In case you didn’t see my tweets from Traverse City yesterday, some quick thoughts on the one day of camp I was able to attend:
The difference between the organization #1 goalie and a kid fighting for a spot in a logjam: after the practice portion of the morning, the group splits into squads that do this skating routine that’s like watching team speed skating. The leader goes along a route either he decides or that’s pre-determined (I’m not sure which) and the guys behind him follow at a couple feet’s distance.
Jordan Pearce Â did Â his best to follow the exact route set by the leader at his best pace and ended up struggling to finish most times in his heavy equipment. I’m pretty sure he got lapped a couple times. Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard took abbreviated routes at a much more leisurely pace and didn’t keel over at the end.
Jimmy’s somewhat casual attitude was also evident in other drills, which isn’t a huge surprise as the other top tier guys obviously hold something back in these scenarios too.
Ty Conklin’s been attacked by a bush: He’s got a big beard. If he doesn’t contain that thing, he could gain some extra chest padding in the form of facial hair before the end of the season. Conks looked good in drills, so here’s hoping that translates into the season.
Hudler is very short in person: It’s kind of shocking just how short. He played a bit bigger than he is, though, in the scrimmage. Seemed to be working to try to make a splash. Wasn’t all that successful, but points for effort, I guess.
Moods: Bertuzzi didn’t miss an opportunity to slam a puck into the net or, if he missed, the endboards. He seemed annoyed. Holmstrom looked like he was just having fun. He showed off his ridiculous top-shelf-at-close-range abilities while goofing off during down time in the practice.
Eyes On Defense: Smith’s looking confident. Maybe too much so. He uses drop passes at every opportunity and is probably going to look like a moron when one of those gets picked off in the NHL whenever he gets a game in.
Commodore did some good work recovering with smart poke-checks on some drills.
Jonathan Ericsson looked serious, but still sent pucks into skates on breakout drills. He did a lot of yelling instructions, too.
During the scrimmage, Ian White looked pretty good. He has a shot that should fit well with the team’s net front guys and seemed to do fairly well with Lidstrom. He’s pretty small, like Rafalski, but has a different build. He’s obviously not as good a skater. If he can be coached to change his game some, he could fit in well.
Datsyuk: It was a little strange to see him in #24, because I kept wondering where #13 was when his linemates were out there, but he looked good. As I said before, guys of his caliber seem to hold back a bit in these things, but he did have an element of trying to one-up Zetterberg. It wasn’t in a seriously, game-time way, though. Contrast that with the young guys, who were obviously working much harder to impress, which led to a marked difference in intensity. Even with that, though, when the main team’s lines were on the ice, there was a big difference in quality of play, as you’d expect. When it was the kids, there was a lot more clump skating.
Brunnstrom: Definitely tried to stand out, and earned a goal in the scrimmage. I wasn’t blown away by him.
Tomas Jurco: Really impressed me with his use of his size and just the fact that he looked a step ahead of everyone else in his tier on the ice. I’m looking forward to watching him develop and fill out. He could shoot a little more, but he’s got the ability to cut through a defense and make a play, as well as the size to shrug off defenders. He also looks distractingly like Valtteri Filppula, so I kept confusing the two.
Eaves: Looked pretty good in his new role, though I doubt it’ll last.
Franzen: Seeing him in person and around other players and you really get why Yzerman had that initial reaction to the guy. He’s big. He didn’t do a ton in the scrimmage, except scare me when he went off hunched over and grimmacing. I think he may have just been out of breath, though.