Thursday, August 27, 2009

Red Vs. White Scrimmage

Only in Canada can we sell out a no hit scrimmage in August. But the Dome was jammed tonight in Calgary for the final night of the Olympic Summer evaluation camp.

Martin Brodeur at one end for team red. Roberto Luongo the pipeman for team white. Both were spectacular early on. Luongo making several nice stops, with this best being on a red 2 on 1 where he slid across to stymie Jeff Carter, after Corey Perry was badly outskated for the puck. Brodeur was up to the task as well with his trade mark one knee down stop, then snagging a Sidney Crosby wrister that was making it's way to the top corner glove side.

The first hit, kind of came from Drew Doughty on a pinching Jay Bouwmeester along the boards. Okay so it was a love tap, but atleast it was contact midway through the first. I can't imagine how hard it is for Shea Weber to play this type of game. A man coming down on the wing against him and he can't crush him into the boards.

Roberto Luongo is standing on his head. 1:24 to go in first, his team is being outshot 17-5, it's still 0-0. Thanks to a pair of great stops on a red odd man rush. Luongo makes the first save on Dan Cleary, who used Joe Thornton as a decoy, then dives across to stone Duncan Keith who jumped into the play.

Cue a Brodeur retort. After Rick Nash dangles and drives his way to the net, Brodeur takes away ice level and covers up the rebound. That was while shorthanded with Jordan Staal in the box. But Marty's party wasn't done yet. With time ticking down Scott Niedermayer uncharacteristically gives it away but his old teammate bails him out. Jarome Iginla feeds is cross crease to Jason Spezza who would have had a sure goal if Brodeur hadn't kicked out his leg in lightning quick fashion. What a great save. After 1, 0's on the board, shots 17-7 for team red. Both goalies were great as was Rick Nash.

To start the 2nd, Cam Ward in the pipes for team White, his boyhood idol at the other end still.

1:35 into the middle frame. Ryan Smyth on a two on one with Vincent Lecavalier. Now Smyth isn't known to have that strong of a shot. Some call it a muffin shot, so you would expect him to dish to Lecavalier right? No he shoots, and it goes off Marc Staal's stick and past Brodeur. 1-0 team white.

After that the boys in red with a glorious chance to tie it. Milan Lucic's rebound pops up in the air where Shea Weber bats it out of the air. It would have went in if Cam Ward didn't get his swinging arm on it and bat it on top of the net. On the play Corey Perry takes a tripping penalty, so team red goes on the power play.

After power play expires, red keeps pressing. A loose puck in the crease ends up behind Ward courtesy of Jeff Carter and Brenden Morrow whacking away. Carter gets credit, 1-1.

You would think if there is one place Dany Heatley wouldn't get booed it would be Calgary. He's from here and he's wearing the Maple Leaf right now. But each time he gets the puck, the boos rain down. He had one supporter though one fan had a sign that read 'Dany, don't worry I wouldn't go to Edmonton either.'

Midway through the 2nd, Marc Andre Fleury takes over for Martin Brodeur, and will immediately face a white power play as Jay Bouwmeester goes off for interference. Not much for offence on red pp, but just as it's ending, Sidney Crosby has to slow down Andy McDonald after giving away the puck. He heads to the box so the red squad with the man advantage.

Odd sighting. Dan Cleary and Jordan Staal both wearing number 11, on the same line. Jeff Carter and Milan Lucic are also wearing 17. Speaking of the Staal's, all 3 were on the ice at the same time with about 5 minutes to go in the 2nd.

With under 2 minutes to play, Brent Seabrook fans and falls on clearing attempt, Patrick Marleau gets the gift and goes 5 hole on Cam Ward. 2-1 team red.

After 2 periods, 2-1 red and they hold a 30-14 shot advantage.

To start the 3rd, Steve Mason for team white and Marc Andre Fleury remains for the red squad. Also Martin St. Louis has moved up to the top line with Crosby and Nash, the trio skated together in practice on Wednesday. Their second shift together they get some chances, the best coming on St. Louis' point blank blast that Fleury managed to get a blocker on.

Nine minutes to go in the 3rd, with Milan Lucic off for tripping, team white pulls even. Corey Perry after a pick from Ryan Smyth puts away a wrap around goal on Fleury, 2-2.

Just announced attendance, 19,282, that might be a season long number for the Coyotes this year.

5:29 to go, some controversy as Patrick Marleau centres for Joe Thornton, he clearly kicks it in, and they initially count it. Thornton is seen with a sheepish smile on his face on the bench and they finally waive it off.

Late in the game, St. Louis had a great chance to win it, but Fleury comes up large, to send this one to the showdown.

Patrick Marleau scored the nicest move for my money, as team red picked young Steve Mason apart on the blocker side. Sidney Crosby went high in a hurry on his teammate Fleury.

There weren't big hits, but it wasn't a float around all star game either. Good intensity and some systems play.

Next stop, Vancouver. Head over to the TEAM 1260 tonight as Corey Graham will be using some of the audio I collected tonight on Edmonton Sports Night Live. Guy and I will also have some stuff this Tuesday on TPS. You can also catch a one on one interview I did with Ryan Smyth on Global Sports tonight at 11 in Edmonton.

No comments: