When we got there Jared Staal, Brett MacLean, Josh Lunden, and Mathieu Brodeur were working with skating coach Mark Ciaccio. It seemed they were working on skating mechanics and turning on a dime. During the practice part, not much happened except Scott Darling absolutely robbed someone on the other side of the ice. See Evgeni Nabokov's glove save: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13FnJwlUCcg for a similar style.
The players then went off as the Zambonis came on to resurface the ice. We went over to sit down on the bleachers and were hanging out when we noticed Maloney down by the garage door to the rink on the phone. He would be on the phone for the next 45 minutes or so non-stop. I wonder who he could have been talking to?
The players came back out and began a Red vs White scrimmage. The goalies cycled through the 2 teams. The Red team had Turris, MacLean, Boedker, Ahnelov, Brodeur, Goncharov, Ferreiro, Uotila, Staal, Perry, and Long. They faced the White team who had Tikhonov, Porter, Kolarik, Summers, Hextall, Lunden, Sullivan, Ross, Reese, Billingsley, Brosnihan, and Frank. Only 2 goals were scored and they were both by the White team with the line of Tikhonov-Porter-and Kolarik on the ice. The first was Tikhonov's goal from Hextall and Reese. Reese threw it down to Hextall down low and he threw it across the crease to Tikhonov who banged it by Darling. The 2nd goal was Kolarik from Tikhonov and was an absolute thread of a pass from the Commie Bastard. The goals were scored within 20 seconds of each other.
The players walked off and handed sticks to kids and we decided to try and go around the back and hang out by the bus where the players would get on. It was awesome as these guys came out fully dressed in their hockey stuff and wearing flip flops. Can you say fashion statement? We told Gistedt that he looked just like Lundqvist out there and played the same way. He thanked us for that very lofty praise and then explained that he had the same goalie coach in Frolunda. I told him that I hope he can turn into Phoenix's Lundqvist. He just laughed and said thank you.
The best moment of the day and quite possibly my newest favorite player is Kyle Turris. We were standing outside and he came out when a little kid ran up and shook his hand asking for a stick. Turris laughed and said he was sorry but the sticks he was holding weren't his and that he had already given his sticks away. He then had a 5 minute conversation with the kid, who was probably about 7 or 8 years old about how Batman was the best comic book character there was. Turris then promised the kid he would give him a stick at training camp and the kid should remind him. He is the nicest player I have met since I met Roenick. He loves signing and hanging out with the kids that come to see him. Guys like him should be the face of the NHL and not Sidney Crosby who doesn't like to sign for people. Turris is number 1 in my book.
Last, but definitely not the least, was Tikhonov who I guess had acquired the name "Russian Idol" since he is raised in the US but from Russia. He was holding up the whole bus and came over and talked to us for a minute. He patted me on the shoulder when I said he was holding up the bus and he pounded my Dad's fist as he wished him luck. The bus rolled out and I threw up a "Number 1" sign with my index finger and all the guys on the bus threw it up as the bus left.
It was truly an extraordinary day and alot of fun. It is amazing how accessible these kids are and how they love talking to people. They love being with the little kids and are definitely a great group of guys. It is too bad there aren't more players like them.
In NHL news, the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded a 4th round draft pick to the Penguins for the exclusive negotiating rights for Gary Roberts and Ryan Malone. Melrose almost certainly wants Roberts for his veteran presence on what will be a young team and Malone will be a good power forward for Stamkos. Not a bad move on their part to try and get these guys.
I have added the link to my Flickr account on the right side so it will be easier for everyone to get to my pictures. We took tons of pictures today so I will put them up when they are edited. Check out Blueshirt Bulletin for a translation of Jagr's press conference from yesterday. Some very interesting stuff in there and all the other links on the side. Stay tuned everyone. July 1st is fast approaching (not fast enough though) and who knows what twists and turns will happen.