Battle of Alberta Warm-up: Battle of the Wannabes

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Hockey in Mid-September. I'm not complaining, but it sure feels...foreign. The big boys have been in camp for a grand total of three days now, so expect a lot of rookies, names you vaguely recognize and less than cohesive play to dominate this evening. On both sides of the rink.

Pre-season is often taken a lot more seriously by die-hard fans than it is by the decision-makers behind the bench. For starters, individual results matter a lot more than game results. Secondly, individual results don't matter all that much. You'll often hear talk around the cooler or on fan messageboards about how a players having great camps could make the squad. This is probably false about 95% of the time - coaches and GM's aren't likely to be swayed to that degree by a few exhibition games against what is often less than NHL competition. Only players whom have already been earmarked as "near NHL ready" or battling for an obvious gap on the parent squad (say, 7th defenseman) can do themselves a favor by having a notable training camp.

That said, it's still fun to watch the kids, especially those who are taking their first steps at this level. Dustin Boyd stuck out like a sore thumb to me during his first pre-season action a couple of years ago (in a good way) so sometimes a future NHLer can pop up on the radar even if he's not quite ripe.

At the time of writing this, no official roster had been posted for either team. I'll append the article with correct line-ups once I track them down. That said, here's the Sun's best guess based on practice lines:

Nigel Dawes-Dustin Boyd-David Moss
Eric Nystrom-Garth Murray-Brandon Prust
Kyle Greetree-Jamie Lundmark-Kris Chucko
Colin Stuart-Jason Jaffray-Cam Cunning

Staffan Kronwall-Adam Pardy
Anton Stralman-Matt Pelech
John Negrin-Brett Palin

Leland Irving (educated guess on my part)

Lots of AHL fodder. Guys who have an outside chance to crack the squad at some point during the year include Greentree, Jaffray, Chucko (I guess), Palin and Stralman. Matt Pelech is one to watch as well. It'll be interesting to see how the de facto first line does: depending on how things develop, Dawes-Boyd-Moss could be a real combination come the regular season.

For those unaware, the game isn't televised but can be probably be viewed via one or both of the team's official sites online. (Added by Robert: You can watch the game on the two teams' websites, but apparently you have to reside in the TV footprint, so basically from Alberta to Manitoba)

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