A game! At last! Sort of. At least, it looked that way. Including a delay to fix a seam in the glass, and a kid in the stands – one of those pancake-stuffed season ticket-holder kids, and correct me if it doesn’t apply, but isn’t school back in? – trying to start up some officially licensed clapping.
Memo to Ricoh: Those seams, or stanchions, as Star hockey guy Ken Campbell insists they are called, are as flimsy as a Tom Jakobek story. Eric Lindros throws a check and clank! Another one falls. Dominic D’Amour – good name, that one – did the same. A shot, a bodycheck, it didn’t matter. Six times there were clanks and another seam/stanchion was falling to the ice.
Ah well, it’s just September. It’s all good. We’re still looking for our first two-line pass, but hey. We got time.
You’re wondering about the line combinations. So am I.
On this first morning scrimmage, let’s just say everyone played with everyone. Eric Lindros started with Chad Kilger on his left and Tie Domi on his right, a grouping that got some time together later on. Camp invitee Steve Thomas skated alongside No. 88 too, and the trio clicked for a goal by left winger Kris Newbury. Lindros and Kilger were joined by Mike Hoffman, a unit that together amounts to over 700 pounds of pure hoss.
As for Jeff O’Neill in the white jersey opposite, he showed some pretty good forechecking, a couple nice moves and a quick snapshot and was rewarded with a goal for it. A line of O’Neill, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan was reunited from time to time. The new Leaf also played with some of the fringers here, including Making the Cut guy Dominic Noel.
And in the department of pitchers being ahead of the hitters, goalies Mikael Tellqvist and Jean-Francois Racine looked sharp.
Carlo Colaiacovo, looking for a big-league job, spent most of his time paired with Ian White, and didn’t particularly distinguish himself. Didn’t do anything to hurt himself either.
Looking good? Kilger, Racine in goal and especially O’Neill caught our eye.
Worried? Well, Jason Allison skated with the white team in their pregame practice, but wasn’t around once the scrimmage began. (UPDATE: Allison later explained that he has a mild hip flexor strain, and took himself out "even though I felt great. I'll be ready come October 5").
Big Swede Staffan Kronvall got one in on Lindros, putting the star on his backside with a solid check. Afterward the poor fellow didn't know whether to smile or run for cover:
Lindros had a few things to say after the hit, actually.
And this sort-of game ended in a shootout, after going 2-2 tie in 60 minutes (straight time) of regulation. O’Neill potted the only goal in the decider. You read it here first. And probably last.