Writing in the third person is always a bear when it comes to this whole "FTF Staff" business, so let's just cut the chatter and get to Plank and TCY's observations.
The buzz surrounding Nick Petrecki is well-deserved, and he looks to be making a strong case for a starting role in San Jose. Picked his spots well when jumping into the play, and put one home top corner from the circles off a flubbed point shot by Pavelski. Very good positionally. Didn't see too much physicality from him, which is expected during an intersquad, but he obviously has no issues laying on the body. Really impressed.
The other young defensemen weren't as active, they were all pretty much silent on the night. Loprieno made some poor reads, Demers was basically invisible, and although Moore had some nice hits, they were dirtier than anything else (i.e. hit for the sake of hitting). Joslin was quiet, but he looked the most comfortable out there. That's pretty much been his MO. Last night was like last season, he didn't draw attention good or bad. He just played solid fundamental hockey.
The difference between Petrecki and Joslin is interesting, because it's pretty much the opposite of what we've been fed as they came up through the system. Petrecki was billed as a stay at home guy while Joslin was a powerplay QB who had a nice shot. Although Joslin got some good shots in on Statlock and Greiss, it was Petrecki who impressed with his offensive ability. He was out there for big minutes on the power play (which is to be expected when it's 7 minutes long), but he usually went out with the Marleau - Pavelski - Clowe line. He was moving around, distributing the puck well, and calling for shots from the point. Really mature for his age, even though he had trouble keeping the puck in the zone on occasion. Joslin impressed with his defensive acumen, which was much better than what we saw in the Calder Cup Playoffs, where he played horrible D. I think either one is a safe pick for the sixth D spot (Petrecki is our pick at this point), and the other should get playing time in the AHL as opposed to being scratched.
When his team went on the power play, Clowe was camped on the sideboards just like the end of last year. Pavelski was in front. Not sure what the coaching staff is thinking here. Hopefully he migrates to the more tumultuous waters in front of the net before visions of 07-08 Joe Thornton begin to crop up again.
Kent Huskins likes to jump into the play as we have mentioned before, and it's still uncertain how he and Boyle will fare (if that ends up being the pairing) considering they both seem to be cut from the same cloth. It may take them awhile to get acclimated together in order to reduce the amount of risks taken in the offensive zone.
Came in skeptical of Dandenault, didn't leave with anything that would cause a change of mind. Had some trouble with mobility on the blueline and finding shooting lanes, a definite no-no for a guy known for his offensive capabilities. Safe money is on him being released, unless they want to give one of Joslin/Petrecki playing time in Worcester. Then he's your likely scratch.
Frazer McLaren loved heading to the net, and got called for goaltender interference. Bogus call really, Greiss pushed out beyond his crease and initiated contact. Anyways, he was a noticeable presence for the majority of the night and could be shaping up to be an injury call up or even find his way onto the roster. Sported a whopper of black eye too. We'd like to give some props to mymclife here- she thought he would be a good fit all the way back in late April.
Best shift of the night came from McGinn, Couture, and Staubitz. They cycled the puck well and generated multiple scoring chances in the minute or so they spent in the attacking zone. Liked all three of those guys last night, especially McGinn. Looks like he'll have a solid year.
Focusing on Couture, he looks pretty solid out there. Had some skating issues (Yeah, we know it's been rehashed over and over, but he did have some problems changing direction to defend in the neutral zone), but impressed with his vision and passing. We were discussing that we'd be comfortable with him on the third line and chipping in some PK time. He picked pockets all night, and was solid behind the net. Although he didn't register a point (which will likely bring out the "Couture is a bust" birds again), he had one of the better games. Now that Malhotra is on the team, it's less likely that Couture will get a full time gig, even though he may deserve it. All in all, it's good that he will get some time to hone his skills in the AHL, but he looks like he's getting closer to a full time NHL gig.
At the end of the game Brian Boitano made an appearance for the shootout. Fans picked the players who would go, and while the wish of your humble authors to give Douglas Murray a chance never materialized, Jody Shelley got the nod and roofed one in the process. Rocket Richard potential right there.
The Event Staff handed out posters when you entered The Tank, and the joke around our section was that they photoshopped Marleau in at the last minute. There's two players in every corner except for his, with Patty sandwiched between Setoguchi and Blake.
- For those unaware of how Teal & White is set up, it's basically two 30 minute halves with a running clock. Both sides receive a seven minute power play session during the 60 minute session(teal in the first half, white in the second). Shifts take place as they would normally and everything else remains the same- basically a high profile scrimmage.
- The team hopefuls saw a good amount of shifts, and that's going to be the general focus here- no need to drone on and on about guys everyone has seen over the last couple years.
Thomas Greiss didn't have a very good night. He only let in one goal (about a minute into the game), but was definitely fighting the puck on the majority of shots he faced. Not a whole lot of post to post quickness, and wasn't doing himself any favors with his stickwork either. Came out and misplayed a puck near the circles maybe 15 or so minutes in that nearly ended up in the back of the net, and was never able to help the breakout. Didn't like much of anything from him.
Tyson Sexsmith on the other hand had a very good night. Played all sixty minutes for the white squad, and seemed very comfortable back there. Utilized the pokecheck effectively and was very explosive when moving post to post. Butterfly city, which was a strange (and pleasantly surprising) site to see in net for San Jose. Another plus was his passing, he was deft with the puck and moved it up ice well.
- Obviously goaltending is a fickle thing, and it's entirely possible Greiss was just simply off last night. Let's not rush to hasty conclusions here- it's only one scrimmage game. However, if the respective performances at T&W were a good indication of what to expect, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sexsmith (contingent upon him playing well in Worcester to start the year) get called up during the season for some starts, with Wilson utilizing their two-way contracts to make it work. He seems like the better netminder at this juncture.
Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments, and be sure to read idunno's Fanpost for more information.