The first real day of camp with free agents and listed players going at it had some high points.
The opening mini tournament game saw Team Trottier thump Team Sakic 8-4 in a game that lacked intensity. A couple of players drew some attention - mostly some of the young guys. 2006 first rounder Cody Eakin looked good throughout and is doing a good job in grabbing one of the limited openings up front.
17 year-old Kris Foucault supplied a hat-trick for Team Trottier and showed great finish around the net.
Other than that it was a very ho-hum session with little action.
The 2nd game of the night was a welcomed change. Team Tiger led by Dale Wiese's three goals and three helpers skated to an 8-3 win. Dale Wiese was for lack of a better term dominant. Distributed the puck well, scored on his opportunities and outright blew up some of the younger players using his size for some big hits. He was clearly the best player on the ice.
-A couple of veteran players added to the intensity. Phil Gervais ran over Levi Nelson in the opening period. Then Nelson and Matt Tassone were in each other's faces a few times. Tassone took a boarding penalty on an awkward hit on Nelson behind the net. Nelson wasn't too happy about it and got up looking for Tassone. Things cooled down from there but both players knew where the other was for most of the night.
-Speaking of Tassone, I must admit he looks like a different player this season. He looks to have taken the next step in his junior career.
- Nelson also scored a pretty goal in the loss for Team Ruskowski although I felt he struggled at times playing with some of the rookies.
- Coaches Corner? This morning at the rink three current or former WHL coaches shared the same space. Dean Chynoweth of the Broncos, Marc Habscheid (Kelowna, Kamloops) and Tim Tisdale (Regina) were all taking in a session. Marc's son Zach continues at Broncos camp while Tim Tisdale remains our minor hockey president. His son is also a stick-boy for camp.
- Ok, I'm going to play favorites for a sec. My favorite prospect at camp has become Winnipeg defenseman Scott Macauley. The small, speedy blueliner reminds me a lot of a younger Ian White - minus the over sized head of course. The comparison isn't really fair considering White collected 32 goals and 47 assists as a 17 year-old with the Broncos. Macauley will be a 17 year-old d-man this season. I talked with him after his session tonight.
JK: Scott you know a couple of guys at camp being teammates with Cody Eakin and James Martin in Winnipeg this past season, plus you joined the Broncos for playoffs. How comfortable are you at training camp?
Macauley: I'm used to the pace, it's comfortable. I know some of the guys plus all summer I trained and played with older guys and that helps a lot.
JK: How big of a jump do you think it would be from "AAA"midget to the Western Hockey League?
Macualey: I guess I'll have to see, see how everything goes. I guess as camp continues I'll see where I fit in. Again, playing with older guys this summer has really helped.
JK: Rate your performance so far in camp. How do you think you've done?
Macualey: I think pretty good. I've just been going out there and trying to give the scouts a reason to keep me around. I just have to go out there and do my job.
JK: There are six returning defenseman and then the conversion of Spencer McAvoy to a d-man this season makes seven. There is limited room - if any available back there. How aware of that are you?
Macauley: Yeah I've been told. It just makes me work even harder to be here.
JK: What are some of things in your game you want to improve on?
Macauley: A couple things. In the offensive zone I'd look to improve my scoring ability and adjust more to the pace of the WHL and keep playing with the big boys.
He's a good one folks and not even taken in the bantam draft. Just another example of undrafted talent. Justin Dowling and Levi Nelson are two more players you won't find in any bantam draft list either. The Broncos have had some recent success in this department.
More practices in the morning and more games in the afternoon and evening.... and more blogging later.