Newly acquired defenseman Steve Eminger made his presence felt early on and Claude Giroux dazzled on a penalty shot, as Team Snider defeated Team Barber, 6-2, to open the much awaited training camp in front of a mass of fans and media at the Virtua Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey.
For those not familiar, the Clarke Cup is a mini tournament set up by the organization to build cohesiveness between certain players and give the fans something to watch other than drills. The entire training camp roster is broken into four teams, Team Snider, Team Barber, Team Allen and Team Parent, and the teams play a round robin tournament that concludes on Sunday.
After basic drills on one rink, the Flyers moved to a second rink to begin the scrimmage. Eminger laid a big hit early on, that had the press box scrambling to find out who number 26 was. But he wasn’t done. Midway through the second period on a 4-on-4, Eminger streaked into the slot where his teammate, Scott Hartnell dished him the puck from the near corner. Eminger corralled the pass and sniped a wrister past Biron.
It was Team Barber’s only regulation goal.
Giroux, a member of Team Snider and on a line with Jon Kalinski and Steve Downie, flashed his quickness all game. But his big moment was on a penalty shot when he faked forehand and backhand in a triple deke motion, eventually burying the puck past goaltender Scott Monroe with a backhand. It was the play of the game.
Also looking good was Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and relatively unknown defenseman Jason DeSantis. The Richards – Gagne – Danny Briere line struggled to move the puck to start the game, but each player individually put stats on the board. The Briere to wing experiment seemed to struggle initially. Gagne did not show any signs of injury, as he flew all over the ice at top speed. He was not hit however.
The Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell, Glen Metropolit line was the most impressive for Team Barber. Metropolit was skating well and the line kept possession of the puck in the opposite zone more than any other line of the scrimmage.
Notes from the locker room:
Ossi Vaananen and Kimmo Timonen could be seen chatting it up in Finnish. They seemed to have a good rapport and were laughing and cracking some jokes.
There are two different locker rooms, one for mostly Phantoms and one for Flyers. Giroux’s locker was with the Flyers.
Maxime Ouelett had a locker in the dead middle of the room. His belongings included an orange Nike hat and a shaving kit.
J.S Aubin’s name tag was up on a locker, but was completely empty.
Briere played a joke on young defenseman Ryan Parent. Parent must have asked for a new set of shoulder pads because at his locker, Briere dropped off a brand new pair. The only problem was they were fitted for a child. When Parent saw the pads he laughed out loud and made sure it was a joke and not the equipment manager making a stupid mistake.
Something seemed to be eating Scottie Upshall. He walked to his locker stone faced and upon sitting down, sank his head and threw his elbow pad behind him. He changed his jersey and walked back out.
Briere got the media riled up by stating that he thought Gagne had taken a hit in the scrimmage. Gagne was around 30 minutes later than any other player coming out of the trainers room which made it believable that he may have been undergoing something more serious than a rub down. Gagne eventually showed and made clear that he did NOT take a hit in the scrimmage. He did say that in an unofficial practice he collided with someone and the two crashed heads. He felt fine afterwards.