Sunday, July 12, 2009

Practice Observation from My Friend Doug

Some things I saw yesterday (we only saw the second session, so we did not see some of the players):

1. Tavares is one of those guys that doesn't seem like he's doing a whole hell of a lot- until he lets that shot go. He ripped one into the net from the inside of the right circle yesterday. The goalie didn't move until after it hit the twine. This is something we have needed since Zigmund Palffy got on a plane to Los Angeles and didn't come back. I don't really give a darn if he does NOTHING ELSE, to be honest with you.

2. I can see why Calvin de Haan was drafted in the first round. He's very smart in his own end of the ice. On every two on one that he defended, the player with the puck took the shot, which is what you want. Very good positionally, and a good passer. He'll be here soon. Probably not this year, but soon.

3. As for some of the others who stood out for positive reasons: I liked Ridderwall and DiBenedetto, and both for the same reason- they hustle. Lee has some talent as well, although he needs to get stronger. Matt Martin is a big boy; he will be a solid player in the NHL- what that means in terms of scoring, I'm not sure, but he can play. Rakhshani is quick, and very talented, but he is definitely on the smaller side, so that will be a question until we see him play against NHL players. Poulin did a very good job of keeping the puck out of his net, considering the amount of times they had three guys coming at him with one or no defensemen in front of him- I guess the Quebec League helped with training for that situation...LOL.

4. The negatives: the goalie at the other end of the ice wasn't nearly as good, IMO (Lawson?). The defenseman MacDonald doesn't look fast enough to play regularly in the NHL, to be honest with you. Most of the other defensemen need work. Kohn was decent, but he's nothing special, IMO. That said, we just have to remember at this point that these are all kids, so it will be a while before we can figure out whether or not they really will be any good.

One negative I forgot about: OK, so you have a practice session where fans are in attendance. These kids work their tails off on the ice, and they come out the side door of the building hungry, and then get mobbed for autographs. No one knows who they are, unless they ask. Some come out the side, and some come out the front to go to the bus. Nobody says anything about what the plan is, so no one knows who will show up where or when.

The good news is, this organization seems to finally have turned the corner in terms of legitimate talent, with a plan and a goal in mind, on ice. Off the ice, however, it is still an absolute disaster. All I kept thinking yesterday was this: I could have planned this better myself. Just that thought alone says it all, because "cruise director" is normally my wife's role in our family.

I mean, seriously: bring the food inside to them, so they can eat in peace. Then bring them out five or ten at a time, to sit at tables and sign autographs. I don't know, maybe have a card on the table with the player's name on it, so one might know who they are. That would have taken 30 seconds to plan, and about five minutes to set up. Yeah, I know, I just found something to bitch about, as usual, but you have to admit that was ridiculous, and it wouldn't have been hard to do the right way.


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