It was a busy weekend for the Carolina Hurricanes as they had another two-session practice along with a mini-scrimmage on Saturday, then played a full scrimmage in front of a large, boisterous crowd on Sunday at the PNC Arena.
Zach Boychuk scored twice in the scrimmage on Saturday, once when he stole a blind pass made by Kevin Westgarth, the next time as he battled his way past the defense, with someone all over him. Boychuk says that he has worked hard this offseason and is ready to prove critics wrong.
If he keeps playing like he is, it will be tough to send him to Charlotte.
Boychuk's two goals were enough as "Team Eric" beat "Team Jordan", 2-1. Jeff Skinner had the only goal for "Group B" when he broke into the clear and made an open move on net.
There was not as much physicality in this scrimmage as the one on Friday, but it was very competitive.
Sunday's official Red-White scrimmage was in front of an estimated crowd of 9,000 plus.
Drayson Bowman got the scoring started early when he made a goal at the doorstep of Cam Ward when Alexander Semin made a perfect set up pass. (Bowman had taken Jiri Tlusty's spot, who was sitting this one out. Tlusty has been out since the awkward hit by Brendan Woods in Friday's scrimmage.)
Zac Dalpe tied things up when he was set up by Jeff Skinner on an odd man rush, but the red team would score twice more, one time by Semin off a nice feed by Chris Terry and the last one by Eric Staal from Bowman.
Coach Muller was happy with the effort after the game and was also pleased that the veterans took the game over. Semin and Staal were dominating at times, just as they were for much of last season.
Muller also noted that while he was happy with several of the players battling for open spots, the true test would come in the upcoming exhibtion games.
"The key will be the preseason games," said the coach.
- Jared Staal has been finishing his checks all training camp and Tim Gleason has been on the receiving end of many of them. Gleason apparently took exception to one and went to challenge the younger Staal at the end of the first period. After the game, Gleason had praise for Staal and said that is what the team needs more of. Muller was happy to see the blueliner riled up and said, "Gleason needs to play with an edge."
- Muller also had praise for Chris Terry and Bowman. Terry took turns playing with Semin and Staal, as did Bowman.
- Ryan Murphy showed a quick step and skated the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone smoothly.
- Boychuk hit the post on one scoring chance and was a bit of a pest. He continues to make his presence known.
- Overall, the goaltending looked good as most of the goals scored were set up nicely and were not cheap ones.
- Sergey Tolchinsky and Trevor Carrick were both returned to their junior teams. Tolchinsky did not play in any scrimmages because of a sore knee he suffered while playing in Traverse City.
- This contest was tightly checked for the most part and well defended and there were few breakaways or odd-man rushes. Although, Eric Staal did break into the clear once while short-handed but Mike Murphy shut the door as the captain tried a deke move.
- Muller said the team would begin working more on systems as they prepare for this week's preseason games.