|So, Wayne Gretzky, how did your first day go? "I'm very impressed," says Coyote Tyson Nash. Grant Fuhr (in the background) is there too. Hey, isn't Messier looking for a job right now?|
A quiet early morning at the Ricoh. But one hangover from yesterday was the griping about the ice. How bad was it, Jeff O'Neill?
"It was so bad, it was hard to keep the puck flat on the ice."
Is it that bad, Jason Allison:
"The ice is that bad – it’s terrible."
Hmm. It’s 30C outside. On Tuesday, it was up over that. Sometimes, the wonder is that there’s ice at all. And I’m still trying to get my head around 43 fans in the stands at 9 a.m. to watch drills, which is oh, about 43 more than I figured on.
As for us media, we’ve been barred from entering the 100 (ice) level, perhaps so we can’t see up close just how terrible that ice is. I mean, what could be in it? Shards of glass? A lucky loonie? A shredded Dash Domi-Tom Jakobek memo?
Perhaps the Leafs got tired of dodging the gauntlet staking out the tunnels Tuesday, and so there was plenty of officially licensed office stationary stuck about bearing the message "Team Access Only". After a year and a half away, it’s nice to know that the Leafs haven’t dropped their usual media-friendly approach.
Okay, the morning workouts had these lines, with the third group (Team C) getting the early stuff on the crap ice, then heading for dry-land training while the other two groups scrimmaged:
Kyle Wellwood between Tie Domi and Kris Newbury; Eric Lindros flanked by Steve Thomas and Colin Murphy; and Chad Kilger and Brent Aubin centred by Chris St. Jacques. Luke Fulghum and Mike Hoffman were in black, jumping in.
On defence, the pairings: Wade Belak and Dominic D’Amour; Carlo Colaiacovo with Pat Sutton; Ian White and Brendan Bell. J.S. Aubin and J.F. Racine were in goal.
Eye catching: Steve Thomas looks pretty good out there - shows you what a little motivation can do. A highlight? Nobody got hurt, least of all from a pen in the eye, say, or a stray notebook.
No hurt feelings either, as we take a look at the happy campers around the league -- at least that's what Alex Mogilny says of his summertime snub from the Leafs.
There was Wayne Gretzky making his coaching debut in Phoenix. We've seen his fine clothing line, but the Great One just looks better on the ice with the big gloves. Put the players through the paces yesterday - how excited are these guys to be playing under a legend?
The training camp oddity du jour has to come out of New York, where young puckstopper Dan Blackburn is tyring to reboot his NHL career - without a catching glove.
We're also watching for news on a Ryan Smyth signing, could be today.
And from the realm of tough guys, check this out. There is only one true tough guy now.
That's it for now, back later after today's scrimmage. Steve Thomas!