Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rats hit the ice

Coach Jeff Daniels talks strategy
(Photo from River Rats' facebook)

Two coaches, two goalies and 18 skaters hit the ice today for the first session of the River Rats' training camp at the R.P.I. Houston Field House in Troy.

A handful of players, Justin Peters, Steven Goertzen, Bryan Rodney and Drayson Bowman, did not participate. The first three, along with Bowman's equipment, are apparently still en route from Carolina.

In addition, Brandon Sutter, Zach Boychuk, Michael Ryan, Pat Dwyer, Jamie McBain and Jay Harrison remain at training camp with the Hurricanes.

The Rats that were on the ice experienced a heck of a workout.

Heavy skating was clearly on the agenda. Drills involving end-to-end break-outs and odd-man rushes lasted roughly 45 minutes. By the time shooting drills rolled along, most of the players were visibly winded.

Mike Murphy poke-checks a pass by Jonathan Paiement

The team appeared to be in good spirits.

There was a decent amount of on-ice chatter, communicative, friendly and analytical. While waiting in line, players could be seen discussing technique and occasionally joking around. Hoots and hollers could be heard after pretty goals and big saves.

As usual, assistant coach Geordie Kinnear was giving hands-on instruction to the defensemen.

Jonathan Paiement was one of several to ask Kinnear for some pointers. The two chatted for a minute or so while the rest of the team was breaking.

A few players had to clear out some cobwebs before finding their rhythm, but those fresh from camp in Carolina looked extra sharp, Brett Carson in particular.

We were unable to stay for the end, but all-in-all it appeared to be a good first day.

The team hits the ice again tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at the the Knickerbocker Arena in Troy.

The River Rats' website has more.