Weekend Preparation – 10/29

Good morning from the GC.

About 3/4 of the team hit the ice early today (as they often do) for some – what the coaching staff calls – “skills work”.  There are three nets (one at each end and one right against the referee’s half-circle against the penalty box side) and each coach takes a group of players for some skating, passing and shooting drills.  This is more of a one-on-one session that players can’t get during a normal one-hour practice that involves more system work.

By early, I mean 9:15 am.  Like, 45 minutes before practice.

Development coach Olie Kolzig is in town and is spending some time on the ice with the youthful corps of players.  Assistant coach Bryan Helmer is working on one end on some shooting drills, while assistant coach Ryan Murphy is putting some players through some in-tight skating around cones with shooting at the third net.

I’d be interested to get the thoughts on our two veteran goaltenders, who spend the time out there as well.  Ultimately, some of these days turn into 2+ hours of being in practice gear.  It has to be something new and rigorous for them, but at the same time, quite helpful and motivating.

The ice gets resurfaced at 9:45 and then is ready for the skate-around and full practice by 10.

It really is something to see.  So is the annual shootout for the pink helmet, which always takes place on the practice day of a road trip.  I’ll have results of that later on today.

Below are two of my favorites from Saturday’s home opener… the 1980 Calder Cup championship team and the 2015-16 squad as they lined up around the center circle.  Good stuff.

JustSports Photography

JustSports Photography

And now for a sneak peak at our 2015-16 team photo….


Yep.  Troy just came off with one of his classics about my hair… or lack thereof.  Could you tell?

Off to Syracuse at 1:00 PM today.  Andrei Vasilevskiy was assigned on conditioning by Tampa Bay yesterday, and his 29 saves helped the Crunch to their third win of the season in a 3-1 decision over the Toronto Marlies.  Guessing we would see him tomorrow… creating a big challenge in moving the Bears’ 18th-ranked offense (which, let’s face it, just needs a bit more time to gel) into the top half of the league.

Then we welcome the St. John’s IceCaps and Lehigh Valley Phantoms to the Den on Saturday and Sunday.  Get your tickets… Sunday is going fast with our first Hersheypark Pass Night.  Great seats remain for Saturday.

More to come.