Howdy, folks. Sorry for the delay in the post – but at least this way we can combine the two days of story lines.
The big news from Tuesday morning was, of course, the arrival of Colin Smith, Sam Miletic and Ethan Prow. I talked to Smith; here’s the link to the main crux of our conversation. He said he is healthy now and sounded somewhat frustrated by how the summer turned out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come out blazing-hot to start the year.
Then the afternoon’s big news was the wave of cuts from Pittsburgh, featuring all the names fans from last year will be familiar with.
So, rejoice! You get to see Daniel Sprong, Zach Aston-Reese and Adam Johnson all in action for the time being.
Obviously, I don’t think it stays that way the entire year. Sprong will almost undoubtedly get a call to Pittsburgh at some point no matter, and you can seemingly count on the injury bug to hit Pittsburgh at some point. Still, think about the firepower that is currently on this team. Sprong may need a few games to get going after being out of the pro level for so long, but we’re all aware of his talent. Aston-Reese seems like the total package of offensive awareness and toughness.
And even if they do get promoted at some point, you have Christian Thomas, Colin Smith, Dom Simon and a wave of other players that can help fill the void. Life is good at Coal Street.
Other notes from practice:
As I tweeted at one point, new assistant coach Tim Army was really getting on the guys during one of the drills. What I liked, though, was it wasn’t yelling for the sake of yelling. It was constructive criticism with a quick explanation of what the mistakes where; and the players responded well after.
Another interesting tidbit: I caught a quick glimpse of the team’s season goal sheet hanging outside the locker room and jotted a few of them down.
Among the most prevalent are win at least 46 games, be top-five in the league in both power play and penalty kill, score at least 3.15 goals per game, allow 2.3 goals against or fewer per game, record 7-11 shutouts and, not surprisingly, make the playoffs.
Which brings us to tonight’s preseason game; there was no lineup set as of the end of practice yesterday. However, I imagine you’ll see a lot of the fringe guys fighting to stick around for the coveted final spots on the ice. Especially with the camp roster on the verge of hitting 50 or so – I don’t know if there are that many lockers at the SportsPlex.
But anyway, follow along with me on Twitter if you can’t make it there. Much like the players, tonight will be a good test for me getting into game shape writing-wise.