Maurice had specific praise for defenseman Anton Babchuk, who appeared leaner from his first day in town and backed that up with his performance on the ice. Along with fellow blue-liner Tim Gleason, he was responsible for a few big hits that are seldom seen from veteran players this early in camp.
“He was one of the guys that brought a certain physicality and definitely an intensity,” said Maurice of Babchuk, who spent last season playing in Russia. “He’s worked hard, because he was in good shape and was able to drive right through that practice and close the gap.
“I think we all remember the last two and a half months of his regular season when he was here that he and (Joni) Pitkanen made a great pair and played against the other team’s best, and that was the best hockey I had seen,” Maurice continued. “Watching him in practice today, he looks even more powerful than he was then and more confident.”