Posted: 4:17 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013
By Brad Gardner
Pack up, it's time to go home.
The Fort Worth component of training camp is over and it's back to Frisco for the team, but three days of workouts and scrimmages have given the coaching staff important information on how to start constructing their lineup.
Saturday's scrimmage featured two NHL caliber lines, often squaring off head to head. For the green squad it was Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole. On the white, Cody Eakin, Ray Whitney and Valeri Nichushkin (not Chiasson, as Ruff proposed yesterday).
On paper it looks like a clear audition for Cody Eakin where the second line is concerned following an impressive showing from him at the Friday session. Benn and company dominated possession in copious head to head time.
One way to take that is that Benn and Seguin are puck possession monsters together. Another way to take it is wondering if Eakin, Whitney and Nichushkin can handle things defensively in the NHL. Nichushkin, in particular, seemed a little lost at times when the other team had the puck.
When he had the puck on his stick, however, it was as-advertised. His third period rocket from between the circles over Nihlstorp's shoulder was something to behold. Graham just happened to catch it on video here:
He knows what to do when he has the puck. When he doesn't... Only time will tell, but the indication was that if Ruff liked what he saw today these lines could be showcased at the American Airlines Center Sunday night.
On the other hand, this was the third game in three days for many of these players. The 18 minute periods and 10-15 minute intermissions made it as game-like as possible today. Fatigue could be a bit of a factor tomorrow afternoon in Dallas.
To keep it all in perspective, however, Jamie Oleksiak scored on a penalty shot. That happened. Perhaps the rest of it will have as much relevance as that does to the eventual NHL action.
Tyler Seguin on playing with Benn: