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…