Hello all. As mentioned earlier I went to the 11:00 training camp session today and saw Team White.
The first thing I noticed right away was the very up-tempo pace to practice. Guys were pushing hard – much harder than I’ve seen at past camps. Most of the drills were breakout and puck possession drills which were areas where we definitely had a hard time with last season. There were no scrimmages or individual skill drills – everything involved multiple player interactivity.
Its hard to watch everyone with so many people on the ice so I’ll just comment on the guys I really focused on in no particular order:
Kris Russell – this kid continues to impress me with his world class skating ability and silky smooth play. He’s not going to overpower you out there but what he is going to do is out think you, have an active stick and play rock solid positionally. I didn’t see him miss one breakout pass the entire time. He did get checked a couple of times but took them and kept playing as if nothing happened.
Jason Chimera – just picking up where he left off last season. Nobody can match this guy’s speed and the other parts of his game just keep improving. He most certainly looked like he came to camp ready to play and had a very high tempo practice individually.
Michael Peca - newest Jacket on the ice whom I thought had just an “okay” practice. First thing I noticed is this guy isn’t big – his build reminded me of Brule. He and Modin played quite a bit together and had some nice chemistry starting to develop which could be a sign of things to come. His tempo didn’t seem to match some of the other guys though which was a bit surprising. He’s a veteran though on a new team in new facilities and new coaches, so I’m sure it’s just an adjustment period.
Jakub Voracek – newest 1st overall CBJ draft pick finally made his debut in the Ice Haus. First impression was no way this guy makes the team this year. He showed some flashes and had some decent, but certainly not barn-burning, speed but he’ll need to significantly raise his game if he has any hope of cracking the lineup this season. Kid does have some good size. He took a few hits out there, one hard one in particular from Tollefsen, and kept plugging away.
Derick Brassard – first thing I thought of when I saw him, this kid really has a chance to crack the lineup. This guy has great wheels and is very dynamic with the puck. He can make plays at high speed which is something we can certainly use. I thought he had a great practice and looked like one of the elite players out there. I think we’ll see him sometime this season.
Marc Methot – every time I see him he always looks bigger to me. This guy has got some great size and moves very well with it. He’s just a solid defensemen and his confidence out there that he can play at this level seems to grow every time I see him. He was paired w/ Tollefsen for most of the practice. No doubt in my mind we’ll see him plenty on the big team next season.
OK Tollefsen – picked right up where he left off last season. Biggest hits of the practice – OK Tollefsen. Highest motor – OK Tollefsen. toughest all around game – OK Tollefsen. I love this guy’s game and he’s going to take it to another level this season. Looked great out there.
Sergei Fedorov – actually I was very impressed w/ #91 today. His intensity was high, he was ripping slappers, making some good plays w/ the puck, skating hard. He looked completely healthy. Solid first practice for him, lets hope it carries over.
Adam Foote – first thing I noticed was that he did look trimmer as the Dispatch reported this morning. Nothing overwhelming about Foote as this isn’t his first rodeo. Had a solid practice and I don’t know what it was, but you can just tell some of the younger guys follow his lead. Foote gets a drink then its okay for the young guys to get one – that sort of thing. He was paired with Kris Russell for most of the practice.
Fredrik Norrena – looked a little rusty out there and got a little frustrated with some pucks that got behind him. Looked healthy though and more comfortable with his surroundings.
Fredrik Modin – this guy looked incredible out there. He is the best shielder of the puck I have ever seen. Skated well, ripped some nice shots, probably had the prettiest goal of the practice. He looks ready to play tonight. As noted above, he played quite a bit with Peca.
Curtis Glencross – actually liked him out there today. He had some nice intensity, gave and received passed great all practice, made some nice hits (one really good one on Wharton), skating well. He looks like he’s ready to challenge for a roster spot right now.
Gilbert Brule – really liked his game today as well. All practice he was playing physical and skating hard and getting his nose dirty in the corners. Didn’t see many mistakes. Played a lot with Fedorov which could be a sign of things to come. Did take a pretty nasty fall into the boards feet first but popped back up and looked no worse for wear. First signs to me is that this kid came to play this year in camp as if he knows he’s going to have to earn it.
Joel Bouchard – first time seeing him as he’s here on a PTO (pro-try out). Not quite as fast as I thought he’d be but he certainly knew his way around. Thought he saw the ice pretty well. All in all, just an “okay” practice for him I thought.
That is pretty much all I focused on today. No one really stood out as being completely out of their league out there. I loved the intensity and look forward to seeing the Blue Team tomorrow at 11.
I'll try to post some pictures later tonight or at the latest tomorrow.