first moment they hit the ice, and his approach is getting praise throughout camp.
"He's an A-type personality," laughed assitant coach Ken Hichcock.
"He's definitely an intense coach, he gets his point across and he has everyone's attention," agreed Shea Webber.
The key according to Hitchcock, is outlining expectations and maintaining rigid standards for everyone.
"There's trusting as far as work and skill, but there's also trusting the players to play all 200 feet, and it doesn't matter what the name is on the back of the sweater, or where the player is from, Mike expects them to play a complete game," said Hitchcock. PLAY THE ROLE
Chris Pronger has played 40 games with the Maple Leaf on his sweater, 27 of them at World Championships and Olympics.
He knows what to expect come February in Vancouver.
"I think it is going to be outstanding," said Pronger, the d-man with the big wing span who will guard the Philadelphia blueline next season. "The biggest thing is the depths of the teams, Essentially all the teams are all-star teams."
As a veteran Pronger is nurturing some of the younger defencemen currently on the Olympic watchlist -- players like Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Mike Green, Drew Doughty and Brent Seabrook, all of whom are in relatively early stages of their NHL careers.
"Some guys are probably going to be asked to take on roles they are not familiar with. But you have to be focused and prepared for one shift, six shifts, 18 shifts, whatever comes along.OF TEAM BONDING AND POTENTIAL SANDBAGGING
|Shane Doan |
The players took to the links for a golf game on Tuesday and Flames captain Jarome Iginla
figures he might have been sandbagged by Coyote Shane Doan.
As the pair negotiated handicaps on the way to the course, Doan declared he "shoots a hundred" but on the first tee noted "I can shoot 79, too but that's my best."
The pair settled on Doan playing as a 14 handicap but after 13 holes Doan had bagged 11 pars.
"How do you compete with that," said Iginla, who gave up a good number of strokes to Doan. "He does that to me every time. He always does. He will get me again, too."
Still, the bonding experience among the players was the big thing for Iginla.
"it brings you closer. It is huge because when the Olympics come they just happen right away so the more you can have a comfort level the better off you will be," said Iginla.KEITH WANTS TO FORGET SUMMER, BUILD ON SUCCESS
While most players at the Olympic orientation camp field questions almost solely about Team Canada, with training camp only weeks away some players, especially those playing for teams who had colourful offseasons, must also begin answering questions about their clubs.
The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the teams that did not enjoy a banner offseason this summer. A series of off-ice miscues and controversies stole the headlines away from a group that earned it's mention among the league's elite during the last postseason. Despite the perceived distractions surrounding the 'Hawks, defenseman Duncan Keith is focused on building on last year's achievements.
"It's our job to win on the ice, all the other things are not for us to worry about," said Keith
"I still think we're still a team on the rise. This is a big year for us, there's a lot of teams that are going to be looking for us."