The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Development Camp…The Men In The Paint

Yup, I borrowed a cliche from the other fall/winter sport for the title. Of course here we are talking about the men between the pipes, manning the little blue area in front of the net, stopping galvanized rubber being shot at them at upwards of 100 miles an hour.  Six young men showed up at Development Camp this year for the Bruins, all of them talented and hoping to some day sport the spoked “B” on their chests.  So here they are…

Zane Gothberg – Not his first time here at camp, Zane showed that he has some skills and was working them good.  Zane appeared to struggle with pucks over his glove hand, but that issue does not belong to Zane alone.  Zane didn’t appear to wander that much from the front of the net, but watching him shoot passes across the ice to fellow net-minder Niklas Svedberg, he can handle the puck fairly well.

Parker Milner – Well, I’ve been accused of playing favorites from time to time (see Milan Lucic and Ryan Spooner), and Parker is the latest in the line.  In this case, it’s true.  I’ve seen Parker stand on his head in the Beanpot finals against Boston University and in the Hockey East quarters against UMass.  So when I saw his name on the list of campers this year I was ecstatic.  Watching him close up he has the skills to get the job done.  The biggest thing I can say against him is that he needs to close up the “5” hole.  Most of the pucks that got by him were in that location.  His GAA in his junior year in 34 games was a minuscule 1.66.  He moves well around the net but doesn’t handle the puck more than necessary and he doesn’t seem to wander far from the crease.  This is one talent to keep an eye on as a senior at Boston College.

Adam Morrison – Adam was a nice invite to camp this year.  He showed flashes between the pipes but has some work to do.  He knows what he needs to work on and he appears to have a good base to build the skills from.  He made some nice stops during the scrimmages and stopped the pucks down low and showed a very active glove hand.

Malcolm Subban – Two words…As Advertised.  Malcolm gets down to his knees and back up as quick as anyone I’ve seen.  He is very athletic and quick, gets post to post with ease.  Malcolm is very competitive but knows how to have fun!  He and Koko were having a good old time for themselves during practices where Koko was unable to participate due to his recovering from a lacerated kidney.  The two of them were trying to one-up each other in a shoot out style competition.  The one area he may need to work on is getting to the high stick side, where he seemed to let most of the pucks get past him, but with another couple years before he will be seen in Boston on a permanent basis, he’s got the time to fix that.

Niklas Svedberg – Yes, Niklas may be compared to Ron Hextall, but that isn’t entirely a bad thing.  Ron was a very good goaltender but couldn’t seem to maintain it during the playoffs.  The main reason for the comparison, however, is the behavior on the ice.  Niklas has had a few fighting majors during his career, but didn’t show that kind of aggression at camp.  He is competitive, and that did come out.  He is good post to post and covered the short side well, but like others in camp, he appears to need to concentrate on the high glove area (an area of need for most European goalies, it would appear).  Niklas carried himself well and it would seem that he can move the puck well.  Svedberg didn’t wander from the crease much, making it difficult to determine how mobile he truly is.

Lars Volden – Another camper who was present last year.  Lars appeared to level off this camp.  That’s not to say that he has nothing to show.  Lars can still get down to his pads and up again and has good post to post coverage.  Struggled with the high glove side (sensing a pattern yet), but very good tracking the puck.  He didn’t appear to come as far out of the crease during this camp as last year but there also weren’t as many opportunities to do so during the scrimmage.  During shoot outs he did show that he is always aware of the net area while backing in.  Would like to see more of Lars as he progresses.

So there you have it.  I know it took longer than it should have, but I wanted to give every one of the campers equal time.  Overall the camp was successful in that it showed us that the Bruins scouting department is doing their due diligence on the young gentlemen hoping to make an impact in the NHL someday.  None of the campers present has been promised a job, but there were a few that could crack the lineup at some point during the season.  And if the whisperings are to be believed, the Bruins may have a new big man patrolling the blue line out of training camp this year.






Development Camp…The Defense

Development camp this year had many good players.  Too many to mention in just one post.  So here they are, the guys manning the blue line and the blue area in front of the trapezoid…

Matt Benning – The young man just barely turned 18 before development camp.  Went down a couple times on the first day during practices.  Showed some skills during the second session and the second day.  Appeared to struggle with power skating during the first session on day three.  During the first session on day 4 Matt left the ice with an apparent leg injury.  We later learned that he had a groin issue.  Some seasoning is in order as he is quite young but could prove to be a talent down the road.

Chris Casto – A big boy to be sure, but appeared to need a little toughness.  He seems to be a stay at home defenseman.  Good shot from the point, but it looked like he was getting pushed around at times.  His size is something that can’t be learned, and he has that going for him, but with the size of the other invitees and draft picks at camp, he didn’t overly stand out.

Tommy Cross – The senior member of development camp.   He has attended every one for the last six years.  Tommy has developed into a strong defensive defenseman.  Good skills, positionally sound and knows when to pinch and when to remain at the blue line.  Also has the ability to get physical.  Tommy, in this writer’s opinion, is the most NHL ready of the campers this year.  Not the fastest skater on the ice but he counteracts that with his solid positional play.  Also not the hardest shot, but he keeps it low to the ice and accurate.  He finally scored at a development camp, a fact he pointed out to the press on hand.

Matt Grzelcyk – Boston University has a lot to look forward to with this young man.  Not the strongest shot, but knows when to stay at the blue line and when to pinch.  He was paired up with Dougie for most of the second scrimmage and it gave me cause for worry having two offensive defensemen on the blue line, but Matt covered well when Hammy pinched (which was often).  Good speed and footwork complete the package.  Some seasoning at B.U. will do him good and I am looking forward to seeing him again next year as well.

Dougie Hamilton – Fellow viewers and writers present at Development Camp have already heard my opinion on Dougie.  A very talented young man with size to spare.  Dougie had good offensive skills and is good on the back check.  He has a quick outlet pass to the neutral zone and can catch up to the play with his speed.  All this being said, Dougie is not ready for the NHL yet.  Peter Chiarelli states that Dougie has put on 11 pounds since last year.  He still hasn’t filled out his 6’5″ frame and was being pushed around on the ice.  Dougie also showed his propensity for hot-headedness when he opted to return the favor for a check he received from Daniel Carr.  The hit was perfectly legal, but you could see Dougie planning it in his head from the time he received the initial hit.  Dougie was also caught below the offensive goal line on more than one occasion. He will play for the big club, without a doubt, it just shouldn’t be this year.

Torey Krug – Torey has speed and good hands.   Good defensive skills which showed up when paired with Dougie.  As we all know, Dougie is an offensive defenseman, a good part of Torey’s game as well.  Torey showed the understanding to hang back and patrol the blue line, freeing up Dougie to pinch down low.  Torey’s size could be a hindrance to him as he is only 5’9″ or 10″ but he stayed on his skates for both scrimmages and performed very well in power skating.

Robbie O’Gara – Congratulations Yale…You’ve got a real good defenseman heading your way!  Size, strength, a little speed, likes the contact (or so it appeared), and good positional play.  Robbie was more than willing to clear out the slot area and neutral zones when opposing offensive players were passing through.  I’m sure lacrosse had something to do with that.  He was paired up with Tommy for a bit, and what a “D” pairing that would look like for the Black and Gold in a few years.  Also spent time with Trotman and Grzelcyk.  Take care of this one, Coach Allain, the Bruins are gonna want him back!

Zach Trotman – More size on the blue line.  Zach has a shot that gets through more often than not.  He was paired up with Tommy and Robbie.  With Tommy he manned the blue line more frequently but with Robbie he was more the offensive defenseman.  Zach can throw his weight around and does a decent job in the corners.   No struggles in the skate drills and represented himself well.  Zach will look good in Providence.

Well, the plan was to include the goaltenders in this post as well however in my efforts to be thorough, I have rambled on long enough, so the men between the pipes will get a post of their own this afternoon.






Development Camp…One Last Time

So during an instant message conversation a couple days ago with the ‘Sage I realized that I made the egregious error of not holding up my end of the bargain from the last post.  So without further ado…

The Forwards:

Darik Angeli – Darik showed that he has the size to play with the big boys, but he needs some polish.  Appeared to struggle with a couple of the skate drills during power skating but during scrimmages he showed that he wouldn’t shy away from the contact.  He’s got a nice shot but needs to work on accuracy a little.  Overall a nice invite.

Anthony Camara – What can I say, he didn’t shy away from the contact last year at development camp and this year he appears to have gotten bigger and stronger.  His skating has improved and he showed during the scrimmage that he has learned when physicality is necessary and when to avoid it.  As I noted last year, his positioning is good (which appears to have improved) and he has a nice shot.

Colin Campbell – I hate to admit this, but he didn’t stand out during camp.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is some tough competition out there and with the size on the ice, even at 6’1″ and 190, he doesn’t leave an impression size wise.  Colin did show that he can get up and down the ice and didn’t appear to have any issues in power skating but during scrimmages he just appeared to blend in.  Again, not really a bad thing.

Daniel Carr – Listed at 6’0″ and I’m not one to argue, but it was tough to distinguish because he always seemed to be up against the “giants”.  Seen on more than one occasion trying to chop down the redwood that is Dougie Hamilton, Dan doesn’t appear to shy away from the contact.  He has good speed and gets into the corners.  He did appear to struggle getting back on defense, but that can be said for more than a few at camp.

Justin Courtnall – Justin turned more than a few heads with his aggressive play during scrimmages and practice.  Appeared to do well during the skate drills but not quite there yet.  He gets up and down the ice quickly and is willing to get dirty.  He also doesn’t shy away from contact and got under the skin of a couple of the d-men he was playing against.  Accuracy seemed to be an issue when shooting at times.

Brian Ferlin – Last year saw Brian hustling through workouts and giving his all.  That carried over to this year.  The question of his being more physical may have been answered as he was more willing to engage but still shows more of a propensity for the offense.  Skating is not an issue here, and while he doesn’t have Spooner speed, he can get around pretty quickly.

Justin Florek – According to one source I have spoken to, Justin is slow.  I don’t see it, and apparently I didn’t see it at last year’s camp either.  Still has that shot but didn’t appear to show it off as much.  Good size and definitely not afraid to get dirty or get physical.

Seth Griffith – Nice footwork, showed it off during skate drills.  Decent offensive skills.  Didn’t appear to get back on defense as quickly as he could have.  Overall a good camp for him.  One of the notes I jotted down during camp…The steal of the draft, avoided because of his size.

Colton Hargrove – This young man from Texas has some serious potential.  The size and grit are obvious.  He didn’t back down from contact.  He has really good hands and a hard shot.  While talking to him it was clear that he knew what he wanted and what he felt he had to work on.  Colton also stated that he modeled his game after Mike Modano and Milan Lucic (yes!).  Heading to Western Michigan to play for the Broncos this fall.  He should perform well there.

Cody Payne – Yup, another big, strapping forward.  Cody appeared to have a little trouble with a couple of the skate drills and he’s not the fastest forward on the ice.  But grit and toughness he has.  Just looking at his numbers with the Whalers last season bear that out.  Only 14 points but 95 penalty minutes tell us what kind of player he is, but Cody does have skills and it would be good to see him expand those skills.

Ben Sexton – A junior at Clarkson, Ben is still learning, and growing.  He reported to training camp listed at 6 feet.  The speed is still there, and his offensive skills.  He appears to have improved on his defensive game since last year’s camp.  Ben still hustles up and down the ice, and appears to have a good idea where his line mates are.  Good passer too.

Wayne Simpson – Didn’t do anything to stand out but didn’t do anything to hurt himself either in the eyes of the viewers during camp.  He has good offensive capabilities and got through all the skate drills without any issues.  He needs a little more size and grit to compete with the other campers, but a good invite and someone to keep watching.


So that covers all the forwards at camp.  One of the things Peter noted about camp was the size of the campers this year.  It’s obvious that the B’s covet size in their players, as well as grit and a willingness to get into the corners and muck it up.  It was noted that no one is going to be offered a job in July, but some of the young guns in camp did much to improve their value to the club in the coming years and the future looks bright.  Look for the defense and goalies later today.










Development Camp…A Quickie

So here it is, an hour before development camp and i’m banging out a post for all to read.  This one has to be quick as i plan to attend.  So, in the interest of brevity, here are just some of the the noticeable things from the first three days of camp.  I will most assuredly expand in the next post, but for now, on with the info…

For those of you who have read my rantings before, you know that Ryan Spooner is my future binkie (apologies to Milan, I still love you, man).  He has shown up bigger and stronger for this camp.  He is dead set on making the team but saying all the right things.  He is by far the fastest in camp, and while he doesn’t have the best hands (that prize belonging to either Koko or Seth Griffith), he controls the puck well.  One of the shocking things was seeing Ryan take on larger individuals along the boards.  Someone put a bug in his ear that he needed to toughen up and be willing to get dirty.  Not saying that he needs to be a grinder, but he needs to learn some techniques from Shawn.

The Sage’s fave, Jared Knight, is visibly suffering from his ankle injury but continues to push through it because he wants it that badly.  Jared still has a hard shot and can pass like a smaller center, but its his willingness to get dirty that puts him ahead of Ryan in the line for who could possibly make it to the big club out of camp. He goes hard to the net, as he always has, and showed no inclination to back down when Tommy Cross drove him into the net.  The two supposedly were glaring at each other for the next few minutes (though this writer didn’t see it that way) until the whistle blew.  Jared may not be as fast as Koko or Ryan, but he can keep up with most of the campers and has shown that he is certainly bound to be on the team at some point this year, possibly as a call up.

Koko, what can I say.  He is fun to watch. Appears to have gotten himself ready for camp this year (it being his second).  He is recovering from a lacerated kidney and isn’t allowed much in the way of contact, but he showed just what kind of offensive prowess he has while working with Malcolm Subban at the opposite end of the ice during afternoon practice on day three.  Back and forth they went, Koko showing of his moves and Malcolm responding in kind.  Both gesturing and fist-pumping in celebration and mock one-upmanship. It was clear to see that these two have formed a bond that will serve both of them well in the future with the club.

Gotta stop here, it’s 10:20 and I need to get ready, but have no fear, my fellow fans, there will be more later today.  Until then…





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