PEI “Day 3” for the Dallas Stars began with early morning practices that were as fresh and crisp as the morning breeze off the water. Early workouts helped burn off the substantial lobster consumed the night before, and the early-afternoon scrimmage in front of a nearly sold out Charlottetown Civic Centre gave us all a taste of game conditions and what is about to come.
|On a bike ride Saturday afternoon |
And in this new era, the first-period showed us some very good signs. Kari Lehtonen
spit back all 12 shots he faced, many of the dicey variety, and goals from Jamie Benn
and Steve Ott
at the other end are hopeful harbingers of what’s ahead for them both.Mark Fistric
hit Tom Wandell
early in the first period – Wandell crumbled to the ice and did not return to the scrimmage. Black led 2-0 after 1. The grinders were very noticeable in the opening frame – especially the White Team’s 3rd and 4th lines (which needed shuffling after Wandell left the game). I really like Aaron Gagnon, and hope he gets a shot. It was great fun to run down to Cedar Park and watch some of the Texas Stars playoff games, and he is a real gamer. I saw him take a crippling shot to the leg and not miss a shift. Tough kid, easy to root for.
White’s tempo-setting 3rd and 4th lines set them up for a solid middle frame. Two goals from Dallas Captain Brenden Morrow
(both set up by Ribeiro) and a late period Toby Petersen
marker almost got them into the third with a lead. Until, after the mid-scrimmage goalie swap and a whacky play by Brent Krahn to basically hand Fabian Brunstrom the puck – 3-3 after the empty netter through 60 minutes.
Looking for another good sign? Penalties resulted in Penalty Shots and not power plays and at the third period’s 13:33 mark James Neal was awarded one – and failed to hit the post… bang – right into the back of the net for a 4-3 Black Team lead late. And – we actually had a fight – Krys Barch and Luke Gazdic
threw a few with each other with about 3 minutes left in the game. A late push from White – but Jonathan Cheechoo, in for a tryout, was stopped late by Richard Bachman
to preserve the win – and fittingly – PEI native Brad Richards stashed the puck into the empty net for the 5-3 win for he and his team mates.
After the game, local presenting sponsor Cox and Palmer hosted a reception for the Dallas Stars, and then Brad Richards took his teammates on a “watch football at a sports bar” experience. Hey it’s Sunday – and nobody (and I do mean nobody) likes their NFL football like Brad Richards.
For me and Jason Walsh (our broadcast chief) maybe another bike ride around the boardwalk, or a soda with Joe Nieuwendyk on his deck that overlooks the local church parking lot. But surely there will be will one final lobster to find, lots of locals to hang with and talk to, and a final evening of smiles here in PEI.
I loved going to Vail back in the day. I think this kind of bridge from summer to hockey season is so good for team-building and attitude, and PEI is even better. It’s better because people here are SOOOO excited that we’re here, so delighted that we’ve chosen Charlottetown as our training camp home, and our guys have been upbeat and into it since getting off the plane.
And now the challenge – bring a little bit of this with us everywhere we go this year.LINES – D-PAIRS FOR SCRIMMAGE:
Krahn RALPH'S PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND DIARY - DAY TWO RALPH'S PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND DIARY - DAY ONE