MAIN CAMP: THOUGHTS 2.0
Things certainly felt more serious Monday night at Hurricanes training camp. It seemed clear that the players realized what was on the line and the result was a chippy, physical game. On more than one occasion players got into heated battles that resulted in a shoving match. The tension was palpable.
Things certainly felt more serious Monday night at Hurricanes training camp. It seemed clear that the players realized what was on the line and the result was a chippy, physical game. On more than one occasion players got into heated battles that resulted in a shoving match. The tension was palpable. Lindgren and Pankewicz were involved in a scuffle and some verbal jarring as well as Reagan and Scott Allan. It’s great to see the passion and determination boiling over. I get the impression that players really want to make the team this year and that fierce competition has forced some of the vets to elevate their game. Great sign for the long-term health of the club.
Here are a few more observations from Monday’s evening ice time.
Bellerive, Franklin, White: One of the most effective forward lines for either team on Monday evening. Scored a number of great goals. All three players were contributing to the overall success of the line. I cannot say enough good things about the play of Zane Franklin in particular. It seemed like every time he lost the puck it somehow found itself back within seconds. On Bellerive’s first goal, both Franklin and White were able to turn what looked like a broken play into a sweet feed. On the goal pictured, Franklin (12 Blue) entered the zone with the puck, had it stripped away, then immediately fought for it back, managing to hold the line, shoved it deep, then got open for the one-timer. He (Franklin), scored another goal in the middle part of the game late in a shift by capitalizing on a rebound left by the side of the net. Franklin capped the evening off by leveling both Atwal and Thunder Chief with hits only seconds apart.
All three of these guys are looking like they are ready to be difference makers but Franklin (#12 blue pictured above) has been the standout in my eyes.
Johnny Welsey: Found himself in just the right place at the right time and buried a goal for White early in the game. Good on him.
Davis: Scored an opportune goal thanks in-part to the efforts of Egor Babenko.
Ben Duperreault: This guy was a machine tonight, recording a hat trick and making it look easy. His first goal was a beauty, shooting far side post and in on Jaden Sittler. From there, Duppereault was good to cash in on some opportunistic bounces and rebounds to get two more goals. Was great to see him make a big impact tonight.
Justin Gutierrez: Has shown flashes of offensive ability, scoring again tonight. He went glove side shelf for team White early in the game.
Scott Allan: The former Tiger is a big guy and uses it to his advantage. His long reach allows him to cover so much ground. It also makes up for some of his shortcomings which is fantastic. Like many of the tallest players, Allan sometimes struggles with control when the puck ends up in his feet. With a long stick it can be really tricky to play with finesse when the puck gets in tight to your feet and it’s absolutely not something uncommon in taller players. Overall I was impressed and was happy to see/hear him shooting back at Brady Reagan when they shared words. Allan is a big part of the logjam on the backend. He, like a few other defensemen, controls his own fate. His size alone gives him the inside track on other players.
Josh Tarzwell: Was fighting the puck a little Monday night. Was pretty tough on himself after missing a perfect breakout pass that would have sent him in virtually alone from his own blueline. Could have just been a case of trying a little too hard and getting frustrated. Had an assist on Allan’s goal.
Giorgio Estephan: Has looked extremely impressive posting numerous goals and assisting on many more. He sniped low blocker on Sittler in the first half of Monday evening’s game. I really noticed how good he can be with stick handling through traffic. On more than one occasion he emerged from a crowd of defenders with the puck – quickly dishing it off to an open man.
Brett Kitt and Johnny Wesley: Hooked up for a brilliant break away pass and zone entry but whiffed after beating the goaltender. Nice play, just couldn’t finish the job.
Tyler Prince (pictured above): Isn’t the smoothest skater in camp. Has a bit of a short, rough stride. Nothing that can’t be fixed. Was really impressed with his defensive game. Had a shift later in the game where he consecutively got his stick in passing lanes and saved scoring opportunities.
Connor Lyons: At times it was a bit of a tough night for Connor. He seemed to be in great position for most of the game but wasn’t getting much luck. He seemed to be fighting the puck on more than one occasion. It was either hoping over his stick, or he was whiffing on a shot/pass. Seems like he has solid hockey IQ. Was robbed along the ice at the side of the net by G Josh Breznik. Would benefit from softening up his stick handling ever so slightly as it seemed to let him down a few times tonight. I did, however, notice he made one or two fantastic hand-eye plays to knock the puck down that deserve a mention. He also scored and I want to be sure to note that my overall impression was positive.
Arvin Atwal: Was really pushing for goals tonight. Continues to show offensive flare. Rang a hard shot off the iron at one point. Had a few assists. Plays with emotion at all times. He isn’t afraid to pinch down low and generally made really good reads. Always managed to get back in position quickly.
Stuart Skinner: Looked good once again. By my count only allowed one or two goals, neither of which was a clean shot. Again, made an incredible desperation save with his paddle. Gotta admire his competitive drive.
Egor Babenko: Again stood out as a difference maker. His skill continues to manifest itself in different ways. Between Sunday and Monday I was struck by his willingness and desire to aggressively drive the net. He almost had some big run-ins with Skinner on both nights driving hard to the front with the puck. He might have to get used to taking a beating from bigger opposition defensemen if he hopes to keep that up during the season. Based on limited viewings, I think he could score around 30 goals this season. He is good. Generates a ton of speed when exiting his zone with the puck – pushing defenders back and making room for teammates. He played a significant role in generating the Jacob Ashton 5 on 3 goal when Wong and Merezhko were sitting for Blue. He is extra effective on the powerplay with more open ice available.
Igor Merezhko: Didn’t really notice him tonight. I think that is actually a good thing. He is the kind of player that is having a great night if you don’t really notice him too much. Just kind of plods along and does his thing. Going to take some time but
Bready Reagan: I felt he played another good game. Made a really nice slap pass to Barret Sheen to beat Stuart Skinner. Gets invested in the game. Was paired with Cody Allen for much of the game.
Drayton Thunder Chief: Laid a huge offensive zone hit on Brandon Kennedy (much to the joy of his teammates).
Honorable Mentions: Nick Watson, Ayden Roche-Setoguchi, Tyler Wong, Brett Davis
All together it was another good day at 2015 Hurricanes training camp. I am writing this late into the night and apologize for any spelling errors or poor grammar. Proof reading, at least for the remainder of the evening, will have to wait. Tonight (Tuesday) marks the end of formal camp as preparations for the first exhibition game begin from this point out. Reminder to bring a non-perishable tomorrow as admission to the inter-squad game. Hope to see you there.