The Amerks finished day two ofn training camp with some drills and what Chuck Weber called a controlled scrimmage. Its still impossible to really predict how the team will do but one thing is very different and that’s the way training camp and practices seem to be run.
(More on practices below info about Thomas, Fast and Hudson)
Bill Thomas was one of the first players signed by the Panthers when free agency started and while he had one great season with the San Antonio Rampage he hasn’t had a year like that since. He was impressive in camp this morning with his speed and handling of the puck while playing as a center.
“He’s a veteran guy that has played both center and wing, with the injury to Cullen we’re trying him out there at center,” Chuck Weber said about Bill Thomas. “Ideally he’s going to play right wing but in a pinch we can play him at center.”
Weber is looking for Thomas to be a veteran presence and use his size to get up and down the wing, bang some bodies and create some space that will create scoring opportunities.
Another player that looked impressive today was defenseman TJ Fast. Fast was acquired in the trade that sent Graham Mink to the St Louis Blues organization. His last name fits the way he can skate on the ice. As Weber put it, “he’s an unbelievable skater.”
While his skating is great the unknown about Fast is his defensive abilities. He can put points on the board but as a defenseman stopping the other team is also a needed skill. Having Mink still on the team would have been great but time to make due with what we do have and Fast could be a regular.
Carl Hudson is a well known name to RIT hockey fans and also Amerks fans for his role at the end of the 09/10 season on defense. The Panthers saw something in him as well when they offered him a contract over the summer. The one thing that the Panthers did not know was that he was in need of shoulder surgery. I met Mike Santos today who said that Hudson failed his physical and was basically told to get it sorted out. The injury occurred when he was playing with Canisius College which means its not something the Panthers have to get taken care of. If Hudson does need shoulder surgery as they think he will not be back until halfway through the season assuming everything goes well.
Michael Caruso was not on the ice practicing today, he woke up under the weather and was given the day off.
Tyler Plante is back in town and ready for his 4th season in an Amerks uniform. Plante admits that Jacob Markstrom is an awesome goalie but don’t expect Plante to just sit back and let Markstrom be the #1 goalie.
Talking about practices, this is my 4th season writing about the Amerks and I can only compare new coach Chuck Weber to the last season of Randy Cunneyworth, the Groulx years and what I’ve seen from visiting coaches. Judging off of what has been said and talked about already with Weber he should be a welcome change behind the bench. He is one of the first people on the ice and one of the last off.
After only two practices he’s not as worried about conditioning on the ice right now with hard practices as he is the mental aspect and team elements in. The ice gets chewed up quick and they don’t want to risk any early injuries. Also, a majority of the players on the ice now will not be with the Amerks when the regular season. Weber is already planning ahead for call ups mid season and wants to know what these guys are capable of when holes need to be filled in the Amerks roster.
Duco, Repik, Dadonov and Grant will likely be on the ice tomorrow for the Amerks scrimmage game on Wednesday night at 7pm at Blue Cross Arena. The scrimmage is free and open to everyone, plan to be there!
(Posted from my DroidX so please forgive any grammar or bad spelling mistakes)