Was out all day taking part in the Canuck Place charity Adventure Race in North Vancouver today (pretty tough course, kayak/mountain bike/trail run events). Amazing event for an incredible charity - more on Canuck Place here.
Anyway, some thoughts from my friend at day one of Canuck camp:
Keith Ballard was flying (well not really, but he was skating well). Looked night and day better compared to last camp when he was coming off of a hip injury. Looked to be skating with confidence. He was paired with Chris Tanev.
Owen Nolan showed some jump and more than held his own. I think he's got a great shot at the fourth line RW spot.
Mikael Samuelsson also looked really good - he's likely to replace Ehrhoff on the top PP unit, and should be a lock for 25+ goals now that he's healthy.
Dean Lombardi is taking a hard line with Drew Doughty. Some like the decision, some don't. Is Doughty one day going to be worth $7 million or more? Very likely. However, the Kings have decided that they don’t want to give him a penny more than the $6.8 Kopitar makes.
Frankly, I think it is stupid in a cap era to set a cap on what a player earns. The real indicator is percentage of overall cap hit. For example, Kopitar signed his deal when the cap was lower, meaning his $6.8 million at the time took up a larger percentage of the overall team cap than it does now.
Luke Schenn signs a nice five year deal. Cap hit $3.6 million – as more and more leagues start to incorporate hits, his value will only rise.
Montreal had their physical testing yesterday – Alexei Emelin looks a little… shall we say… fat? I drafted him this past summer in my keeper league, but this poicture doesn’t really show a hard off-season of training.
Copper & Blue with five things they are excited for – hint, RNH is one of them. I would be too. Kid is unbelievably talented. Who knew that tanking for three straight years would pay off?
Crosby has been cleared for non-contact practice. I wonder who he will line up with? Kunitz and Neal, most likely.
Mike Fisher’s recovery from summer shoulder surgery is going slower than expected, and he may not be ready for opening night. An opening for Craig Smith? Cal O’Reilly?
The Hurricanes signed Ryan Murphy to an entry-level contract. He won’t make the team at camp, but he has massive offensive upside. Murphy was the best offensive defenseman to play in the OHL in a long time (I am not forgetting Ryan Ellis – I like Murphy more).
Hockey Pool Geek is gearing up to audit one of my keeper teams – check out their latest audit right here – the Glengarry Giants. Zdeno Chara is so valuable in this league, and many others.
A friend of mine knows Kirk McLean fairly well. He relayed the message to me that McLean is very excited about the potential Colorado has in Semyon Varlamov (McLean is the goaltending coach for the Avs, don’t forget). He particularly mentioned Varlamov’s work ethic as a huge, huge plus.
A great training video with Gary Roberts – check out how high Stamkos box jumps about half-way into the video. Impressive.
A great video of old hockey highlights: