MOLINE, IL – The last additions to the Quad City Mallards’ training camp roster have been completed until the AHL Chicago Wolves send players down. Josh MacDonald, Justin Kovacs, and Sam Warning have returned to the Mallards, appearing in the second session of camp on Monday sans helmet numbers.
Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Hyka, as well as Alex Tuch, Vadim Shipachyov, and Shea Theodore were assigned to the Wolves throughout the day on Tuesday. While Shipachyov won’t be in Rosemont for long based on that salary, the other names probably will be. What does that mean for the Mallards? More cuts, of course, and additional player assignments as a domino effect works its way through the entire system.
After training camp on Tuesday, forward and player/assistant coach Jamie Tardif said:
“You know, with 32 guys here at training camp, so obviously there will have to be some cuts made, but I think everything’s going great. The drills are good, with the two groups, it gives the guys a lot of ice time, a lot of touches, and a lot of things to show Phil what they can do. I’m extremely happy so far.”
From speaking to several of the players, the most common answer to why they decided to come to the Mallards involved head coach Phil Axtell.
“Well, a lot of it was just talking with Phil and feeling very comfortable. He’s a great coach, great leader, and I feel very comfortable with following where he wants to go, that ultimately is a championship,” defenseman Kyle Bigos said.
Kris Joyce, who had attended the Wolves’ camp last week along with the Los Angeles Kings’ rookie and development camps, also added:
“Obviously the new affiliation with Vegas (was a factor,) just seemed like a really good spot with not much depth in goaltending, so a really good opportunity for me, and I’m really happy to be here.”
The passing is the crispest I’ve seen in many years, even towards the end of the season when players should be most attuned to the others. In past seasons, I’ve complained about the less-than-stellar passing skills of some of the players, which has been solved partially by those players no longer being on the team. However, that didn’t stop new players from picking up the habit. Thankfully that seems to have worked itself out.
Garrett Klotz, the most recent acquisition from the Norfolk Admirals, has some very concrete goals for this season.
“I’d like to put up some goals. I’d like to put up at least ten goals, ten assists, at least 20 points, maybe 200 penalty minutes, a couple fights. I’m looking to do a little bit of everything this season,” the veteran forward said.
Nine days stand between the home opener against the Toledo Walleye and the present. Joyce sums up the schedule rather well.
“I’m sure next week will be ramped up more towards regular weekday practices and getting ready for our game, so it’s exciting, kind of sucks that you have to wait another two weeks to play another game, but it’s good.”
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