The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the tag “Malcolm Subban”

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.


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…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…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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