The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

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Bruins Development Camp Day Three 2016 Edition

The 2016 edition of Boston Bruins Development Camp is cruising along and Day Three saw brought with it a plethora of skating drills. While this was certainly not the creation of a certain power skating coach from days of yore when none were able to master his drills, yesterday’s drills required some effort and concentration on the part of the boys. A couple of the participants were even seen coming off their skates during one drill in particular. It seemed that this drill was designed to humble even the best of the skaters and put them all on an even playing surface, but it was entertaining.  The crowd on hand has collectively been clamoring for a scrimmage, and while they might get a full one today (the last day), there have been mini scrimmages which have allowed this year’s attendees to show off their wares in a competitive light.

There have been a few of the campers that I haven’t said much about to this point, and with good reason.  There really hasn’t been much to say when it comes to most of them, and others I haven’t really seen them while trying to focus on one area of the ice while three separate drills are going on.  But in the interest of equal and fair play, here are a few of the campers that haven’t been mentioned yet…

Jack Becker has good size.  He has appeared to struggle with some of the skating drills, but has handled himself well.  He hasn’t done much to stand out but doesn’t appear to shy away from contact, just doesn’t appear to initiate it either.  Having spoken to others in the crowd I’ve heard everything from “he looks really good” to wow, he’s really struggling out there”.  I will reserve judgement until after today when he will hopefully get to show something before the end.

Cameron Hughes i owe an apology to for not mentioning him sooner but I haven’t seen that moment that makes one stand up and take notice.  On day three he fared very well in the skate drills and he showed up to play during the mini scrimmage.  Good speed, nice shot.  There’s something to like here and I will hopefully see more today.

Joona Koppanen was a late round draft pick and that may be appropriate.  He has struggled with skating and positioning but he does appear to have a nice shot with a not so quick release.  He seems to be a little more physical than your typical Fin but it serves him well considering his size.  At 6’5″ (listed), Joona tipped the scales at 194 pounds.  A little more weight and some skate work could turn him into a third line center and a nice defensive forward.

And now for a few (and I mean a few) quick notes regarding some previously mentioned campers…

This should be Matt Grzelcyk’s last camp.  He is really standing out as the best in camp, but this being his fourth one i guess that is to be expected.  He is smooth skating, properly positioned, and apparently becoming a sniper.  Three rush drills in a row he was able to pick the top corners on both Malcolm Subban and Stephen Dhillon.  I wouldn’t pencil him in for 50 goals, and the top notch goalies in the NHL will surely shut him down most nights, but it was a nice little added wrinkle to his game.  Time will tell if it’s just a camp thing or he can bring that to the next level.

Brandon Carlo appeared to be relying on his size and strength a little too much during one on one drills.  There were, by my count, four possible penalties that could have been called on two separate attempts.  I want to see him paste guys to the boards, but if he is going to follow the forwards behind the net, then he needs to come away with the puck or he will be beaten.

Wiley Sherman was the only defender during one on one drills that did not follow the forward against him behind the net.  Wiley let his man go and just met him out front.  Result…no goals or shot attempts from his foe.  Sherman may be onto something here.

I’m sure I’ve still not mentioned one or two of the boys, and I will rectify this oversight with my next edition, but for now, enjoy the hockey.

The Second Day of 2016 Development Camp

The second day of the 2016 edition of Boston Bruins Development Camp brought us skating and other exercises fast and furious. Not ones to allow standing around, the coaches had drills happening in all three zones. Boardwork to the left, goaltending to the right and skating in the middle, as though it were the basis for a good hockey player (wait…I think it is…).  With a surprise third session, yesterday’s instruction (at least for the benefit of all present) ended around 1:30pm.  With everything going on in the first session, it was difficult to keep track of everything happening so going on the slim notes and my memory, here are some thoughts on day two…

Trent Frederic started to shine yesterday when given the opportunity to show off his speed during rush drills in the second session.  Blasting past defensemen such as Jeremy Lauzon and Brandon Carlo, Trent was able to move in on both Zane McIntyre and Malcolm, scoring on the latter.

Speaking of both Brandon and Jeremy, they appeared to struggle during the skating drills and seemed to have to force it during the third session.  A little too upright and not quite as smooth transitioning forward to backward, they could still use their size and strength to shut down the offensive player during drills as long  as they were in front of that man.

Wiley Sherman has become one of the veterans here at development camp and this fact has made it a little easier to notice the filling out he has done during his dev camp tenure.  Listed at 6’7″ and 220 pounds, Wiley is a beast compared to his first camp where he disappeared when he stood sideways to you.  His physicality has improved with this increase in size, but so has his shut down ability, as his positioning during rush drills saw Wiley consistently in the right place to keep whoever he fronted from even getting off a shot.  And when the offensive player was able to do so, the shot was typically off the mark to one side or other of the net.

Oskar Steen once again showed off his speed and quick release as he was able to score not once but twice on Zane McIntye.  Oskar was able to pick different spots both times, once denting the twine between Zane’s pad and glove and going over his shoulder with the second goal.

And who can forget the goaltenders?  The young invite Stephen Dhillon was seen working with goalie coach Bob Essensa on his side to side movements and other fundamentals.  He has shown an ability to shut down the skaters but has some skills to work on as he progresses in his career.  Daniel Vladar again appeared much improved but was not spared the same work that Dhillon had to deal with.  Vladar was once again up to the task, but this writer missed something that was pointed out by another onlooker in the crowd.  Daniel was said to be leaving his glove hand too low when going down into the butterfly position, something that bears watching as the third installment of this year’s camp gets closer to kick off.

So what does all this tell us?  There is definite talent in the Bruins’ future, but there is also a definitive line between those that have been attending camp for a second or even third time and those that are rookies to the event.  With the proper guidance from the coaches on hand and their coaches and trainers at their various clubs (school or junior clubs) these issues will be addressed and next year should bring about the type of change that Sweeney and company are looking for.

More to come after day three.  See you then.

 

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