Sunday, September 16, 2007

Training camp notes -- Day 3

Sunday was a bit more relaxed than Friday or Saturday. Instead of using both rinks simultaneously, the "game group" had pregame skate at 8:30, and the non-game group came on at 9:40.

Colors, lines and d-pairings
Red: LaVallee, Fretter, Stoesz, Haydar, Deveaux, Doell
Navy: Hossa, Holik, Kozlov, Boulton, Machacek, Hamilton
Lt blue: Havelid, Zhitnik
Yellow: Enstrom, McCarthy
Grey: Denny, Fahey

I watched Tobias Enstrom the most today. He made a really nice long bomb pass to a player as he crossed the blue line (I think it was Deveaux). He made another great pass to defensive partner McCarthy -- from the boards he backhanded it with zip, right to his stick. Enstrom holds onto the puck longer than you expect -- until he sees an option he likes. Coach Brad McCrimmon spoke to him several times after his turn in game-like drills, pointing out adjustments to make. The only issues I noticed today was failing to keep the puck in because he had moved over towards the middle and doesn't have the reach to get to pucks coming up the wall quickly, and another time he had sunked too far down into the zone.

Nic Havelid is still stick shopping. After drills, he and Enstrom were passing with each other and Havelid had Enstrom switch sticks with him. He tried it out for a while and then compared the curves. He has a couple more weeks to find something he likes.

Jordan LaVallee continues to look very solid. Today he was part of a three-man unit defending against the top five players and he had a nice PK type clear, poking the puck away from Havelid. His first-step quickness looks good.

One prediction I want to go on record as making: Brett Sterling, being a small guy, will get roughed up around the net, and Ilya Kovalchuk will step in to his defense, even from the get-go. Kovalchuk has stepped in to defend his 5'10 mentor Kozlov many times over the years, and I think he will feel the same protective instincts towards Sterling. Kovalchuk's a bigger guy than most realize, and with a bit of a temper, would probably fight a lot more if the coaches would let him.

I'll have an injury update later today after I transcribe some things.

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