LetsGoPens.com: Netwolf's 2000 Camp Reports - Roster

Day 8: The last day before WBS... - Posted on September 15, 2000

With the first preseason game slated for later this evening, everyone who was not scheduled to play was divided into two groups.

Ivan Hlinka and Rick Kehoe were not on the ice for either practice today. The practices were run by Joe Mullen, Randy Hillier, Glenn Patrick, and another person I did not recognize. I'm guessing he is one of Patrick's assistants in Wilkes-Barre.

The first group practiced from 9:00am to about 10:15am. The Iceoplex staff started to open the door to bring out the zamboni at 10:00 which brought cheers from Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka, and Robert Lang, each with their arms raised in victory. Everyone had just line up to skate laps. =) Mullen skated over to the staff and had them close the door and everyone had to do their ten laps.

The second group practiced from 11:00am to about noon.

Each group went thru the same schedule. They did some breakaways. They had to skate from the sideboards across and back a few times. They practiced some 2-on-1s and some 3-on-2s. Each group played a game for about 10 minutes or so as well.

All of the jerseys were jumbled up today, so I wasn't able to get a full list of who practiced. Several players had jerseys that weren't even numbered, so there was no way an updated roster sheet could have been made up for today.

This is who I saw on the ice: Kovalev, Straka, Lang, Bob Boughner, Alexander Mathieu, Michel Ouellet, Ian Moran, Andrew Ference, Craig Hillier, Joel Laing, David Koci, Dennis Bonvie, Peter Hamerlik, JR Prestifilippo, Brant nicklin, Steven Parsons, Jeremy Van Hoof, Darcy Verot, and Alexander Zevahkin. I think Eric Bellerose, Jan Fadrny, Joel Scherban, Quin Hancock, and Jason MacDonald were there too, but I don't know what they look like well enough to say for sure.

I don't remember seeing Tom Kostopoulos or Greg Crozier out there.

Mark Scally will start tonight in goal, and Sebastien Caron will dress also. Those two are possibly the two best goalies in camp. Caron is the top goalie for sure. Scally looked okay in practices, but in the scrimmages he did pretty good.

The Trib is reporting the following players are scheduled to play this evening:

Matthew Barnaby, Josef Beranek, Rene Corbet, Shane Endicott, Jan Hrdina, Jaromir Jagr, Milan Kraft, Aleksey Morozov, Toby Petersen, Roman Simicek, Martin Sonnenberg, Bill Tibbetts, Sven Butenschon, Hans Jonsson, Darius Kasparaitis, Janne Laukkanen, Josef Melichar and Michal Rozsival.

That's four complete lines of forwards and three sets of defensemen. I think the rules for players dressed in a preseason game are the same as regular season.

The PG says Jiri Slegr missed practice yesterday to have surgery to remove a calcium deposit from his hand. Chris Kelleher was aheld out as a precaution and is tentatively scheduled to play in the prospects game against the Devils farm team in Albany tomorrow.

I'll have a game recap late this evening or tomorrow morning, and I hope to post a camp wrap-up sometime this weekend as well.

Day 7: All practices, no scrimmage... - Posted on September 14, 2000

Once they handed out rosters this morning I found out there was no Tournament Championship Game today. =(

According to the Post-Gazette, the Black team had locked it up already by winning all of their games and shootouts. Each scrimmage win is worth 3 points and each shootout is worth 1. I had thought those points were used to determine who played in the final, but I guess they determined who won it all. The Black Team had rung up 8 points and was already the winner. Gold was next with 3 points going 1-1.

The groups drilled 1-on-1s, 2-on-1s, and 3-on-2s today, along with a couple of skating and breakaway drills.

Each group was divided in half, and lined up on the bluelines facing center ice. The first guy on the right blueline skated to the opposite one stopped and then skates in on the goalie and shoots. As soon as the first guy stops and turns, the second starts. When the last guy on the right blueline stops and turns the first guy on the left goes.

In the 1-on-1s, Jagr beat Slaney twice with the exact same move. Jagr skated wide right around him, holds him off with his left arm and cuts to his left. As he comes across the crease, he shoots. Both times he beat the goalie too.

Because of the number of players involved, a forward would come down on the same defensemen each time. When the Gold group was doing the 1-on-1s, Morozov ended up going against Ference. Ference shut him down pretty easy the first 2 or 3 times in a row. Morozov smacked his stick of the glass in disgust. The next time he skated in towards Ference, he managed to slip around him, but Hamerlik made a pretty easy save on him. The next time down, Morozov beat Ference and Hamerlik clean.

Kelleher wasn't at practice today, and I didn't see Slegr either. I think Van Hoof filled in for Kelleher in the Gold Group. Straka and Kovalev rotated in on defense for Slegr in the Black Group. The PG reported the Kelleher felt dizzy after bing hit in the scrimmage yesterday.

A few other random notes:

David Koci is pretty good in 1-on-1s. I only saw him get beat once.

Caron looked pretty good today. IMO, he's clearly the best goalie in camp right now. That's not saying much, but it's true. It's true.

I have yet to see Greg Crozier pass up an opportunity to shoot, or even wait a little to long to do so. He plays the same kind of game Kostopoulos does, but I think Crozier skates and shoots a little bit better.

Shane Endicott hasn't done all that much in my eyes. In the scrimmages he looked a little lost, and in drills he looks like he's not sure of what he's supposed to do. Then again, it is his first pro camp.

It's the first pro camp for Mark Moore, David Koci, and Michel Ouellet too. Each one has done something to stand out in my eyes at some point.

I noticed today that aside from Brooks Orpik (1st), Patrick Foley (6th), Jim Abbott (7th), and Nick Boucher (9th) every draft pick from this sumer came to camp. Incidentally all four of those guys are playing college hockey this fall, and the NCAA doesn't allow them to particpate in NHL camps.

From what I heard, there's going to be two groups practicing tomorrow. The groups will be made up of everyone not playing in the preseason game against Columbus later that evening. I'm planning to stop up and see who's there so I can let all of you know who will be playing in that game.

I'm going to that game, and I'll have my account of it posted after I get home or sometime the next morning...

Day 6: Black Practice, White v. Gold Scrimmage - Posted on September 13, 2000

Practice wasn't much to watch today.

The defensemen were put through a new skating drill though. You start off at the bottom of one of the face-off circles. Skate forward to the top of the circle and stop. Skate backwards to the bottom and stop. Skate forward to the center, transition right to the side, and stop. Skate laterally back to center and transition backwards to the bottom and stop. Skate forward to the center, transition left to the side and stop. Skate laterally back to center and transition back to the bottom.

Each guy (Boughner, Melichar, Buckley, Koci, Slegr, Moran) went thru this drill 2 or 3 times. Buckley looked to have the fastest foot speed. Koci's feet didn't move as fast but he seemed to get thru it in the same amount of time. As I've said before, he's pretty mobile for a guy 6'6".

White v. Gold Scrimmage
-----------------------
Team White, coached by Randy Hillier

Hrdina-Simicek-Jagr
Sonnenberg-Gyori-Corbet
Disch-Fadrny-Protsenko
Tibbetts-Peterson-Crampton

Laukkanen-Rozsival
Slaney-Butenschon
Van Hoof-Robinson

Laing started and Prestifilippo came on at 9:22 of the second.

Team Gold, coached by Rick Kehoe

Gold Team
Beranek-Kraft-Barnaby
Zevahkin-Kolkunov-Morozov
Skvardilo-Verot-Kostopoulos
Hancock-Scherban-MacDonald

Kasparaitis-Jonsson
Ference-Kelleher
Cull-Moore

Hamerlik started and Scally came in at 9:22 of the second.

Period 1
--------
G-Skvardilo (Kostopoulos, Verot) at 4:31.

G-Morozov (unassisted) at 6:02. Morozov went to the net and found a loose puck in front.

Period 2
--------
W-Rozsival (Laukkanen, Protsenko) at 8:10.

Scally(G) and Prestifilippo(W) come in at 9:22.

G-Beranek (Kraft, Barnaby) at 16:29. Kraft made a sweet pass across the goal to Beranek who pushed it into the post but swiped at it again and got it in.

G-Barnaby (unassisted) at 17:12. Barnaby beat Prestifilippo 5-hole on a breakaway.

W-Laukkanen (Jagr) at 17:34.

Period 3
--------
Rozsival was awarded a penalty shot at 7:27 and was stopped by Scally. Skvardilo committed the penalty but I didn't see the ref signal what is was.

Zevahkin was tripped by Crampton at 10:46. Prestifilippo stopped him.

G-Skvardilo (Kostopoulos, Jonsson) at 11:32.

G-Beranek (Kraft, Cull) at 13:53. Kraft made another terrific pass thru the crease to Beranek on a 2-on-1. Beranek converted the pass cleanly this time.

G-Ference (Moore, Barnaby) at 18:02. This goal was incorrectly announced as being assisted by Beranek and Barnaby. Barnaby had the puck behind the goal and circled out to his left, throwing the puck to Moore at the right point. Moore dished to Ference, who skated in from the top of the circle and fired a slapshot from the right edge of the left wing circle.

Stats
-----
Points:
White Team
Laukkanen goal, assist
Rozsival goal
Jagr, Prostensko 1 assist each

Gold Team
Barnaby goal, 2 assists
Beranek, Skvardilo 2 goals each
Kraft, Kostopoulos 2 assists each
Morozov, Ference 1 goal each
Cull, Moore, Verot 1 assist each

Goalies:
Hamerlik (Gold) 13 saves on 14 shots.
Scally (Gold) 16 saves on 17 shots.
Laing (White) 14 saves on 16 shots.
Prestifilppo (White) 12 saves on 17 shots.

Shots:
Gold 11 + 10 + 12 = 33
White 10 + 9 + 12 = 31

Goals:
Gold 2 + 2 + 3 = 7
White 0 + 2 + 0 = 2

Hits:
Gold 6 + 4 + 3 = 13
White 6 + 5 + 6 = 17

Face-offs Won:
Gold 10 + 10 + 15 = 35
White 7 + 11 + 8 = 26

Notes:
------
Before the opening face-off, Matt Barnaby repeatedly told his teammates, "Hey, watch that number 16. He's pretty good." 16 is Jaromir Jagr. ;-)

Chris Kelleher was helped off the ice at 6:21 of the first period. Once he was off the rink, he walked around a little but did not return.

After the horn sounded to end the first period, Bill Tibbetts went over and gave Mark Moore a shove. Moore shoved back, Tibbetts gave him a facewash, and they both dropped their gloves. Tibbetts fired a bunch of punches but it didn't look like he connected with many. Moore did a good job of holding him off and maneuvering around to get Tibbetts in a side headlock (sort of). Moore took him down to the ice and got in a few punches of his own.

Tibbetts had been riled up earlier on in the period but I had thought it was because of something Jason MacDonald did. Maybe I was wrong.

Roman Simicek skated off the ice by himself at 11:32 of the third. He did not return.

Gold(1-1) defeats White(0-2) 7-2. They will play Black(2-0) in the Championship Game tomorrow. The shootout ended in a 7-7 tie. The shootout had no bearing on the final standings any way. Kaspar scored a nice goal during it though. Afterwards he did the "Jiri Slegr Jump into the air and bounce off the glass" celebration. When the landed he fell flat on the ice... =)

Day 5: Gold Practice, Black v. White Scrimmage - Posted on September 12, 2000

There wasn't a lot going on at the Gold Team practice. They did (surprise) a lot of skating and shooting drills.

One drill just for the defensemen started with one guy on the boards near the face-off dot, the other along the opposite boards at the blue line. The first fires it around the boards and skates to the center point area. The second guy stops the puck and passes to the other defenseman. That guy skates backwards a few strides while receiving the pass and shoots. Hans Jonsson and Mark Moore looked good on the shooting end of this drill. Jonsson gets his shot away the quickest of all of them I think.

Matt Barnaby was skating hard in the laps. He was very vocal with encouragement for the rest of the group. When Hlinka was telling them which skating drill they were going to do, he said "This is Chico's drill. Is not mine." =)

I saw Tom Kostopoulos talking with Rick Kehoe after drills were over. Kostopoulos had asked him something and Kehoe was giving him pointers on shooting. Kehoe's a good guy to ask about that. He helped Jagr develop his shot.

Black vs. White Scrimmage

I decided I would try and track shots, hits, and face-offs in addition to getting the lines and goals. After the first period, I was questioning whether or not that was a good idea. The first period ended 5-5, but the game settled down a little after that. Here's the report:

Team Black, coached by Joe Mullen.

Lang-Straka-Kovalev
Crozier-Mathieu-Bonvie
Bellerose-Endicott-Meloche
Parsons-*****-Ouellet

Slegr-Buckley
Koci-Boughner
Melichar-Moran

Hillier started the first, Nickin the second, and Caron the third.
*****Straka, Lang, and Kovalev rotated into this position

Team White, coached by Randy Hillier

Hrdina-Simicek-Jagr
Sonnenberg-Gyori-Corbet
Disch-Fadrny-Protsenko
Tibbetts-Peterson-Crampton

Laukkanen-Rozsival
Slaney-Butenschon
Van Hoof-Robinson

Prestifilippo started, Laing came on at 10:12 of the second

Period 1:

W-Laukkanen (Hrdina) at 0:42
W-Simicek (Jagr, Hrdina) at 5:26
B-Crozier (unassisted) at 5:38
B-Ouellet (unassisted) at 7:16 (This was a very nicely placed slapshot to the top near corner of the net from the right wing circle)
W-Jagr (Slaney, Hrdina) at 9:45
B-Straka (Kovalev) at 10:10
B-Lang (Straka, Kovalev) at 15:56
B-Mathieu (Koci) at 16:10 (Bonvie was in front causing problems when Mathieu let the slapshot go.)
W-Rozsival (Peterson, Hrdina?) at 17:48
W-Simicek (penalty shot Bellerose hook) at 18:41 (Simicek made a good move to the backhand)

Period 2:

W-Jagr (Hrdina) at 0:55 (Hrdina threw a puck to Jagr in the slot. Jagr fought off a check, spinning to his left, and backhanded it 5-hole. It was a stoppable shot though.)
Simicek held by Boughner, stopped by Nicklin at 5:10
Rozsival tripped by Parsons, shot wide at 8:24
Crampton slashed? by Bellerose, stopped by Nicklin at 8:52
Laing replaces Prestifilippo in White goal at 10:12
B-Lang (Ouellet, Parsons) at 17:52 (Lang was stopped on his first shot, but got his own rebound. Both shots were from in tight.)

Period 3:

Sonnenberg cross-checked by Koci, shot wide at 1:22
B-Kovalev (Ouellet) at 6:56
B-Parsons (Kovalev) at 7:15
B-Kovalev (Lang) at 10:00 (Kovalev roofed one to the near upper corner from in close.)
Bellerose cross-checked by Butenschon, stopped by Laing at 13:10
W-Corbet (Gyori, Sonnenberg) at 16:30 (Corbet went up the ladder on Caron from the right wing circle)
W-Jagr (Hrdina) at 19:42
B-Straka (unassisted, empty-net) at 19:52

Shot Totals:
Black 12 + 7 + 11 = 30
White 14 + 6 + 10 = 30

Goals:
Black 5 + 1 + 4 = 10
White 5 + 1 + 2= 8

Hits:
Black 8 + 7 + 3 = 18
White 8 + 7 + 2 = 17

Face-offs Won:
Black 9 + 11 + 13 = 33
White 15 + 10 + 7 = 32

The Black Team also won the shootout 8-4.

Don't take the stats too seriously. I tried to chart them as well as I could, but I know they aren't anywhere close to 100% correct.

Notes:
Rozsival made a nice play to avoid a check and keep the puck in the offensive zone in the first that eventually led to Jagr's first goal.

Tibbetts skated hard to cover a defenseman who had pinched and gotten trapped. He caught up to the puck carrier and knocked him off it. I had him as giving out 7 hits. He and Buckley took a few shots at each other, but there was no fight.

Parsons and Van Hoof met up in the corner. Van Hoof hit him, but Parsons barley moved. The two banged each other for a while, and Parsons pancaked him to the ice and gave him another shot after he was down.

Peterson had Nicklin beat with a slapper near the end of the second, but it hit the pipe and bounced out.

Jagr came down on Koci a couple of times, and both times Koci forced him wide to the boards and knocked him off the puck. Koci must be a pretty strong guy if he can put Jagr on the ice.

Moments later, Hrdina missed the net on a one-timer. He was just off the left post and had almost the whole net to shoot at.

Buckley and Gyori had a pushing and shoving match. It was pretty over with, but one of Gyori's teammates gave Buckley another shot. He thought it was Gyori and the two were separated.

Caron made two good, quick saves in a row on Fadrny in the second half of the third.

Parsons and Sonnenberg were pushing around behind the White goal and the gloves came up. As soon as Parsons dropped his, Corbet dropped his and stepped in. Like yesterday, not may punches, and the two fell to the ice quickly. When Parson came to the bench he was talking about Sonnenberg to Bonvie, but aside from "F***in Sonnenberg" I couldn't make any of it out.

Training Camp, Day 4 - Posted on September 11, 2000

Practice was very dull in comparison to yesterday's scrimmage. They mixed up a few skaters for each group and since there were no new roster sheets put out, I wasn't sure of who was who.

The ran the same 2-on-0 and 2-on-1 drills from Friday, so it was more interesting to watch than the ones they did on Saturday.

Mark Moore and Andrew Ference did a good job on the 2-on-1s. Moore looks to be a pretty strong guy and is good and fighting off the first guy to allow him to get a piece of the second. Ference did a good job of maintaining position on the first guy while keeping his stick free to poke check the puck carrier.

These two, along with David Koci, play 1-on-1's well also. Ference uses the poke check very well here, and he can skate with pretty much anyone one the team. Moore is good at taking the body. He doesn't crush people, but does well at getting a body on them and driving them wide. In the instances that someone got around him, most times he was still able to either knock the puck away or get a piece of the guy to affect his shot. One time a guy got around him and Moore was able to push him hard enough to get him off-balance so he was at a bad shooting angle and couldn't get a hard shot off anyhow.

Koci continues to impress me. I still can't believe a guy 6'6" can skate like he does. Don't get me wrong; he's no Scott Niedermayer. He does move very well for a big man though. I'd like to see him sign a minor league contract and play for WBS this year, but since he's young and the Pens don't rush guys over, I'm guessing he'll return to Czech for at least one more year.

Hlinka skated the heck out these guys again today. One skating drill brought one net out between the face-off dots. The forwards were separated into 4 groups and all of the defensemen were in another. Everyone started at the other end of the rink. One at a time each group did a lap around the net. Each group went five times.

The same groups were used in the other skating drill. Each skater had to carry a puck as they skated. They would start at one end of the rink, skate to center red, stop and turn skate to the blue line, stop and turn, back to center, stop and turn and back to the goal line. Again each group went five times.

Bill Tibbetts was lagging through the skating drill again, but improved from the last time. He not only finished the whole practice, but was the last guy off the ice today. He was on the rink for 3-5 minutes alone shooting, dumping pucks into the corner and digging them out.

Martin Straka was in the third group today, and filled in as a defenseman...

Everyone goes back to their original groups now. Tomorrow Group A practices from 9 to 10:30 and B and C scrimmage at 11.

Camp Day 3: White Practice, Gold v Black Scrimmage - Posted on September 10, 2000

Not much noteworthy happened during the practice session today. Jaromir Jagr was wearing the alternate jersey though.

Jan Hrdina and Jagr were doing a puck-carrying drill and Hrdina's puck got in Jagr's way so he batted it all the way down the rink. Hrdina tried to steal Jagr's, but Jagr held him off with one arm. I guess his shoulder is just fine...

Bill Tibbetts made it through the whole practice today for the first time since camp opened. He was still struggling to catch his breath during laps though. If he doesn't start to pick up soon, he'll be lucky to make it to Wheeling.

In the scrimmage, the Black Team defeated the Gold Team 3-2. Ian Moran scored the game-winner on Mark Scally with about 40 second left in the third.

The Gold Team was coached by Rick Kehoe, and the Black was handled by Joe Mullen.

Here are the lines used for the most part:

Gold Team
Beranek-Kraft-Barnaby
Zevahkin-Kolkunov-Morozov
Skvardilo-Verot-Kostopoulos
Hancock-Scherban-MacDonald

Kasparaitis-Jonsson
Ference-Kelleher
Cull-Moore

Hamerlik started in goal and was relieved by Scally at 12:03 of the second.

Black Team
Lang-Straka-Kovalev
Crozier-Mathieu-Bonvie
Bellerose-Endicott-Meloche
Parsons-*****-Ouellet

Slegr-Boughner
Melichar-Moran
Koci-Buckley

Hillier started the first period, Nicklin, the second, and Caron the third.

*****Team Black only has 11 forwards so they rotates guys on to the 4th unit.

In these scrimmages, the play 3 20 minute, stop-clock periods, with 2 15 minute intermissions. When a penalty occurs, a penalty shot is awarded to the player who was fouled. The player committing the infraction lines up 3/4 from center red to the blue line and chases him in an attempt to stop him. At the end, they play a 5 minute sudden death period 4-on-4. Regardless of the final out come, each skater gets a breakaway on the opposing team.

Here's a running timeline of what happened during today's game:

1st Period
----------
Crozier (Blk) was high-stuck by Verot, Hillier made the save.

Boughner (Blk) took exception to the penalty, and he and Verot dropped the gloves. A few punches were thrown, but there was no real winner. The two exchanged words again later, but nothing else happened between them.

Straka(Blk) scored on Hamerlik from close range at 16:12. Assists to Kovalev and Lang.

2nd Period
----------
Nicklin now in Goal for Black.

Endicott (Blk) was hooked by Kostopoulos. He shot wide right.

Hamerlik (Gld) makes two nice saves. Stops Crozier from the doorstep and Endicott from the high slot.

Scally in goal for Gold at 12:03.

MacDonald (Gld) was hooked by Kovalev. He goes 5-hole on Nicklin and scores at 19:44. MacDonald was ticked about and shoved Kovalev into the glass hard. This was and odd play. Kovalev lined up in position to chase on the penalty shot, but hard skated. After MacDonald scored, Kovalev was talked to one of the refs and a few of the vets on the Gold bench (mainly Barnaby) were giving it to Kovalev about it. Kovalev was unusually ticked off. So much so, he left the ice 16 seconds early and gave the glass a nice two-handed slash on his was out. He swung so hard the blade snapped off and flew out past the blue line. I don't know what set him off. They handled penalties like this last year, plus there had been two occurrences of it in this game already.

3rd Period
----------
Caron now in goal for Black.

Kovalev (Blk) was held by Moore. Moore got a little bit of him, but Kovalev got a good shot away that was stopped by Scally.

Caron (Blk) made a nice save on Morozov from in tight on a bang-bang play.

Kaspar (Gld) was slashed by Meloche.

Slegr (Blk) scored on Caron from the high slot at 10:19. Assists to Straka and Kovalev. It was almost a breakaway attempt by Kovalev but Ference showed good speed to catch him. Slegr trailed the play and beat the other defenseman (Kelleher, I think) to the slot.

Endicott (Blk) had a breakaway attempt stopped by Scally who came charging out of the crease. He slid at Endicott, trapping the puck before he could make a move or take a shot. Scally would stone him again from in close moments later.

Kelleher was tripped by Endicott. He went 5-hole on Caron and scored at 16:37.

Barnaby (Gld) and Parsons went at it. Parsons had been pushing and shoving with another Gold player near the Gold net. Barnaby who had tried to get Parson to go earlier, charged in and the two paired off. Like the earlier fight, there were a few punches thrown, but no clear winner. Parsons is 6'3", 220 and Matt is 6'0, 189. Parsons managed to rack up 241 penalty minutes in 29 games with Madison of the UHL last year.

Moran (Blk) scores on Scally at 19:19. There was a scramble around the net, and either Moran found the loose puck or Kovalev found Moran. Moran punched it home. That was your game winner, as Team Black defeats Team Gold 3-2.

Scrimmage Wrap-up:
------------------
In the shootout competition, Kasparaitis made a real nice move on Caron, but Caron sprawled back to his right and snagged it with his glove. It was a terrific save, but a bunch of the guys were on Kaspar's case anyway. =)

Black won the shootout 7-6 on the last shooter which was Straka. It was Straka's second chance at the shootout because Team Black only has 11 forwards.

Black dominated play most of the game as they should have in my opinion. The line of Lang-Straka-Kovalev had a talent level that was unmatched by anything the Gold team could have put up. They also had the edge in goaltending and defense too.

Morozov is serious about trying to better himself. He did not shy away from hits, and actually initiated a few of his own. He was fighting through checks and got angry at himself a few times for not finishing plays.

David Koci, who Sven Butenschon is calling "a monster on skates" looked good too. He was originally credited with an assist on the first goal, but it was later given to Lang. He's pretty mobile and moves the puck well. He's also very strong and can move people out of his crease.

There was a lot more contact in this scrimmage than I remember in any of the ones I saw last year. Bodies were flying everywhere. Koci, Parsons, Bellerose, Bonvie, Crozier, and Boughner were laying solid hits for the Black Team. Moore, Verot, Kostopoulos, Hancock, and MacDonald answered back for Gold.

Andrew Ference played a good defensive game. He seemed to be out against Kovalev and lot and skated right with him.

No scrimmages tomorrow, the official site syas "Mixed Practices" from 8am to 1:30, whatever that means. The Camp Tournament resumes on Tuesday, with Black playing White at 11am. Gold plays White on Wednesday at 11am. The two squads with the best record will meet on Thursday at 11 for the Championship Game. Friday is the preseason opener at Mellon Arena vs. Columbus.

Training Camp, Day 2 - Posted on September 09, 2000

All the groups stayed the same except for two changes. Sebastien Caron was moved to the second groups, presumably to spread out the time among all the goalies in camp. Shane Endicott didn't oversleep today, so he was back in Group B where he should have been yesterday.

Group A:

Mark Scally may not even be offered a minor league contract, but he is very fun to watch. He plays a very acrobatic style, sort of like Hasek does.

Milan Kraft looked good again. I honestly don't know if the people who knock him in scouting reports have ever seen him play. I read one where his skating was listed as a con and he's a very good skater. Another said he was inconsistent and lacked intensity, which, according to an interview I read with his junior coach, is the farthest thing from the truth...

Alexander Zevahkin also looked good today. He's a decent skater, made a bunch of good passes, and was shooting very well.

Group B:

I watched Shane Endicott a little closer today. The reports on his skating are correct, sort of. From a stop, it takes a while for him to get going. After that, he's fine.

David Koci skated well again too. He made a lot of crisp passes. His shot is okay.

Greg Crozier was skating and shooting well too.

Dennis Bonvie threaded a pass thru Jiri Slegr to Martin Straka for one-time goals twice, and the rest of the guys let him hear about it too.

Alexei Kovalev burned Bob Boughner to set up Robert Lang for a goal too. Boughner got to hear all about it from the guys too. =)

Group C:

Jaromir Jagr's shoulder must not be bothering him much, if at all. He was shooting pretty hard with no problems.

Boris Protsenko was shooting very well, as was Jan Fadrny. Fadrny was also passing well and skating strong.

Bill Tibbetts went of the ice at 1:45 for the second consecutive day. He was still struggling with catching his breath, but not as bad. He was skating pretty hard in the drills, but not during laps. He has a heavy shot, but I'm not sure on the accuracy though.

The drills they ran today weren't as fun to watch. None of them involved any contact. It was all skating and shooting.

Tomorrow should be better. There's at practice at 9:15, supposedly followed by a scrimmage according to one of the local papers.

Check back tomorrow. I've never tried to score a whole game by myself, but I hope to have a box score for all of you.

Day 1, Groups B (Black), and C (White) - Posted on September 08, 2000

Group B (Black):

Shane Endicott was supposed to skate in this group but wasn't there. I think he showed up in the third group later. All that means is this group had 10 forwards instead of 11.

Here's who was skating with whom:

Straka-Lang-Kovalev
Crozier-Mathieu-Bonvie
Meloche-Bellerose (forwards)
Ouellet-Parsons (forwards)

Melichar-Moran
Slegr-Boughner
Koci-Buckley

Goalies were Hillier and somebody name Brant Nicklin.

Coaches present were Hlinka, Hillier, and Mullen. I saw Kehoe up in Jay's talking with Craig Patrick and his brother, whose name escapes me right now. (RJ's note: Glenn Patrick)

David Koci, who was just drafted this past summer, is a tree of a young guy. He skates well, especially for such a big kid. He is strong on his skates, and does not get pushed around at all.

Steven Parsons, a forward, looked to be almost as big as Koci. Parsons is strictly a North-South guy. No flash in him at all, he just comes right at you. He and Koci clashed a few times, neither backing down. Nothing close to a fight though.

Koci also traded slashes with Bonvie. No big deal here either as they tapped each other on the pads and laughed a few moments later.

Alex Mathieu still has wheels. He was one of the fastest guys on the ice today. He also has a very hard slapshot, although it seemed to be a little off the mark today. He definitely skates well enough to be an NHL player though.

Group C (White):

First, the who's who:

Hrdina-Simicek-Jagr
Sonnenberg-Gyori-Corbet
Disch-Fadrny-Protsenko
Tibbetts-Petersen-Crampton

Endicott alternated into the 4th combo, moving Tibbetts off the line and putting Petersen on left wing.

Laukkanen-Rozsival
Slaney-Butenschon
Van Hoof-Robinson

Tending goal were Joel Laing and JR Prestifilippo.

Coaches were Hlinka, Hillier and Kehoe.

Roman Simicek looks like he can play. He's no all-star, but he does everything well. He made a few very nifty passes today.

Steven Crampton is another North-South guy that looked to have a very heavy shot...

Now I know you all probably want to hear about what Bill Tibbetts looked like. He skates well and looked okay at first, but after that it was all downhill for him. It looked like he was having trouble catching his breath halfway thru the session. He was lagging behind during laps, and almost ran into Simicek during one drill. He wasn't receiving passes well at all, and ended up leaving the ice about 15 minutes before the session was done.

There was an extra forward in this group that wasn't on the roster I had. I'm pretty sure it was Endicott after moving down by the glass to take a closer look. He is a very big guy. His skating didn't look that bad, and that is supposedly the knock on him.

General notes from all three groups:

Ivan Hlinka seems to run a very up-tempo practice. All of the drills done today involved skating up and down the ice, plus he has the players skate laps. During the laps, you can hear his voice booming all throughout the rink. Several times he would slap his stick on the ice or smack guys in the butt as they went by to get them moving.

They ran basically three drills in all of the groups.

The first had two guys skate one at a time in on breakaways. After the first guy shot, he would stop on either side of the goalie and the second guy worked a give and go with him, the second guy shooting.

The next drill had 2 forwards and 1 defenseman. The d-man passed a puck to a forward in the corner, and then had to defend the 2-on-1, the second forward starting out high in the offensive zone. Most times, the first forward would pass out to his partner then drive the net, trying to take the d-man out of the play. It was fun to watch.

The third drill used 1 set of forwards and 2 pair of d-men. They went up and down the ice a few times. The first set of d-men would practice breakouts to the forwards, and the other 2 had to defend against the 3-on-2 attack. After a shot they would go the other way down the rink with the defensive pairing switching roles.

Day 1, Group A (Gold) - Posted on September 08, 2000

Here are the lines used in this practice:

Barnaby-Kraft-Beranek
Zevahkin-Kolkunov-Morozov
Skvardilo-Verot-Kostopolous
MacDonald-Scherban-Hancock

Kaspar-Jonsson
Kelleher-Ference
Cull-Moore

The goalies were Caron, Hamerlik, and Scally...

It was unusually cold in there this morning, so if you are heading out to watch later, dress warm. And bring some firewood... =)

Hlinka, Mulen, and Kehoe were out running all of the drills, and I saw nothing to indicate that there are problems between any of them...

Milan Kraft looked good. He is a terrific skater and has good puck skills too. But we all knew that, didn't we? He looks like he added some weight over the summer...

Aleksey Morozov *looks* to be bigger. Take that with a grain of salt though; it's the first day of camp, and I haven't seen him for a while. He was shooting all the time in drills. I think he may be changing his number, as the 95 on the back of his helmet was not there. Also gone are the fancy Nike skates. Maybe he's trying to shed his Nurse title...

I'll have more later, including the roster showing who's in what group...

Opening Day of Camp - Posted on September 07, 2000

There wasn't a whole lot going on today. There were 10-15 skaters on the ice plus two goalies. I didn't stay that long. There were no roster sheets to be found, which didn't matter because no one had numbered jerseys. You can report a whole lot if you don't know who you're watching. =)

Five guys were shooting on one goalie, rebounds were fair game. At the other end a few guys were taking shots one at a time on another goalies. Then you had two guys at center skating and passing back and forth.

Paul Steigerwald was there, filming a piece for the evening news. I couldn't make out everything said, but he talked about Milan Kraft and Roman Simicek. I thought I heard that Simicek will skate with Jaromir Jagr tomorrow, but I could be completely wrong. I guess I'll have to tune in after I get home from work and see.

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