Some photos and tidbits from today. I'll try to work everything into one post.
Riley Holzapfel. You'd be smiling too if you were on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk.
Speaking of which, I tried to get a photo of Holzapfel, Stoesz and Kovalchuk together, but failed. The best I could do is just Stoesz and Kovy in silhouette. I was able to watch Stoesz a bit today, he does look much smoother in his skating. He's relaxed enough to joke around on the ice too. One time he pretended to still dribble a puck after Exelby had tipped it very neatly off his stick.
Paquette, on the other hand, looks choppy in his stride. I interviewed him afterward -- his English is better than expected. Fine really. One funny thing was when I asked about the injury at Traverse City just to clarify. He pointed at his butt and said, "let's say legs."
In case you wondered what language Kovy was swearing in these days, it's definitely English. He was raring to go in a drill against Enstrom, lost control of the puck, and swore rather loudly.
Brett Sterling chatting up Grant Stevenson.
A tete-a-tete between Kulda and Oystrick. Kulda is back to his original stick, by the way. The Modry one didn't work out. An equipment rep was around after practice today. Machacek was talking sticks, Thorburn was talking skates.
Valabik and Crabb chat while stretching. Valabik has the same spot in the main locker room that he had at the end of last season. That certainly bodes well for him. Those lower on the totem pole are in an auxilliary locker room down the hall.
Crabb must have said something funny as he got up, since he left Valabik laughing.
I chatted with Crabb today for a bit myself . Since he's an Alaskan, I asked him what he knew about Sarah Palin. He didn't know much more than the rest of us. He said his parents have a cabin on a lake in the little town of Wassila that Palin was mayor of. A lot of fishing happens there.
Lastly, Toby Enstrom. Still no Zach Bogosian today.
Junior Lessard's hair is red, red, red. He was icing his left thigh after practice.
Paul Postma will play in the rookie games in Nashville, then has a flight back to Calgary scheduled for Wednesday. He's supposed to arrive at 4:45 and his Hitmen (WHL) have a game at 7:00. If all goes well, he'll be playing in it. They really need him since one of his fellow defensemen asked for a trade and that's still pending. He should get an absolute ton of ice time this year.
Ondrej Pavelec is very close to changing his number to #31. The #33 he's been wearing was a number that was given to him at his first camp with the Thrashers. He talked about changing it last year, but didn't bother because he was going back down to Chicago soon. This week he's talked to the equipment managers about making the change, but needs to decide for sure. He likes #31, especially because he was born on Aug. 31, but also talked today about the possibility of #34 (because it sounds good). Bottom line, I asked, do you think there will be a #31 jersey in your locker in your first preseason game? "I think so," he said as he tried on some new skates. There too, he's debating -- CCMs or Bauers -- but "probably CCM," he said.
Stats of the day: The practice ice temperature is set at 17 degrees, the rink air temperature at 50 degrees, and the humidity at 40 percent. All of this information from Al Blevins, rink manager.
"Weigh out!" is strength and conditioning coach Ray Bear's reminder as players scatter for the day. In other industries, if they weighed you upon leaving, it would be because they thought you were stealing things.