Today was a great day here in the Old North State. The sky wept all day yesterday, but today was gorgeous with temperatures in the 70’s. It was a perfect day for the Caniac Carnival. I arrived in time to hit the Eye, grab a barbecue sandwich and a seat for the Red-White Scrimmage. It was a really fun afternoon and fantastic to see the guys back on the RBC ice. The scrimmage was run like a regular game with the musical introductions, lights and the national anthem. Ron the Ref was there with his sparkle on running intermission games with the crowd as the Storm Squad, including Big Mike, walked the aisles sharing goodies with fans.
Team White ended up winning the scrimmage with a final score of 10-7. We saw Brian Boucher and Justin Peters in net for about half the game with Mike Murphy and John Muse taking over midway through the second period. For a complete breakdown on the scoring check out the Canes Gameday Twitter feed.
I have to say the people I was excited to see didn’t do as much as I had hoped but some others surprised me in good ways. Here are some thoughts:
- Everyone’s favorite Checker’s fan Bug was in the house! I stopped by and said hello to him and his folks. They were lovely people. So glad they made the trek for the game! It’s always better with the Bennetts in the house.
- I saw Jim Rutherford out and about during the carnival shaking some hands and talking to folks as I was waiting for food.
- The absence of Erik Cole was noticeable to me. Not just because I am his biggest fan. His energy and physicality were missed, and a fellow Caniac concurred. Ok he’s my brother but he noticed it too.
- Every time a goal was scored on Brian Boucher I had a little heart attack. I know it was a scrimmage but I wanted Cam Ward’s backup to stop every shot he faced. It was 3-1 at the end of the first period with Boosh coming out on the losing end of that deal.
- Bryan Allen ended up in the box within the first minute of the game. Yep. He’s a physical guy. I really liked the pairing of him with young Ryan Murphy. You could see the mentorship Allen was bringing to the duo and I saw a veteran presence on the ice through the whole game. Our young draft-pick Murphy looked good and played hard. There must be something in the water up there in Kitchener.
- Alexei Ponikorovsky is a really big dude. He’s listed at 6’4”, 226 pounds but skated much bigger to me than 6’4”, 205 Eric Staal. Maybe it’s just an illusion of wingspan because his name almost runs down the arms of his sweater.
- Lines composed of Checkers definitely demonstrated chemistry of guys that have been playing together for a while. Riley Nash and Chris Terry were really exciting to watch today. Terry netted one goal and Nash netted two. I was really hoping Nash would get a hat trick. And Justin Faulk. Wow! He’s always easy to spot on the ice by his flow, but today he was easily recognizable by his energetic play. I know I yelled “Alright Faulker!” many times today.
- Anthony Stewart is a very physical player. I loved what the forward brought to the rink. If he checks his teammates like that I can’t wait to see what he does to the opposition. He was one of the stick handlers to end up in the sin bin today. Another really physical guy? Brett Sutter. He banged some bodies today.
- Chad LaRose stealing the puck from Eric Staal and getting a breakaway was one of the highlights of my day. Possibly the weekend. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to turn it into a scoring opportunity but it made this girl happy. Chad also rallied the kids down by the glass during the warm-up skate. There is no statistic to measure heart and soul.
- Zach Boychuk finally scored a goal in the third. I felt myself full of worry watching him. I really want him to make it and feel like he has to use every second on his shift to prove something. The other Zac, Dalpe, played a solid game and scored 2 goals.
- Player I was expecting to notice but didn’t? Tim Brent. I only caught him one time on the ice even though I know he played more than that. Player I didn’t expect to notice but did? Keegan Lowe. The 18-year-old defensemen really gave his all today. His dad would have been proud.
- I never want to see Tomas Kaberle in a shootout. Ever.
Who stood out to you in the scrimmage today? Any surprises? Disappointments? Tell us in the comments.