Sorry, I know this is pretty late in the grand scheme of things. I am off to Training Camp tomorrow morning, and I will likely have some more stuff to type up after that. But I figured I would share some last-minutes things with you guys.
- Mike Brennen has a really nice little wrister that he likes to use. Its not super amazing, but he busted it out a couple times and it startled me. He looks like he would be a nice addition to Lake Erie, and that shot will surprise a goaltender or two.
- Second drill of the day: Quinn and Assistant stand on each side of the neutral zone, a little bit inside the blue lines. Two guys start out from the corners, skate out at full speed, and each guy buzzes on of the coaches; as they go around them, they take the turns differently, and head back to the net they started near. As they get there, they let off a shot. This drill was really interesting to me, because I hadn't seen it before, and it really focused on one thing: how to take a sharp turn while maintaining control of the puck. The guy that buzzes the coach nearest to the goal has to make the coach feel the wind of him skating by, but the guy that buzzes the further coach could take more of a leisurely route. It was all about holding the turns confidently, maintaining the puck, with every eye on you. Of course, altho I liked it, I didnt bother to, you know, keep track of who did well or anything. Oh well.
- Third drill: Another offensive drill, this one was all about skating the length of the ice, from corner to opposite goal, and get a shot on net. This was working on breakouts, I guess, and its basically what I just said: they rookie starts out in the corner, skates at high speed through mid-ice, and takes a shot on net. They added in a little tap-pass too, where the guy coming back would receive a pass from the guy coming in and just tap it to slow it down, as if there was a turnover at the opponents blueline.
During this drill, AJ and I were having a pretty good conversation with Justin from the Goalie Guild about Pickard and Attiokallio, and the lack of goalie coaching. It got pretty heated with all of us mocking the organization's idiocy. He has some great things to say about Attio, but I am going to let him lay it all out for his fans. I havent even been over to check out what he has written. Anyway, I didn't keep that good a track of the guys, but it was basically more of the same: Brennen loosed that shot again, Elliott and Barrie, while not scorching fast, looked solid in that type of situation. Landy is still the best. Siemens looked meh. Really, most of the D looked... not bad, but not good. Disinterested, maybe. As well they should be, considering they play...
- Defense!! Holy crap, you mean that you actually want to test how the D plays D? Fourth drill: A simulated 2-on-1, with some transition practice, and an emphasis on making passes and confusing the D instead of just taking a shot. This is more like it. You could really see how these guys play like this. Landeskog was definitely interested in getting that shot into the net, fighting off the D, and doing something creative to get the puck on net. Seimens actually skated backwards, used his positioning and looong reach to cut off the passing lane. Even the D was part of the O in this case, with Elliott and Barrie both looking decent on forwards as they tried to outdo the one D. Very fun. Afterward, Siemens had some quick 1-on-1 coaching with Quinn.
- Fifth drill: 1-on-1s. Awesome. These are the ones that Dater posted up videos of (These are the ones of which Dater posted videos? These are the ones of which videos were posted by Dater? stupid english). I suggest you watch them... Actually, um, Here is the link. A note on that burst of speed by Elliott: Donnelly was looking down at his skates (you can see him do that little bouncing jig thingy, and Elliott noticed and just blew by him. Keep your eyesup, Dillon. Anyway, you can see what happened out there, but I loved watching the D play D and the O play O.
- After this drill, Quinn grabbed Siemens and took him off to the side, talking to him about how to take his skaters. It was interesting, and I really wish I could have been down there listening to what they were talking about. The coaching session lasted like 15 minutes, and you could see them working through how to work positioning, keeping wide or staying in, close in against the boards, that type of thing.
- Assistant spent some of this time working with Landeskog on where he aims at the net. I doubt it was as instructive as Quinn's talk with Siemens, but they did spend a lot of time taking shots from the face-off dots, both from a pile of pucks and being fed cross-ice passes for slappers.
- Meanwhile, while the coaches were busy, the other guys gathered at the other end and practiced their shootout moves. Brennen used his shot. Again. It was still good. I didn't watch them much, since I was watching the coaches doing their thing, but there was a lot of laughter coming in from the end of the ice. Glad the guys were having a good time.
- The coaches left the ice after their little sessions were done, and Brad Malone and Mike Brennen wandered down to the open net. They spent a lot of time down there, working on slap shots and tip-ins, as well as some passing drills and net drives. Brennen's actual slapshot is not very good. Not hard, not on target. But his wristers are nice, and Malone has really good hand-eye and did well with the tip-ins. Attio wandered down eventually and worked with them some, just the three of them for a while.
- At the other end, when the guys got tired of the shootout drills and discovered the coaches had left, they started falling into some drills where they all hang out near the net, one guy takes shots from about 30 feet out, right in front, and the other guys try to knock home rebounds. Laughter ensued. Pickard cursed loudly to multiple chuckles.
- Which brings me to my final thought of the day: Sami Attiokallio. Justin likes the kid a lot, and we talked about how much a goaltending coaching session would help him. He spent a lot of the last couple drills sorta wandering, not talking to anyone, except Malone. Malone went out of his way to wander over and talk to the kid. I wonder how good his english is. When the coaches worked with him on Weds they seemed to understand each other pretty well, so I guess its good. But it really burned me up to see these goalies, both of them, without much of a helping hand. I heard that Kirk McLean was at a golf tournament in Vancouver.
Yup yup. Training Camp tomorrow. Now I have to go all the way back to the goalie roundtable and get caught up with the happenings 'round these parts.