Thursday, September 17, 2009

Training Camp 09: Day One and Only

Training Camp is a lot like the "Deleted Scenes" feature of a DVD... you get excited about watching them at first... but then you realize there is a reason that scenes are deleted from a film... they usually suck. So as I was driving down to El Segundo to watch my first Los Angeles Kings training camp since the Gretzky years... I had visions of fireworks, dancing girls and an all night party going on in my head. But once I arrived and checked out Training Camp... I remembered that it is pretty much like this:

"and now the right leg for 45 seconds..."

Since I am currently "funemployed" and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy is his own boss... we decided to check out the training camp sessions Wednesday morning. And all we saw was this:

Ever since I broke up with Rachel...
I don't feel like I can skate with anyone.

That's right, we saw 27 year old arthritis sufferer, Jarret Stoll, skating by his lonesome out on the ice. In a way... this was probably a good thing as Stoll hasn't participated much in camp and seeing him out skating was a move in the right direction. But I will say... when you google image search "arthritis sufferer"... this is the first thing that comes up:

Not exactly my idea of a 2nd line center.

So after Stoll used his walker to get off the ice, out came the 1st group for Training Camp... now was our chance to see Ryan Smyth, Rob Scuderi, Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar and the rest of the "young gun" Kings... up close and personal.

Hmm, these are all high jersey numbers and I'm not seeing "94" anywhere around them.

That's right, I sat in traffic on the 110 and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy left work early so we could check out Group B! Or as I like to call them "all the guys that were going to be cut or sent back to Juniors by the end of the day." Actually, this was a great opportunity to see all of the young promising skaters with big potential in the organization... and to also see Kevin Westgarth.

Oh my lord... Westgarth is a douche. He is the kind of player that annoys the fuck out of you when you play with them. Little to no actual talent... but first guy to say "come on, boys!" and yell motivation towards you during drills. Maybe it's because Kevin was the most experienced NHL player on the ice during this session (unless you count Scott Parse who was drafted in 2004... has this guy been a prospect for like 5 years now?).

So ignoring Westgarth... there were some impressive players out on the ice. Juraj Mikus looked very solid in controlling the puck. Brayden Schenn looked worthy of being a first round draft pick. Justin Azevedo had the passion (and size) of Cammalleri in him.

But a couple others stood out... for not-so-good reasons: Andrew Campbell is tall and lanky... but not much else. And I had high hopes to see Colton Teubert out there... but he seemed outmatched each shift. Except when he went against Westgarth. And Jeff Zatkoff looked like he was ready to continue the Kings tradition of shitty goaltenders.

Also, it seems that the Kings organization had a hard time trying to remember which hemisphere they were in... so they had jackets created for their coaching staff (this was also discovered by the great Rudy Kelly in the comments over at BoC):

LA Kings. Western. Hockey. (Not Eastern)

The session ended and we headed out. Sure, it would have been cool to stick around for the next session with the real pros... but we'll watch them in 2 weeks when it counts. But we did get to see the re-retiring of the jerseys of a couple of Kings legends:

It was incredibly rude. None of the players stood and tapped their sticks as the Jerseys of Rogie Vachon and Wayne Gretzky went back up on the wall after being sent out for dry-cleaning. By the way... if anyone knows which dry cleaner they took these to, let me know, I need to get my over sized Chris Kontos and Todd Elik jerseys cleaned up... but only at a place that is Eco-Friendly!

This was a good warm up for me and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy as we polished up our uncanny ability to make jokes at the expense of the players of the Los Angeles Kings. But as I was walking out the door to head home... I saw the biggest joke of all:

Oh, Jamie Storr, the #7 overall pick of the 1994 draft. I always wondered what happened to you.

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