Thousands of hopeful fans showed up to the United Center yesterday to watch what is essentially a practice. "The national anthem, everyone screaming, it's 10 in the morning, it's just really impressive," is what Steve Mantador had to say . Even Pat Foley had to remind everyone that the sold out crowd had showed up to a practice, adding that he had never seen anything like it in all of his years with the administration.
Kane took a spot on the ice wearing a wrist brace and even Sharp made an appearance to help motivate the crowd to anticipation of fireworks during the fast approaching season of hockey.
Much ado about nothing? Whatever, I appreciate the energy and do anticipate great things. Speaking of energy, this was the day for the plethora of tough, gritty players to show their stuff. But, not there toughness. Rather, what they have to offer in the skills category. According to coach Q, " we expect them to play hockey." Which is good, and I am glad to hear Q speak about what these new faces can bring in their ability to play hockey and not spend time in the penalty box.
Carcillo is the name on everyone's radar. Some with hate in their minds and others with welcome. He is at least playing his words correctly, saying that he is in Chicago because of his will to showcase his skills as a player, and how he is not just a goon.
But the big story, for me anyway, was the performance of Ray Emery. A goalie who by all good reason should not be fighting for a spot on a NHL roster. Based on the reactions of Q and others, we might have just found our back up to CC. “He looked big in the net. He looked very composed and confident as well. I liked his approach going into this camp. We’ll definitely keep an eye on him, but we like what we’re seeing," said Quenneville. In fact, the recent Duck's netminder had a few outstanding saves during the days festivities.
Also on the radar are the most recent acquisitions, David Toews and Brandon Segal. Both moves were somewhat surprising, especially given the already packed house of potentials and timeframe in the offseason.
David Toews, brother to a guy you might have heard of was picked up from the Islanders in exchange for future considerations. 21 years old, he recorded 20 goals and 28 assists in 60 regular season games in the Western Hockey League last year. Don't expect to see much of him this season, but who knows.
Segal was picked up on a 1 year contract from Dallas ( a team who recently declared bankruptcy) . Older, but not that old at 28, he just another added possibility for the 4th line wing.
However, I still see Olesz establishing a place in the regular line-up which might not leave much room.