On Monday Hockey and Booze writer/friend of the site Justin Azevedo attended the Flames development camp. The following are his thoughts and observations on the prospects and organization.
10 Things from Calgary Flames Development Camp, Day One
-I arrived quite a bit early to the session, and as such got to be close to the brain
trust (Jay Feaster, Craig Conroy and Brent Sutter) for the entire ice time. I picked
up a few things-like when Jarome Iginla called Brad Richards as part of the
Flames pitch to the UFA, his immediate reaction about signing him was negative
(Conroy’s exact words when talking about this were "No way we’re going to get
him"). Feaster and Richards talked until 12ET July 2 about his decision, and also
mentioned the main reasons they weren’t able to get Richards signed were the
travel schedule, the lack of close proximity to PEI and the lack of playoff games
over the past two years-but Feaster also said that Pat Brisson (Richards’ agent)
thought that Calgary made far and away the best pitch. Miikka Kiprusoff also
contacted Richards. Towards the end of the ice time, Feaster mentioned that
Kipper was "made available" to teams at the draft and that the Flames, after the
announcement of Anton Babchuk’s new contract, were "full right now" and " we
have our backs to the cap wall".
-Not everyone was out there today. There was dry land testing right before the
ice time and it ran late, so I’m guessing that’s the reason that guys like TJ Brodie,
Bryan Cameron, Lance Bouma and Max Reinhart weren’t strutting their stuff.
-The three guys that really impressed me today were Greg Nemisz, Paul Byron
and Markus Granlund. It’s expected for the first two, seeing as they were the only
ones on the ice that have NHL experience, but Granlund was a nice surprise.
At one point there was a drill where the two players were racing for a puck,
and Granlund was the only player to backcheck and put pressure on his man-
everyone else just lazily skated away. He, along with Sven Baertschi and Mitch
Wahl were the last ones off the ice-almost 15 minutes after the end of practice.
-Keith Seabrook will be 23 in less then a month and he was, by far, the worst
defenseman out there. He had no command of the puck, lacked even mediocre
skating technique and struggled with his shot.
-The camp roster that was handed out lists John Gaudreau at 5’8 and 150
pounds. I believe the 150 pounds part of it, but he walked by me when I was
arriving and my eyes were over top of his head-I’d say 5’5, maybe 5’6.
-Ryan Howse is exactly as advertised. If you asked me to describe him with three
words, I’d use big, lumbering and accurate. He does have a laser of a shot, yes,
but he gets caught easily. Likewise, I didn’t even notice Roman Horak was out
there until 30 minutes into the practice.
-Joni Ortio was the only goalie out there-sporting some nice new white pads-and
he was stopping all of the routine stuff.
-Joey Leach was paired up with his sometimes partner in Kootenay, James
Martin, as much as possible. They were easily the two best defenders out there
by my eye.
-As for SVEN, I didn’t really notice anything spectacular from him, but I wouldn’t
be too worried about that if I were you. He was right there in every drill. Keep in
mind this may be the first time some of these guys have skated in a month or
more-so it’s possible they were just shaking the rust off or they had some jitters.
-I had a chance to ask Craig Conroy a couple questions after the ice time, and
the audio is below. Sorry about the quality-my BlackBerry can only do so much.
Thanks again Justin! You rule! And don't forget it!
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