It has come to my attention that competing gardening metaphors concerning the Avalanche Development Camp currently exist. Despite the fine work by our esteemed colleagues over at BSN, this obstruction will only motivate me to craft even more elaborate horticulturist prose to describe the day's events. There can only be one, BSN!
Fortunately, it still remains appropriate.
If yesterday consisted of all the initial leg work (prepping the soil, planting the seed, watering, etc.), today we actually started to see some early results. That's right, these little ovules nestled snugly below the surface have began the process of germination, some are now sprouting seedlings upward unto the world above. We can't be sure exactly what these nascent plants will turn into, but I like our chances of harvesting some Finnish Puolukka (lingonberries), Russian свекла (beets), Norwegian multebær (cloudberries) and French-Canadian maple tree this coming fall. Those lingonberries, especially, appear to be a freakish Mendelian experiment that could yield delicious morsels of food in a hurry.
If these young, aspiring Avalanche thought they were getting worked hard yesterday, they were likely in for a bit of a rude surprise as Tracy Tutton once again stopped by to drop copious amounts of skating knowledge. This time, however, the drills were observed by coach Patrick Roy, who nearly melted the rink with gravitas. Again, the morning session involved some shooting against the goalies, this time by the Blue Team, highlighted by Andreas Martinsen, JT Compher, and Sergei Boikov. The young Russian defensemen showed off, perhaps, the most skill of the group, catching, passing, and shooting the puck with a noticeably smooth demeanor. Martinsen, on the other hand, demonstrated an easy ability to park in front of the net and obscure any sight lines the goalies were hoping to achieve. He also made the play of the day pretty early on (Dario w/Tweet of the day as well):
Martensin just went "my girl is watching in the stands" toe drag / deke / layout the goalie and top shelf. Hrmph, no big deal.— Dario Ronzone (@DarioinDenver) July 8, 2015
The big Norwegian has definitely made an impression. If there were any questions whether or not he was prepared to play North American pro hockey, I think he's answered them. This is clearly a 25-year old professional in a camp with a lot of recent amateur draft picks -- his hockey skills are just more advanced in just about every category. His place this coming season is likely in San Antonio with the Rampage, but he's going to be someone to watch as a potential call-up at some point.
Really, only one name needs to be mentioned for the Burgandy Team. AJ Greer was all over the ice, exerting a level of tenacity and prowess that could not be matched by any in his group during these drills, including top-prospect Chris Bigras. It was quite a showing, and I think Avalanche fans are starting to see why Joe Sakic couldn't wait to draft the soon-to-be sophomore at Boston University. He may not have cracked the Top-9 much as a 17-year old for the Terriers, but his skill level will give him greater opportunities moving forward.
The Gray Team took the ice third today, and was once again highlighted by Rantanen and Geertsen. Both looked as smooth and comfortable through every drill they ran -- Conner Bleackley not so much. The young center appears to be in great shape with great stick skills, but his skating is not yet on the level of some of his peers at this camp. I imagine the Avs see to it that he gets some individual instruction as the year goes on, because I think they have an NHL-level player when his skating catches up.
Otherwise, it appears the purpose of this on-ice time during this camp is, very clearly, to develop skating. I'm not sure what we'll see during Day 3 tomorrow, but I'm willing to bet it will be more of the same. Sakic and Roy want their young players faster and more agile than their competition when taking the ice.