I decided to head out to Wilmington this morning to check out the Bruins Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena. There was a pretty good crowd on hand to watch the prospects go through drills. It was probably the largest crowd I have seen at a practice. The fact that it is the summer and kids are out of school and the economy sucks and a lot of people are unemployed probably factored into that. As for the attendance of the players, everyone that was supposed to be on the ice was out there today.
Blue Line: Joe Colborne, Jeff LoVecchio, Jason Lawrence
Gold Line: Jamie Arniel, Scott Campbell, Tyler Randell
Orange Line: Mark Goggin, Ben Sexton, Lane MacDermid
Defensemen (Black Jerseys): Yuri Alexandrov, Brady Lamb, Ryan Button, Mark Isherwood, Alain Goulet, Rob Kwiet, Tyler Ludwig
Injured: Zach McKelvie, Tommy Cross (skated on his own and shot pucks at goalies), Yannick Riendeau
9:25 I arrive at the rink. All the players are standing by the locker room doors in the far corner of the rink waiting to take the ice.
9:27 I try to take a few pictures, but the lighting is weird and when I use the flash it picks up the reflective trim on the players' practice jerseys. I decide that I am too lazy to mess around with my camera and decide not to take any more pictures.
9:31 Practice is now underway. The drill begins as a 5 man defensive zone breakout and turns into a 3-man weave type shooting drill.
9:34 It looks like GM Peter Chiarelli and most of the front office is watching practice from the stands in the far corner of the rink.
9:35 Full ice drill (I forget what the drill was actually like but I have written down "6 guys, 5 pucks".)
9:39 Zach Hamill leads the players in a stretch.
9:43 Matt Dalton is still rocking his Bemidji State gear
9:44 3 on 0 drill that turns into a rapid fire drill (not a goalie friendly drill)
9:46 We have our first Claude Julien sighting. He is not on the ice. I noticed that he had a roster in his hand. I guess even Claude needs a roster for development camp.
9:48 Jordan Caron has a quick release on his shot.
9:51 New drill: 2 man breakout that turns into 1 on 1.
9:54 Former BU Terrier Jason Lawrence does a great job of staying with a broken play to beat Michael Hutchinson. Lawrence is definitely the smallest player on the ice. He is almost small enough to play for the Habs.
9:57 Joe Colborne slams his stick on the ice in frustration after losing control of the puck. It is good to see that kind of emotion, even if it is just development camp.
9:59 Claude & PC are chatting at the far end of the rink.
10:00 I tried to tweet something but I can't get any cell service inside the rink....or maybe I was just sitting in a dead zone.
10:06 Hard one-timer by Max Sauve (who apparently no longer goes by Maxime).
10:10 1 on1 drill with offensive player starting with the puck in the corner. We start to see a little bit of bumping going on. No big hits, but things are starting to get a little more physical.
10:12 Brady Lamb puts a few solid bumps on Scott Campbell.
10:14 Same drill, but now it is 2 on 2.
10:16 Tyler Ludwig levels Lane MacDermid near the crease.
10:21 Full ice drill: It starts as 2 on 1 then turns into a 3 on 2 and finishes as a breakaway. I just realized that every player is wearing a visor. I guess that makes sense considering that every player is coming from a league that requires some sort of face protection.
10:24 Scott Campbell feeds a nice pass to Jamie Arniel, who finds the back of the net.
10:25 Ben Sexton looks like he might be a little nervous about being at his first pro camp. He has made a few sloppy passes and seems to freeze up a bit when he gets the puck.
10:26 Mini 3 on 2 Scrimmage: 2 nets (with a goalie) are placed in the attacking zone so the players are playing a mini game width-wise. There are 2 forwards on each team and there is a defenseman, who plays offense for both teams.
10:31 Audible F-Bomb from Sauve after he fans on a shot at an open net.
10:32 "Grab some water guys"
10:33 Defensemen are at one end of the rink. Forwards are at the other. Hutchinson is with the defensemen. Dalton and Courchaine are with the forwards.
10:35 The forwards are doing a drill that starts with a breakaway and then that player stay at the top of the crease while another player fires a shot from the point that the player in front tries to deflect. That then turns into a 3 on 0.
10:38 Don Sweeney is now on the ice and is working with the defensemen on starts and stops, mostly transitioning from going forward to going backward. A few guys take a digger in this drill. Both Tyler Ludwig and Alain Goulet fell to the ice.
10:43 Forwards are doing a 2 on 1 drill starting in the corner.
10:45 Defensemen are still working on skating. Goulet looks like he is fairly quick, but could use some work on his footwork especially transitioning to skating backward.
10:46 Alexandrov is a very smooth skater. He is appears to be one of the better skating defensemen in camp.
10:49 End of 1st session: Hamill leads the players in a stretch.
10:50 Players file off as the Zamboni (err, I mean Olympia ice re-surfacer) starts to flood the ice. Rob Kwiet stays on the ice for a minute to work on his forward/backward transitions with Don Sweeney. The Bruins announced today that they have signed Kwiet to an entry-level deal.
11:06 Tommy Cross, who is recovering from a knee injury, is skating by himself during the break. He is just doing slow laps around the rink, no starts and stops. He starts to pick up the pace a little, but is far from going full speed.
11:19 Players back on the ice for the second session (skill session)
1:25 The skaters are at one end of the rink and Tommy Cross is shooting pucks at the other end of the rink with the goalies. The skaters are doing a drill where there are 3 pairs of skaters on at a time. One player in each pair has the puck and the other player just shadows him. Later the deal evolves into different variations: 2 players with pucks, 2 players with pucks one skating forward one backward, 2 players facing each other passing 2 pucks between them, playing one on one with one puck etc..
11:36 I was very impressed with Zach Hamill when I saw him at Rookie Camp last year. He looked good today too. He is quick and has tremdendous skill with the puck. He seems to be serving as somewhat of a de facto captain this week.
11:38 Colborne accidently dumps Sauve.
11:40 Button collides with Lamb. Everyone appears to be OK.
11:42 A bunch of cones are set up for the skaters to do stickhandling/skating drills. Hamill is doing a demonstration of each drill for the rest of the guys.
11:56 Skaters still doing stickhandling/skating drills. Tommy Cross is still on the ice at the other end shooting pucks at the goalies.
11:57 Jeff LoVecchio has good speed for a player his size. He looked like one of the faster skaters in those drills.
12:00 Full ice 1 vs. 0 skating/passing/shooting drill
12:07 Full ice 2 vs. 0
12:13 Good hard wrister from Goulet
12:15 1 on 1 drill: puck at center ice both players race for puck and then try to beat goalie.
12:17 Good hustle play: Kwiet falls but gets back up and catches Lamb by surprise and strips the puck from him.
12:18 Button is pretty quick
12:18 Randell takes a face-first digger into the net and gets a cat call and a mock stick salute from a couple of players.
12:19 Stretch lead by Hamill while Don Sweeney briefly talks to players.
12:21 About half of the players leave the ice, while the other half lingers and starts playing a shooting/rebound game with the goalie.
12:26 Injured players Yannick Riendeau and Zach McKelvie are hanging out outside the Bruins locker room checking out what is going on on the ice.
12:27 Hutchinson and a group of skaters are still playing the shooting game.
12:30 Players start to head off the ice. I'm out.