The Off Wing

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2014 Edition: Development Camp…Day Two


So when last we met the kids at camp had finished their first day and while some appeared a little gassed, others left the impression that they had been here before and seemed like they hadn’t even broken a sweat.  Rob O’Gara, for one, looks like he’s out on a leisurely stroll, no sweat, not even the appearance of heavy breathing.  Development Camp…Day Two brought us more drills and two sessions that ran almost to 2:00 in the afternoon.  This was a better day fitness-wise, as none of those present gave the impression of exhaustion, although the long day must have gotten to some.

We learned some new things about the B’s hopefuls…things such as Anton Blidh, while fast and well-balanced on his skates, he needs to work on putting the puck on net.  He stayed extra time after the official drills ended working on his shooting.  Anton fired shot after shot at the net, hitting everything but the twine.  Taking a line from one of my favorite movies; “Always end on a good shot, I say”, and Anton did just that, scoring and skating off the ice.

The morning session started before it officially began when Malcolm Subban, Zane Gothberg, Matt Benning, Anders Bjork and Alex Globke came out ahead of the full class to work on goaltending drills with Bob Essensa.  Primarily working on post to post coverage, the two young netminders (Subban, Gothberg) were down on their knees stopping pucks shot from the bottom of the circles and in the slot.  The two were also working on post coverage, staying tight to the post through the whole save process before moving to the opposite post to field another shot.

Couple of notables:

Matt Benning has really stepped up his game.  He has shown better vision on the ice and his passing is much more crisp than it has been at prior camps.  Outlet passing has been tape-to-tape sharp.

Rob O’Gara has shown leadership skills on the ice, calling out plays while running drills where the defensive unit is setting up to cover an oncoming rush.  Instructing the younger campers on who to cover as they enter the offensive zone and where to direct the puck once the defense has gained possession.

Cole Bardreau has shown that he has speed and quickness.  His acceleration and balance are strong.  His speed through the neutral zone is good, but his best asset are his hands, very soft and strong, crisp passing.  Would like to see a little more shooting from the young man.

Colton Hargrove appeared to be getting a little “cute” with his stickhandling while trying to gain entry into the offensive zone during drills.  Once he started gaining entry into the zone without all the puckhandling he was more successful.  He also scored a nice goal on his former teammate, Gothberg.

Speaking of former teammates, Oleg Yevenko has shown that he isn’t just a big body on the ice.  He displayed some solid positioning while working the two-on-two drills and was able to keep the puck and skater away from the slot area of the ice.  Oleg may need to work on his skating and work along the boards, but there are some fundamentals in place that can be worked with, a good foundation to build from.

Billy Sweezey has shown that he belongs on the ice.  Being the third youngest at camp, Billy has held his own and doesn’t shy away from the contact, something that will surely not go unnoticed by Cam, Claude, Donnie and Peter up in the stands.  The young man is committed to Yale, where he will be joining Michael Doherty and Rob O’Gara.  Just a side note here.  I witnessed Billy after the second session talking to a young boy, giving him a puck and autograph as well as taking pictures with the youngster.  He seems to have the makeup of someone who others can look up to…giving back to others.

Wiley Sherman displayed some nice positioning on defense, standing up multiple attempts at entry to the offensive zone for a few of the campers.  Doesn’t appear to be overly physical, just doing his job shutting down the rush.  Good footwork kept him in front of multiple attackers, and when they did get by, he didn’t give up on the play.

There were some interesting drills at the end of day two, with players both clogging the slot area while others were positioned in the corners and at the points.  Working on jockeying for position in front of the netminders, things were getting a little more physical in front of the nets.  Seemed to give the guys on the ice the opportunity to work off a little extra energy before the coaches called it a day, with Oleg Yevenko leading stretches for the second straight session.

One final note:  The young men here are soaking in all the education they can get.  On evidence I present Mitchell Dempsey.  The young man, having finished nearly three hours of rushes and defending, was out there with Kevin Dean, assistant coach in Providence, working on net front presence with regards to tip drills and positioning in front of the net.  The two gentlemen spent an additional 15 minutes or so, with Dean shooting pucks on net from the slot and the corners, so that Dempsey could work on his positions and tipping.  Dean would skate over and give instruction to the young man, who appeared to be soaking up every word that was spoken.  Dedication to his craft is not a concern for the young Mitchell Dempsey.

Well, that’s all for day two.  Day three begins in an hour and a half, so  we’ll see you then…


2014 Edition: Bruins Development Camp…Day One

Not everything went off exactly as expected on the first day of the 2014 edition of Bruins development camp. Sitting in the crowd, one could sense that the fans were just a little unhappy about the more than one hour late kickoff to this year’s party. But once the campers hit the ice all appeared to be forgiven. Then snag number 2…Malcolm was nowhere to be found. With only two goaltenders in camp this year, it was a little more noticeable than it might have been in years’ past. Again the situation was rectified as Mr. Subban made his fashionably late appearance. By the way, he looks bigger too.

The 2014 edition brings 23 campers to Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass.  Twelve of these young gentlemen have been bere before, with goaltender Zane Gothberg present for his fourth development camp.  He is having a solid, if not somewhat spectacular college career at North Dakota, and the Boston Bruins staff appear more than excited to be patient when it comes to this young man.  Working with Bob (Essensa, goaltending coach), Zane can be seen asking  questions and performing the tasks set to him.  During one drill, Zane’s ability to go post to post showed just how quick he is to cover that blue real estate in front of the net.

The aforementioned Malcolm Subban, the first pick for the Bruins two years ago, made his third appearance at Boston’s annual camp.  Standing tall, he appeared bigger than years prior, however, after researching it, Malcolm is as tall as he was on draft day, potentially an inch larger.  One thing that was noticeable was that he was playing much further out of his crease than in the past, something that he has been knocked for, as he appeared to play a lot deeper in his net, a much riskier way of doing things.

A couple other quick notes before heading off to day two…

The only draft pick not present was 4th rounder Danton Heinen.

There are seven invitees to camp this year, the youngest, Billy Sweezey is still in high school.  The oldest, Oleg Yevenko, is 23 and plays at UMass Amherst.

Speaking of Mr. Yevenko, he is a big man.  6’7″ and 230 pounds (as listed by the Bruins), his body appears to be NHL ready, but that is as far as it goes at the moment.  He would definitely be a project, but as he has been draft eligible since 2009, there may be more work here than any team may want to invest.  Skating and footwork appeared to be issues.  Yevenko struggled in the corner while trying to gain possession of the the puck during  one of the drills.

Matthew Grzelcyk came out of the locker room wearing a red, closer to maroon, jersey.  Unsure as to whether he was “no contact” or just forgot his jersey at home.  He did seem to be in shape this year, as last year he appeared a little on the heavy side.  More to come on Matthew.

Matt Benning…what can I say.  He appears to be improving year to year.  When he first arrived at camp he looked undersized and, dare I say, a little overwhelmed.  Harvard is doing him good and his skating and footwork have vastly improved.

Michael Doherty is a nice invite to camp.  He has good acceleration and good hands.  He plays at Yale with Rob O’Gara, so we will surely see more of him.

Speaking of O’G, he is filling out his frame nicely.  He has become a solid blueliner at Yale and I personally can’t wait to see him in a Bruins uniform.  His awareness is improving and he tracks the action well.  He is tough to get around in drills and is hockey sense seems to be improving as well.

Colton Hargrove…He has been one of my favorites since the day the Bruins drafted him.  He followed up a good freshman year with a solid sophomore effort.  Would not be surprised if Andy Murray hangs a letter on his jersey this year!  Colton has improved year to year at camp.  He doesn’t shy away from contact, sees the ice well and has a scoring touch.  Good footwork and hands round out the package.  More to come on Colton as well.

Ok, off to day two…More later today…



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.










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