The Ice Den, practice home to the Coyotes, was alive yesterday now that the third sheet of ice is open and ready to be completely utilized. The Coyotes had a spirited and very intense practice yesterday. As usual, the team is separated into three groups based upon their practice jerseys. Red, white, and grey. For our Canadian friends, gray.
After the division by colors, they broke into each end of the ice for smaller group work. They don’t use the ADM approach, but the full team was split.
I sat on the end where Mike Smith was in goal. The drills I saw included player 1 drives to the net and then passes to the wing (player 2) who shoots. Player 1 goes for the rebound if it exists. Immediately after the rebound, both turn up ice and Coach Sean Burke passed it to the player 2. Player 1 goes opposite side of the shooter and waits for the rebound. Player 2 passes it to player 3 at the point. Player 2 sets the screen in front of the shot from the point.
Smitty was nails on this drill. It was a non-stop wave of pucks at him and he stopped the majority. Guys who couldn’t seem to miss were Turris, Landkow, and Klesla.
This drill was modified to have the d-men as player 1, drive the lane, turn and curl and look to pass to the opposite wing. Opposite wing does a shot pass to player 2 in the high or low slot. Think of this as a modified tip drill. This is the shot that has beat Smitty a few times this year. It was good to see the coaches work with him on this and even better to see how well he was at stopping these.
At the other end, similar drills happening with Jason in goal. At the end of organized drills, Tip had the power play lines on the ice . The interesting thing was Sean Burke was standing by him and talking positioning of the goalie. He was gesturing and using his body to show Tip how the puck should be moved based on the goalie leaning to one side, dropping his shoulder, etc. At least that is what I think he was saying. He could have been asking Tip to go for Chinese for lunch. I am in the stands, how do I know?
Near the end of the drill Jason took a slapper to the helmet that knocked if off his head. There is his shorn head, much thinner face than last season, bare. Helmet slowly sliding on the ice. Shane put the puck where Momma hides the cookies, saw Jason’s bare head, and smiled. Then the Jesus in him took over, making sure Jason was okay. He cleared the cobwebs, put the lid back on, and resumed having frozen biscuits fired at him with reckless abanden.
The big news was seeing Coach Jim Playfair putting Michel Rosival through his conditioning drills. It was constant motion. Skate forward, change direction, dropping the shoulder, turn the hips, drive toward the coach, repeat. All this while Coach Playfair fires the puck of the dasher board and you have to retrieve it quickly, get it back to the coach, and do this again to the other side. News reports were that Rosival was cleared for contact and is working on his conditioning. He looks conditioned and was not having difficulty with the drills, the constant motion, or the speed of the drill. He didn’t skate to the bench between sessions, he just kind of skated slowly in a small circle.Most normal skaters would have been doubled over or just chugging water at the bench. Rosival looked no worse for the wear.
It should be fun getting the Flyers in our building after a tough game vs. Anaheim. Bryz is not expected to play because he doesn’t play back to back. Expect a loud and vocal Philadelphia fan base to make their prescence known. The Coyotes need to get to Bob early and often. Second and third chances are what it takes to beat him.
Prediction. Coyotes 3-2 regulation. Goals by 2nd line of Hanzal, Whitney, Vrbata and a first liner Gordon, Langkow, or Doan. If I am wrong, I’ll double down for the next game.