It was a trip that began in New York for the board of governors' ratification of the new CBA on Jan. 9 and concluded in Los Angeles with the Kings' championship banner raising on Jan. 19. It also included stops in Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Jose, Calif., and Anaheim. OK, so two of those were layovers (sorry, Capitals and Coyotes) but diving into training camp at the outset of CBA ratification was a great way to get an immediate feel for some interesting teams as this season gets going.
Included in those trips were countless conversations with tidbits too short for a blog post but too insightful to leave in the reporter's notepad for eternity.
So with apologies to Elliotte Friedman, whose 30 thoughts are a must-read every week, here are 20 thoughts and observations from the training camp tour. Friedman's got the Big Mac? Here's the Big Mick:
1. Corey Crawford is poised for a bounce-back season. On the day before the Blackhawks' goalie made his season debut, we chatted about just how long it was going to take to get his timing back after the lockout. One period? One game? After beating the Kings Saturday, he said he was locked in midway through the first period. "I was so eager to get that first shot, just to get the feeling back a little bit. I was able to handle a couple pucks back behind the net and that kind of got me into it," Crawford said. "It seemed like I was just glued to the puck all game." Ray Emery started Sunday night in Phoenix and allowed four goals on 29 shots, opening the door for Crawford to seize the starting job, although with a road-heavy early schedule, Chicago will need both playing well.
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