All right, here we go again, its the day #4 development camp report. As usual the players divided into 2 groups for the 9-10 practice and then reunited as a group of 25 for the 10:30-12 practice. The drills were generally the same as previous days, but with a few new ones added in.
9:00AM-10:00AM- I decided to watch the group featuring Locke, Lambert, etc and the goaltenders. The group started off with a new drill which I hadn’t seen them practice before, a figure 8 drill where each player would perform a skating figure-8 in each zone (defensive, neutral, offensive). Flood and Archer impressed me with the effortless style of their skating. Lambert took a fall during the drill but was otherwise pretty good.
The next skating drill was conducted in pairs of 2 (racing) with the players skating in various different styles as instructed by the staff; one of the most awkward skating styles performed was when the players were told to skate on one leg (simulating an injured leg in a game situation?) from one end to the other, the most impressive skaters in that sequence of drills were Ferland, Archer, Lambert and Lapierre, each of them won 6 straight “races” across the ice against their opponents.
Next up was the elastic ropes for power skating practice. As usual the players started out tied to the bench, the next exercise with the rope was one that hadnt been used before, 4 players were tied between 2 ropes at centre ice, and each player had to pull the group in their assigned direction, Locke and Ferland showed impressive strength, Locke easily pulled players twice his size.
10:00AM-10:30AM- Intermission between practices. The zambonis cleaned the ice before the players could return. During the intermission I had a chance to meet HW prospect editor Dan Linn, we chatted until the next practice began, nice guy.
10:30AM-12:00PM- The group of 25 reassembles for offensive drills, the usual odd man rushes and such. Next came a surprise, a group of players were given dark-blue jerseys, I was thrilled, finally the group would scrimmage… Or so I thought, the group ended up not scrimmaging but playing short mini 3 on 3 games in one zone, it wasnt a scrimmage, but the players did get a chance to play physically, and O’Byrne was the most physical of all. Kostitsyn scored a few goals and even threw a hit while playing on the defensive side of the 3 on 3’s. Danis continues to be the dominating goalie at the camp, while Lindberg remains impressive, and Halak and Lacasse have showed signs of improvement over the past few days of camp.
12:00PM- I decide to wait for the players to leave the arena, I catch up with Dan Linn again and we chat some more, I also met Mike Wyman from http://insidehockey.com/. We all chatted for a good 30 minutes while the players, managment and media left the building, among those who walked by were Andre Savard, Bob Gainey, Claude Julien, TSN’s Michael Whalen, and of course all of the prospects.
J.Ferland: His skating has improved alot since he was drafted, when he was drafted skating was his weakness, right now I would say skating is not a problem for Ferland. He is very strong on his skates, he has very good balance, he also shows his strength in the corners, he wins more battles then he loses. He has a nice mix of skills.
G.Stewart: He is tall but needs to fill out his frame. He needs to work more on the offensive side of his game, his skating is above average, but his shot is nothing great. He looks very good in defensive drills, he will both use the stick and play physical to break up plays.
Oskari Korpikari: He looks bigger then his listed size of 6’1 198lb, he looks like his body is filled out. Oskari has been one of the surprises of camp, he has had a very strong camp. He’s a good skater (forwards and backwards) with a nice stride and tops out at a good speed. He’s known as a defensive-D but he does have offensive skills, Oskari can make very crisp hard breakout passes, and his shots usually hit the net.
My camp D Rankings
3)Oskari Korpikari (#1-3 is very close)
Urquhart, Kostitsyn, Korpikari and Archer.
The coach giving instructions
Urquhart playing with some loose pucks
Danis waiting to get back in nets
Off they go, until tomorrow…