Team Red 4 – 2 Team White (4pm-5:30pm)
A horde of hockey-hungry fans swarmed the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, QC on Saturday for an afternoon scrimmage between 40 hopeful Habs rookies. Parking lot attendants were even hired in to usher the stream of cars into what scarce parking spots remained. Within the practice facility, young-faced prospects and tryouts took to the ice as the crowd welcomed them with a respectable cheer.
The 40 prospects were split into two squads of 20, each with a typical NHL makeup of 12 forwards, 6 defencemen, and 2 goalies. Team Red would go on to defeat Team White by a score of 4-2.
Sherbrooke, QC native Jeremy Gregoire scored the game’s opening goal for Team Red. Laval’s own Jonathan Narbonne continued the hometown goal-scoring trend when he potted the game’s second goal on a penalty shot.
In an interesting twist, penalty shots were awarded in place of penalties for entertainment value. Furthermore, they were run similar to free throws in basketball where the rest of the players can jump into the play if the shot misses the net. While the shooter starts from the traditional centre ice position, the other nine skaters line up on the blueline behind him and chase into the offensive zone as the shooter makes his way into the offensive zone in attempt to score.
There were three penalty shots total, with Narbonne scoring on his for Team Red and Michael McCarron deking out Zach Fucale for Team White’s second and final marker of the game. Michael Bournival flunked his penalty shot opportunity for Team Red, the only miss of the night.
Tanner Eberle and Christian Thomas also scored for Team Red while Stephen MacAulay had the only other goal for Team White.
Goaltenders Peter Delmas and Zach Fucale got the win for Red, while Michael Condon and Festarini suffered the loss for White. The goalies split net duty, with a change midway through the second period. Condon was beat early and often by Team Red, allowing three goals in the first period to put Team White behind. Fucale, Festarini, and Delmas each allowed a goal each.
The biggest save of the game came in the second period when Delmas absolutely robbed Habs’ 2013 first round pick Michael McCarron right at the mouth of the crease.
Player Notes & Analysis
LW Tanner Eberle
Played with an edge throughout the scrimmage and proved he wants to make the most of this weekend at the Habs rookie camp. For a forward listed at 5’9, 170lbs, his physical play was surprising. Eberle laid thunderous body checks on two defenders (Nygren and Dietz if memory serves), and built up enough confidence to lean into 6’6 Jarred Tinordi twice in the third period. I admired his tenacity and look forward to seeing if he can maintain his intensity through Sunday and Monday.
C Jeremy Gregoire
One of the better skaters at camp, Gregoire used his speed to place himself in scoring positions throughout the scrimmage. Drafted this year, 176th overall, it’s noteworthy that he’s already one of the more impressive attendees having celebrated his 18th birthday just two days ago.
RW Sven Andrighetto
As one of the smaller forwards with a height of 5’9, Andrighetto counts on foot speed and goal-scoring for success. While he missed a few chances to bury the puck during the scrimmage, he showed signs of why the Habs took a chance by making the 20-year-old an overage pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He will likely start the season in Hamilton, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he received a call up to the NHL at some point this year.
LW Michael Bournival
As mentioned earlier, he was the only player to miss on his penalty-shot opportunity. I haven’t quite figured out what the hype is on him yet. To his credit, his biggest move of the night was a nifty deke that evaded the Connor Crisp express at open ice. If Crisp had connected, it would have been the hit of the night and sent Bournival into next Tuesday. In 69 games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs last year, he picked up 10 goals and 30 points. It’s an average haul and he will need to improve on that to maintain his position within the Canadiens’ organization.
C Connor Crisp
He hit everything that moved, or at least he tried to (re: Bournival). The 6’3, 223lbs forward made his presence felt when he was able to catch his prey against the boards. Unfortunately, his ability to put the body on opponents was diminished due to speed issues. He has some work to do before Montreal can enjoy his physical presence at the NHL level.
D Jarred Tinordi
What’s there to say? He played a calm, safe game. He showed veteran presence on the ice and negated offensive opportunities with effective simplicity. I’ve seen him break up plays with the use of his stick in both the on-ice training sessions and during the scrimmage.
D Nathan Beaulieu
He was guilty at times of overplaying the puck and trying to do too much on the ice. It wouldn’t be outrageous to suggest that he learn a few lessons from P.K. Subban’s development. While he has the talent to become an offensive defenceman at the NHL level, he need not rush it. It’s not easy for a young man with a taste for the NHL to practice patience, but I believe this will be the best route for the 20-year-old. May have overstayed a shift or two during the scrimmage as well.
On-Ice Testing (9am-10:30am)
The second day of on-ice sessions for the Habs Rookie Camp in Brossard, QC began with a series of tests that ran from 9am to 10:30am. Both ice surfaces at the Bell Sports Complex were rigged with a number of devices to record raw data, such as video and speed, on each of the 40 players. The information gathered will help evaluate the players and determine where there might be room for improvement. For tryouts, some of the data collected may help or hurt their chances of being signed.
The small crowd of spectators that did make it out were treated to some tests that pushed players to their limits. In particular, a bag-skate like test had pairs of two skaters make their way up and down the length of the ice for three minutes. Each lap was followed by a 10 second break, but it was barely enough time to catch a breath. By the end of it, most players were bent-over, thankful it was over.
Since the tests were being conducted over both ice surfaces simultaneously, I couldn’t watch all of the players. However, I did manage to capture some video footage to give you an idea of the test courses: