Ace colleague Ken Campbell from the treeware division doesn’t miss anything.
"It’s Later to Moro," he said, gazing out at the defence pairing in white. "Get it?"
It did take a while, but yeah -- not bad. Sorta like Bogie and Bacall. Okay, maybe not, but certainly the equal of jock and jill.
Another brunchtime scrimmage out here at Ricoh, where at least there’s no fog on the glass and the quips are crashing harder than Carlo Colaiacovo.
A note about this Alexander Khavanov, the veteran Russian defender who has a spot on the Leafs. He spent most of the game partnered with Bryan McCabe, which made for a nice contrast, Khavanov staying a good 10 or 15 feet back of him. This is his m.o. apparently – a tidy, positional-oriented, defence-first game. He must have been doing his job okay, because I barely noticed him.
But Alex Steen? Oh yeah. Best player on the ice, to these eyes. A real dynamo, and his stamina held up longer than the day previous. Carlo, too, was jumping into the rush with abandon, which is nice for a no-hit scrimmage like this, but somehow I don’t think that’ll wash even in preseason games.
Three days of this and if you’ve been looking in regularly you know our favourites include Steen and Steve Thomas, playing for a job. And yeah, the 42-year-old Thomas didn’t disappoint either. He followed up a giveaway at his own line by hustling down the ice and being rewarded with a loose puck at his feet and the day’s first goal, on a quick snapper high to Eddie Belfour’s glove side.
Thomas is playing a lot with Eric Lindros and Chad Kilger, but slick winger Colin Murphy got some playing time in lieu of Kilger in this game.
(Late update: Pat Quinn on Steve Thomas:
"There's no doubt in my mind the one muscle that hasn't got any lesser in age is his heart. That's always going to be his strength ... Whether the feet, the head, the hands and all the other stuff are still there, we're going to find out, hopefully -- and obviously try to make that decision without the passion for a guy like him, so that you are still operating in the best interest of the team and not just because you like somebody, our job can't be that way. But it'll be a strong pull.")
The only shame of it for Thomas was in the shootout following a 2-2 tie – Colaiacovo scored the equalizer in the final minute; other scorers were Sundin and Tucker – with the crowd of a couple hundred calling out his name, Stumpy was stopped cold by Todd Ford, and his Team A lost the game.
Other random stuff: Brad Brown didn’t impress anyone with a bad giveaway that led directly to an Antropov breakaway – it wasn’t so much the turnover, as the fact that he didn’t show any interest in giving chase. Tomas Kaberle, who has looked best among the defencemen this week, threaded a lovely long pass from his own corner to the opposite blue line, and Brendan Bell tried a similar stratagem that would’ve worked beautifully if his two teammates hadn’t have collided with each other trying to get it. Some nice stops by Belfour too, during his stint in goal – but he also would’ve been called for a penalty on one play where he came out into the corner to play the puck out of trouble (so far this week, the referees in scrimmages are in most cases only telling the players when they would have incurred a penalty). If the whole point of this is to get ready for the season, why is Belfour bothering with that stuff?
That’s about it for now. We’ll be back Later. Or maybe ToMoro.