It was an exciting day for hockey fans on Monday as a number of teams including the Florida Panthers started their first official practices for the rookies. Here’s a couple of reports out of camp, I don’t have plans to post updates often unless something spectacular is reported out of camp so check the links.
We have reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season along with reasons to not get our hopes up just yet. We’ll know more when October arrives, the lineup is complete, and games have started being played. Until that happens we’ll continue to read how great everyone looks and the potential they have.
From Litter Box Cats:
A few quick thoughts: Evgeny Dadonov appeared in game-ready condition; he’s a smaller guy, but quick and possessing a nice wrister. Dmitry Kulikov is similar in size, with a Keith Ballard-ish stature and a hint of what may be toughness. Certainly was not out of place among his brethren. A number of participants seemed to be a half-step behind the drills, but I had to continually remind myself that this is Day One; midseason form we ain’t gonna get. Michal Repik remains the speedster he was at last year’s camp. The current Amerks unquestionably were comfortable with each other, having a year (or more) behind them on the same bench. Shawn Matthias and James DeLory bearing down on the offensive zone will give goaltenders heart attacks: they are absolutely gigantic around the net. Ditto for Keaton Ellerby, Adam Comrie, and Colby Robak. These are big doods. Alexander Salak looked slick in an evil black-only mask, but seemed a bit out of place, and I can’t put my finger on why. Tyler Plante – still a hulking 6-3 before skates – put up the superior fight.
“I thought (center Shawn) Matthias was in great shape and looked leaner and faster,” DeBoer said. “I thought (defenseman Keaton) Ellerby and (defenseman Jason) Garrison looked like they were in good shape and ready to grab a job.”
Garrison, who had 35 points in 75 games last year for the Panthers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., had been working out since the middle of June in preparation for camp.
“I really started hitting hard the middle of July,” Garrison said. “Obviously, it was a tough practice but it’s good to get in there and get a feel for everything. You couldn’t ask for anything different. We have a hard-working coach and he expects a lot out of you.”
Repik, who led Rochester in goals (19) last season and scored two with the Panthers, said; “We know how hard we practice from last year. We know what Pete wants from us so we expect it to be hard and we expect the hard drills.”
Picture courtesy of Litter Box Cats