Bubs and I hit rookie camp this morning. Dater said it was going to be a measly half hour of on ice time but we ended up seeing over two and a half hours of hockey which included full scrimmaging with the team. Everyone was there except
Budaj and (I've since been told Boods was there, though I'm not convinced that goalie was him...) Duchene. Bubs' reaction was "roaring hulk smashing domination and godzilla."
We are headed back tomorrow. Hopefully we get more of the same. Thus far it looks like Gaunce, Holos and Shattenkirk are the guys who have a chance at staying up with the team. Hishon has a mean shot, but needs some time to get up to speed. The Cohens need to marinate. We didn't get to see anyone play too much defense and since Pickard was awesome and sexy, no one really scored.
Editor Update: Since everyone has been patiently waiting for Dater's thoughts, here you go: Dater's Take
Now that I'm at my computer, here's the run down after the jump:
POSITIVES - good passer, great - and I mean GREAT - shot (accurate, creative, finds the sweet spot), very comfortable with the puck; he fit very well with the team during scrimmaging, looked like he had chemistry
NEGATIVES - defense needs work positionally, speed is an issue
POSITIVES - amazing passer - tape to tape, with speed and strength, strong skater, creative with the puck and positionally to get open/create space/avoid defenders, accurate shot with power, looks to have the best chance at getting that #7 spot...he looked REALLY good at times
NEGATIVES - size (he's really pretty average), hesitant to shoot (I'm hoping this is just rookie jitters stuff)
POSITIVES - the guy never freaking quits on a play (you could see he was holding himself back a few times knowing he had to tone down the physicality given the situation), creative defensively, good size, strong on puck, extremely sound positionally, nice stickwork
NEGATIVES - speed, skating
POSITIVES - size (the guy is BIG) and he knows how to use it...I wanna see him plaster someone against the glass, cuz I know he can and I know he wants to, good positioning
NEGATIVES - stick handling, skating (didn't really have a good showing today, hoping tomorrow will be better)
POSITIVES - Ummm, he only let in a handful of goals the entire time. Seriously, the guy rocked it. He also spent a good fifteen minutes at the very end of the morning, after most people had left, going over some tips with a few of the other rookies on some stuff - it looked like he was giving hints on going five-hole (there's a TWSS in there). Sexy ass pads!
NEGATIVES - Not trained well enough in goalie technique really to evaluate him, so I'll just say, dunno.
Liles: His speed is post doghouse and looks awesome, better than Cumiskey. His positioning sucks ass still and if he keeps it up, he's going to get fat on nachos.
McLeod: He spent a bunch of time practicing tip ins at the end of the scrimmage. Holy crap, it was awesome! The guy had a ten-in-a-row streak going on, would miss one or two, then go on another tear. If he plays like that and like he did in the scrimmage, we've got the Highlander back and a fourth line that can score.
Mueller, Jones and Wilson: All look injury free and back to their sweet selves. Mueller has '80s locks flowing and Wilson cut all his off. All three had some beautiful plays that teased of good things to come.
Stewie: Oh my GOD does he look scrumpdiliumptious and I don't mean it sexually. The boy is serious about having an even better year this season. He had a break out play where he just cruised by everyone and made the defense look like they were in mud, including Liles who was skating like freaking lightening out there. He kept roofing these shots that made you drool. If you haven't done your fantasy draft yet, pick him up. Seriously.
Quincey: His slap shot has picked up some speed and was dead on. Let's hope he can do that during games and bring back BMF as well.
Hejduk: The Duke was the Duke. Soft hands, handling the puck like a master, slipping wristers in, sliding saucers across the crease, and being one of the last skaters on the ice. I love the man. Raise his jersey when he hangs them up, damn it.
Andy: You would think he already signed the extension. Holy crap, he sucked. And he was PISSED about it. Man oh man, I sure as HELL hope this isn't an indication of things to come or this team will be lucky to make it past 12th in the West.
Well, that's it for the on-ice stuff. Of course, we shall give you another update tomorrow. One last little tidbit...after the camp, Bubs and I headed to Which Wich to get some lunch. We were sitting there, after our samiches, going over the recap, and discussing Liles. Bubs said, "It'll be interesting to see what he does without Brett Clark on his line," using all the disdain in his voice you can imagine one would when saying "Brett Clark." Little did he know - and I tried to give him a head's up, but you know how much men pay attention to women when they're not wearing next to nothing - that Ryan O'Reilly was walking past him at the exact same time. Now, I can't say for certain that he heard the comment, but just as Bubblegum made the comment, a little smirk appeared on Radar's face. I will let you make your own mind up about that one. ;-)