Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
Camp 2003, Sept. 15
September 15, 2003
Injury updates: Ramzi Abid was out for the first practice session, but left after 10 minutes or so, and was not seen on the ice for the rest of the day. Dan Focht returned to practice and went through the entire first session without any apparent problems. He did not play in the scrimmages though. Lukas Bolf went off midway though a scrimmage and did not return. I think it was from blocking a shot. Drake Berehowsky took two shots off the same foot but continued to play.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin played well for most of his part of the Black team's game, making a couple of pretty good saves. You could even hear him talking to his teammates, which is not very common for him. However, in typical Aubin fashion, all of that good work was seemingly erased by the one he did let in. Ross Lupaschuk let go of a fluttering wrist shot from the right point. It went through about 5 people before hitting him in the chest and dribbling in. I am pretty sure he didn't see it until it hit him, but it was still a dog of a goal to give up.
Lupaschuk added an assist in the first game and scored another goal in the second, but player of the day was Marc-Andre Fleury by a wide margin. The official site is reporting 41 saves, but that sound a touch high. I had thought it was closer to the mid-30s. Take nothing away from him though; he was very good today. Toby Petersen's goal was off a rebound and Fleury had slid out a little too far to be able to stop him. Fleury had no chance on Matt Murley's goal. Aleksey Morozov stole a puck and quickly moved it over to Murley, who was uncovered. Outside of the Petersen goal, Fleury's rebounds were much better today. His lateral movement is pretty good and he is excellent at keeping his shoulders square to the shooter, even when he drops down or is moving across his crease.
Steve McKenna filled in on defense for the Gold team and actually had 1 pretty good offensive shift. He picked up the puck in his own end, built up a head of steam and lugged it a little before snapping a pretty good outlet pass to another teammate. It didn't result in a goal, but they got a decent chance out of it.
I think people will end up seeing that the Mike Eastwood and Kelly Buchberger signings were good. Everyone knows about the leadership both were brought in for, but both are still very capable players. Eastwood will take over Manderville's spot, which is an upgrade. Eastwood is much better on draws, and while scoring is not a strength for him, I don't think 10-15 is out of the question. Buchberger is a smart player and he can still skate very well.
Kris Beech appears to be playing with a little more edge this year. He finishes more checks and is going into traffic more. That said, he needs to produce more. His goal today was his first and he got a little lucky to get it. His first shot was right into the goalie, but the rebound came back to him. Beech looks really good next to Milan Kraft though. Kraft was invisible for most of the time he was out. Most of the times you did notice him, it was because of a bad pass, poor decision, or a sub-par shot. Right now, I don't think Kraft makes the team, waiver-exemption or not. Beech is iffy.
Rico Fata centered Konstantin Koltsov and Eric Meloche a couple of times again today. The speed on that line is just scary. I hope they use that trio in the preseason to see what they can do.
During the Gold-White game, Sebastien Caron left the game for a bit and Martin Brochu was not out on the bench, so Andy Chiodo switched teams for the time being. McKenna was talking to him as he skated over to the other side. I think he was telling Chiodo to let a couple in. Eventually, Brochu came out, but not before Chiodo made a few good saves, including one very impressive glove save from the splits. As Chiodo skated back to the Gold bench, McKenna and a couple of the other guys were giving Chiodo grief about not giving up anything and all he could do was shrug his shoulder and throw up his hands.
Finally, I've read a lot about how coaching on this team will be a weakness or is questionable at best. Give them a chance. I wasn't thrilled with the hiring of Eddie Olczyk when it happened, but I liked what he had to say. After two day of watching him and his staff, I urge everyone to give these guys a chance. These guys are not just running drills out there. They are actually coaching. Lorne Molleken, as he did yesterday, spent half of each practice working one-on-one with each goaltender. I saw Olczyk talking individually with a couple of different players, pointing out things to each and showing them what they should do. During one of the drills, he blew the whistle and stopped everyone. He skated in to the middle of them and told them what he wanted to see, moving to different areas and showing them himself. When they started back up, everyone ratcheted up the intensity a little. Olczyk is definitely very into this job and I have no doubts about the effort he'll put forth. With his personality and drive, I expect all of his staff to do the same.
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