The one thing that sucks about cheering for a team 21 hours south of you, is you can't make it out to the training camps. Luckily for me, and for all of you, PKLC has friends around the world. Scott Pantall was gracious enough to write up an amazing post about the Colorado Avalanche Rookie Camp.
This year I had the joy of checking out the Rookie Camp for the Colorado Avalanche. It was 3 days of drills and scrimmages performed by the Avalanche prospects as well as a lot of the players already on the roster. Each day was broken up into 3 sections: first the rookies would perform drills, then the veterans would come out and do drills with the rookies. Then they would scrimmage, playing black vs. gray jerseys until they tired themselves out. After the scrimmage would be a free skate where players would practice stickhandling, passing or shooting. The only day there wasn't a scrimmage was the 3rd day. There weren't many veterans that day and I'm sure the rookies were tired after 3 days of hard skating.
Anyway, on to the players! That's why you're reading this right? We'll start with known names first:
38 - Joey Hishon (Center): Drafted in the first round in 2010 by the Avalanche. He has some skills! He looked great in the rookie-only drills. During the 2-1 drills on day 1 he beat goalie, Brandon Maxwell every time. When going up against the veterans though, his confidence didn't look like it was there. He wasn't the same player. It'll get there in time.
6 - Jonas Holos (Defenseman): I don't know how to type that o with the line through it. Anyways, Holos looked ok. I didn't notice him much. I saw him miss a pass to Foote in the offensive zone during one of the scrimmages. Foote responded by impatiently passing the puck back to the goalie. Like Hishon, he looked nervous with the veterans but good against the other rookies. I attribute his mistakes to nerves. It's his first NHL training camp. I say give him some time. Here's a video of Holos during one of the drills:
8 - Kevin Shattenkirk (Defenseman): If you're a Shattenkirk fan I'm sorry. I didn't really notice him which isn' t necessarily a bad thing. Nothing about him stuck out as lacking but nothing that stuck out well either.
Now on to some names you might not have heard of but these are my favorite rookies...
14 - Mike Carman (Center): Carman was by far my favorite rookie. It was fun watching Carman play in the scrimmages. During the scrimmage on Day 1 he hooked up with Cody McLeod for 3 goals. I also saw him deke past Foote during the game. He's confident in traffic and doesn't seem to be intimidated at all. If only the Avalanche weren't already stacked at the center position....oh well.
3 - Cameron Gaunce (Defenseman): "We need more big, physical defensemen" is one of those things I hear a lot about the Avalanche. Here is someone who could be an answer to that. At 6', 203 lbs he doesn't stand out but he's very physical. On Day 1 he was already pissing people off. During the "Race for the puck, 2-0" drill he lost the race against Wacey Hamilton, but pestered him the whole way down the ice which earned Gaunce a stare-down after the drill. Here's a video from day 3 of Gaunce during the "Race for the puck, 2-0" drill. If you beat him, he'll just trip you...
Some notes about the veterans: Almost the entire Avalanche roster was there. The only one I didn't notice there was Matt Duchene, but I hear he was across the country doing promo stuff. Kyle Cuminsky still looks younger than all the rookies. Cody McLeod is intense! Not only did he skate hard during the drills and scrimmages, after the scrimmage on Day 1 he convinced some other players to do sprints from goal line to goal line. Then he did tip-in drills with one of the rookies shooting the puck at him. Brandon Yip showed some good speed and endurance at the end of the scrimmage on Day 2. I hope he can keep that up all year. Peter Mueller looks like a pirate.
More pictures from the camp can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54012974@N02/
More short video clips can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/aspantall
HUGE thanks to Scott for this great post, all HTMLed and everything. (makes my job easier) Look for a post this weekend about the main Avs Camp by Anyone But Detroit's Sean Payton.