Monday, September 20, 2010

ZLionHawk's Training Camp Observations

Since my job was keeping me from doing anything fun, like watching the Hawks, I didn't get to watch as much of the training camp circus as I would have liked. So, "ZLionHawk" over at Second City Hockey posted up what his thoughts were. I cannot confirm nor deny these opinions, but I applaud his effort. I only saw the last 3/4 of the second scrimmage, which wasn't enough for me to give an educated analysis. Take a look, if you'd like, and check out the actual original post at Second City Hockey.


12-Kyle Beach(6'3", 202, 20): Looked OK. He seems to be off on his passing. Scored a nice goal in the shootout after scrimmage one. Right now he's targeted for AHL. He should be anyway.

29-Bryan Bickell(6'4", 223, 24): Big strong, great shot. Put the first puck past Turco with a laser wristshot low gloveside. Doesn't replace any individual player we lost in the offseason, but he brings a combination of size, speed, skill, and consistency that we didn't have from any of the players we lost.

36-Dave Bolland(6'0", 181, 24): He looked good. He is so skilled, its not far fetched to think he will be centering the second line this year. He also pissed off just about everyone he played against. Toews in particular on a shift "lost" is stick in the corner while in a scrum with Bolly and skated after him to center ice before going to the bench.

52-Brandon Bollig(6'3", 215, 23): Classic toughguy hockey, when he gets the puck he skates without changing his angle of attack and loses the puck as soon as he's challenged. Didn't drop the gloves, didn't impress.

47-Evan Brophey(6'2", 199, 23): Looked OK. He didn’t stand out, but didn't look bad either. He's comfortable with the puck and knows what do do with it from his own zone through the neutral zone. Not much offense.

22-Troy Brouwer(6'2", 214, 25): Faster than I've ever seen him before. He will help mitigate the loss of Ladd if he can raise the level of "jam" in his game. Has a phenomenal shot, and just looks like a quality NHLer. Showing more of the skill that made him a scorer in the WHL.

41-Nathan Davis(6'1", 205, 24): Did not play...if he did, I didn't see him once and that is not good.

49-Christopher DiDomenico(5'11", 165, 21): Needs some more seasoning. He looked uncomfortable on the ice. Of course, getting hit by John Scott will make anyone feel uncomfortable. Didn't get much ice time.

28-Jake Dowell(6'0", 199, 25): His best defensive play was to sprawl out and block a Hossa empty netter. The problem is that Hossa was on his line. He looked small. I would say that he definitely did not solidify a spot on the 4th line today. There is too much competition to just had the spot to someone.

67-Rob Flick(6'2", 205, 19): Looked much more comfortable than I though he would. Did an admiral job. There's no chance for him to make the squad but he will be pushing hard for the 4th line center spot in the next year or so.

58-Byron Froese(6'0", 176, 19): See notes on Chris DiDomenico

68-David Gilbert(6'2", 186, 19): Looks good and came off a decent showing at the rookie tournament. Good size, scored a couple of nice goals.

61-Mirko Hoefflin(6'0", 174, 18): Looked pretty good. Another surprise. He plays a gritty game in the corners. He'll be an interesting one to watch.

81-Marian Hossa(6'1", 210, 31): Looked a little off...which for him makes him the fourth best player on the team behind Toews, Keith, and Kane. I am still looking forward to watching him play at 100%.

46-Hugh Jessiman(6'6", 221, 26): Huge. Scored a nice garbage goal at the end of the first game. He bring great size and grit, but didn't see a great deal skill. Still he would be a nice presence on the 4th line and didn't look like a liability.

88-Patrick Kane(5'10", 178, 21): He picked up where he left off last year, no one is as comfortable in traffic as Kane (Toews and Hossa are a close second and third.)

59-Rob Klinkhammer(6'3", 206, 24): Looked fast, but his skill at speed drops off quickly (no pun intended). He score a nice goal and is a good addition to the AHL team. If he ends up on the squad at any point this year, the team is in trouble.

82-Tomas Kopecky(6'3", 203, 28): Stepped up big time. Something clicked in him at the Olympics last year and he has consistently gotten better ever since. I predict he will be the next clutch performer for us with the departure of Byfuglien. I think he and Hossa are a lock on the second line.

26-Igor Makarov(6'1", 195, 22): Biggest surprise of the camp. He was dominant against all but the elite players he was matched up against. He hits, he's fast, he's skilled at all speeds, and he plays defense (although he was cherry picking for a hat trick at the end of the last scrimmage). Scored two nice goals. It was kind of funny, he was a little too excited it seemed after scoring (maybe because he's spent the last couple of years not getting ice time in the KHL where scoring seems to be frowned upon). Versteeg replacement candidate #1.

27-Jeremy Morin(6'1", 189, 19):Made the best passing play of the day hitting Pirri with a no look behind the back pass through the deep slot. He held his own, but should return to a line up where he will be on one of the top two lines. He just won't be able to break the deep line up of the Hawks and would be stunted as a 4th line player.

54-Philippe Paradis(6'2", 205, 19): Looked better than he did in the prospects camp. He's tough, but lacks hockey sense. The puck seemed to play him and he didn't seem too aware of his positioning.

14-Brandon Pirri(6'0", 160, 19): He's skilled and finished a beautiful feed from Morin, but he's also not going to benefit by playing on anything but the top three lines and there's no room for a player with his lack fo size and defensive awareness.

15-Fernando Pisani(6'1", 205, 33): Started slow (as any 33 year old would), but finished strong with a beautiful wrist shot that found the back of the net. He should make the team (ideally as a 4th liner). He will benefit from playing on a Q coached team.

16-Ryan Potulny(6'0", 190, 26): Not bad, but didn't impress. I think he was a mediocre player on a terrible team last year and looked relatively good. Today he looked like a relatively average player. He's got a decent shot, but I didn't see enough defense from him to make me forget about losing Madden.

44-Ludvig Rensfeldt(6'3", 192, 18): Looked WAY better than he did in prospects camp. He was big on the ice and the puck seem to follow him. He had a great showing and was good in the high-traffic areas of the low slot.

10-Patrick Sharp(6'1", 199, 28): Steady as always, you get the impression that he's the glue that ties Toews to the rest of the team. He looked like he's been practicing his shot. With all of the changes he gets, he could have a huge scoring year if he's been able to improve his accuracy.

20-Jack Skille(6'1", 215, 23): Played with a nice edge and physicality. If he continues to pursue that element of his game, and step up his defense, he could be our Ladd replacement. He just needs to be a little more nasty.

57-Ben Smith(5'11", 205, 22): I like this kid, he's my darkhorse to make the 4th line. He could knock Pisani out of the lineup. His $ might be the only reason he doesn't make the big club. I'd like to see him at center.

25-Viktor Stalberg(6'3", 210, 24): FAST. He has some wheels, but you don't see a great deal of control on his rushes, he does the Skille thing where he trys to angle, and lean his way from the wing to the slot and get off a shot. He's so fast that he slid past the defender, but, like Skille, his stickhandling isn't good enough to keep up. It makes me miss Versteeg.

23-Jeff Taffe(6'3", 207, 29): Looked pretty good. Threw his body around a little and may be the answer at 4th line center. He made some nice plays in both zones.

19-Jonathan Toews(6'2", 210, 22): The best player, by far. If he wanted to, he could win any scoring titles he wants. He's so talented and competitive it makes me feel spoiled as a fan.


24-Nick Boynton(6'1", 218, 31): Smart player. A good veteran presence on a very young team.

51-Brian Campbell(6'0", 189, 31): Looked like the player we overpaid for. Winning a Stanley Cup has done him a world of good.

43-Jonathan Carlsson(6'2", 187, 22):OK...big, was brutalized by Toews on a play where he had clear possession of the puck in his own end. Long story short, Toews took it from him and buried the puck in about a 3 second span.

56-Brian Connelly(5'10", 167, 24):Really sharp. I think he could be the next defensive gem. Strong passing, great skating, and never seemed in over his skis.

5-Jassen Cullimore(6'5", 235, 37): He looked OK. He laid some nice hits. Had a couple of shots. Still looks a little slow, but never seemed uncomfortable.

48-Simon Danis-Pepin(6'6", 229, 22): He also looked OK. Didn't make any big hits, but skated fairly well and effectively pushed rushes to the outside. I'd like to see him get some time with the big club this year, but I don't think he should make the starting lineup.

6-Jordan Hendry(6'0", 197, 26): He's a steady player and seems to be stuck at the same level he's been at for the last three years. That's not a bad thing, because he's been a quality support player on the big squad, but it doesn’t keep him ahead of players behind him that are stepping up (Leddy, Lalonde, Connelly, Vishnevskiy).

4-Niklas Hjalmarsson(6'3", 205, 23): Looked off early, he seemed to get the worst of the first three big hits he threw. He took a terrible, lazy, holding penalty against Toews. He's still a great passer and made a couple of nice hits that had the intended effect later in the scrimmage.

2-Duncan Keith(6'1", 196, 27): Stud. He, Kane, Markarov and Toews were the highlights of the scrimmage. He finished his scrimage with a beautiful one-timer, top-shelf that beat Turco from the blueline.

42-Shawn Lalonde(6'1", 192, 20): Looked pretty good. He skates well, makes intelligent passes. The panic threshold isn't where it needs to be to beat out Leddy for a shot the big squad.

37-Nick Leddy(5'11", 179, 19): Looked solid. Way better than I remember him in the prospects camp. He was everything as advertised today. He really has a high panic threshold and seemed to hold his own in the corners (which was a major concern after the prospects camp). He could benefit from watching Keith use his stick. If Leddy develops the stick skills that Keith has (which would perfectly compliment his game), and adds some more meat to his frame, he could be a force for years.

32-John Scott(6'8", 258, 27): Way better than I thought he would be. In drills he missed on a pass so badly that I was really concerned, but in the scrimmage he was noticably good. Its scary to think of a guy that big being mobile and effective moving the puck. He laid some hits that ruined some of the other player's scrimmages.

7-Brent Seabrook(6'3", 218, 25): As solid as he's ever been. Steady, in perfect position, and not one to be trifled with.

55-Ryan Stanton(6'2", 205, 21): Not very noticible today. He seemed to be on the wrong end of too many plays.

34-Ivan Vishnevskiy(6'0", 193, 22): He's my bet to make the squad with Scott on the third defensive pairing. He's got a great shot, and has all of the right skills. His panic threshold may be a little too high. He got caught on the blueline a couple times in a way that makes me feel he's vulnerable to giving up a shorty every once in a while, ala Timmonen in the Finals. At 22, though, I'm expecting him to have some room to grow in the wisdom department.


50-Corey Crawford(6'2", 200, 25): Looked great today. Had nothing get past him and made an effort to move the puck in a way that we never saw from Niemi.

70-Joe Palmer(6'2", 190, 22): Looked OK, he'll be a good back up at Rockford.

38-Alec Richards(6'4", 210, 23): Not bad, but didn't impress.

33-Hannu Toivonen(6'2", 200, 26): Really effect and battled well against Turco in the first scrimmage. It took a couple of phenomenal plays to beat him, but was really never challenged one on one.

30-Marty Turco(5'11", 184, 35): Fun to watch. He's so good with the puck its scary. If he's playing with the Hawks top defenders, the majority of pucks he plays will end of in quick scoring chances. There were a couple of times where he hit a defender or forward and they didn't seem prepared to receive the puck and attack. The result was that the puck ended back towards Turco. He was only beat with a great one on one shot from Bickell, a Kane back-breaking deke backhand, and a screened Norris trophey winning blueline top-shelf slapshot from Keith.

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