Anyone out there have undrafted free agent Brodie Reid in your office’s “First Shark to score in training camp” pool?
Turned out, Reid wasn’t the just the first to score – he was the only Shark to tally a goal over 120 minutes of Training Camp scrimmages Sunday and Monday.
Each day, the contests were split into two 30 minute halves with a running clock. It wasn’t until 28 minutes into the first half this morning that Reid was finally able to break through for Team A. Reid and fellow undrafted rookie Mike Connolly quickly transitioned after a change of possession and executed a 2 on 1 break to perfection. The play was capped off by a cross ice saucer pass from Connolly that Reid deposited top shelf over a hapless Thomas Greiss.
All four goalie prospects looked sharp, with Harri Sateri and Thomas Heemskerk combining for the shutout on behalf of Team A and J.P. Anderson pitching a 2nd half shutout after spelling Greiss for Team B.
Though listed as the fourth line on Team A, Connolly, Reid and fellow rookie Freddie Hamilton (drafted by the Sharks in the 5th round, 129th overall in 2010) were arguably the most effective group for either squad this morning, consistently maintaining possession and generating scoring opportunities. The 22-year old Connolly, listed at 5’9 on the Sharks’ website, was especially noticeable. Size will always be a concern for the University of Minnesota Duluth product, but throughout camp his skill level and vision have looked more than adequate against professional competition.
The only other forward group that rivaled the play of the three youngsters was also on Team A – The Sharks tentative 3rd line composed of Torrey Mitchell, Jamie McGinn, and newcomer Michal Handzus, who signed a reported 2-year/5 million dollar contract this offseason. Mitchell was perhaps the best forward on the ice, and looked quicker than he has at any point since the first of a series of injuries struck during his sophomore training camp in 2008. The threesome consistently pushed the play toward their offensive end and seemed to spend every moment on the ice in possession of the puck.
The Sharks presumed top two lines, on the other hand, did not look especially sharp. Thornton, Marleau and Pavelski struggled to move the puck through the neutral zone for Team B, and did not enjoy any kind of sustained pressure until the final 10 minutes of the scrimmage. Team A’s top line of Clowe, Couture and Ferriero (presumably filling in for Martin Havlat who is still not cleared for contact) did not fair much better.
Brent Burns’ play stood out early and often, though not always positively. He eagerly jumped into the play in the offensive zone, at one point even following a chipped puck behind the net en route to joining a very exclusive club: players who have actually managed to knock Douglas Murray off his skates. But the genesis of the aforementioned 2 on 1 goal scoring play was also a pinch by Burns that went uncovered.
Still, Burns’ combination of size, strength and speed is something to behold. He was the most physical player for either team, constantly doled out big hits, and at one point even drove the net from the outside and plowed right into Heemskerk who somehow managed to withstand the impact and make the save.
Despite the 1-0 final score, the scrimmage concluded with a shootout. In the nets for their respective squads were Heemskerk and Anderson, and each goalie surrendered 1 goal on 5 attempts.
* Marc-Edouard Vlasic was still unable to get on the ice because of the flu, and again it was Jim Vandermeer who slid up the depth chart to serve as the Smithers to Mr. Burns.
* As was the case last year when they found themselves on the ice at the same time, Thornton and Pavelski split face-off duties. Pavelski took the draws on the right side of the ice, while Thornton handled the left. Little Joe took the opening draw at center ice.
* The teams didn’t spend any time on the Power Play, which appeared to be by design. The only obvious would-have-been call came with 4:30 left in the 2nd half when Brent Burns tripped a driving Benn Ferriero near the goal line. But despite the referee putting his arm up to signal a penalty, Burns skated back to the bench after the whistle and play continued 5 on 5.
* Looking ahead, the Sharks will play their annual “Teal & White” scrimmage at the HP Pavilion tomorrow night, an event which is exclusive to season ticket holders. Then, after a morning practice at Sharks Ice, they will head down to Anaheim Wednesday evening for their first preseason contest of the year. The puck drops at 7:05 in the Honda Center.
Line Combos from this morning’s scrimmage:
29 – Clowe 39 – Couture 78- Ferriero
64 – McGinn 26 – Handzus 17 – Mitchell
72 – Mashinter 43 – McCarthy 41 – MacIntyre
48 – Connolly 75 – Hamilton 56 – Reid
3 – D. Murray 22 – Boyle
5 – White 60 – Demers
55 – Moore 77 – Doherty
47 – Sullivan
35 – Sateri
33 – Heemskerk
12 – Marleau 19 – Thornton 8 – Pavelski
10 – Winchester 69 – Desjardins 28 – A. Murray
75 – Sgarbossa 40 – Guite 57 – Wingels
85 – Gogol 84 – Moon 63 – Livingston
2 – Vandermeer (in place of Vlasic) 88 – Burns
52 – Irwin 61 – Braun
62 – Acolatse 42 – Pelech
1 – Greiss
36 – Anderson
Boyle – Miss, 5-Hole
Demers – Miss, Backhand Spin-O-Rama
Connolly – Miss, Deke to Forehand
Couture – Score, Speed/Stutter Step/Shot (glove)
Handzus – Miss, Blocker
Thornton – Miss, Wide Blocker
Guite – Score, Backhand roof
Wingels – Miss, Shooting
Braun – Miss, Wide Glove
A. Murray – Miss, 5 Hole
and Facebook - Blades of Teal
Topics: 2011-12 NHL Season, Ben Guite, Brent Burns, Brodie Reid, Fredie Hamilton, Harri Sateri, J.P. Anderson, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Michal Handzus, Mike Connolly, San Jose, San Jose Sharks, Shark's Ice, Sharks, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Heemskerk, Torrey Mitchell, Training Camp