- The opening day of main camp didn't disappoint. The opening scrimmage saw Ryan Olsen score twice in Team Green's one goal win over Team Orange. Olsen comes as advertised. A nose for the net, you can see why he is so highly touted. Olsen finds himself in good positions to score...a good sign for a player who appears to have good finish. Olsen doesn't need a lot of chances to score, but when he gets a chance he makes you pay. I don't want to pump his tires too much considering it's just a scrimmage, but I liked what I saw from the 18 year-old forward.
- Rookie Nick Merkley was on the losing end as a member of Team Orange, but he is clearly a special player. The 15 year-old reminds me a little bit of a young Colin Long. Merkley has soft hands, is a little under sized right now (he is playing against older competition obviously) but the one thing Merkley possesses that Long didn't was his determination to get the puck on his stick when someone else has it. The lazy player waits for it to come to him. The determined player will scratch your eye out to get it away from you and back on his stick.
- In the morning session, both Jordon Cooke and rookie Jake Morrissey didn't allow a goal for Team Green. Morrissey surprised me at how big he looked. The 15 year-old covers a lot of net. Cooke is just steady. If Morrissey was a year older, I could see those two being teammates this season with Cooke as the starter and Morrissey as his understudy.
- I think the Rockets scouting staff deserve a tip of the cap for drafting three quality goaltenders in the last five drafts. Cooke (2008), Thomas Spence (2011) and Morrissey (2012) all look like solid choices. It hasn't always been that way though. The last drafted goaltender to play regular minutes was Kristofer Westblom, who was taken in the 4th round in 2002. Brown, Guggenberger, Bendera, Guard, Swanson and Jung were either listed players or netminders acquired through trade. There is nothing wrong with dealing for a goalie, but it sure is nice to pick a quality one in the draft.
- Cole Martin and Damon Severson both looked composed in the opening scrimmage. Martin has to be playing with confidence after his tryout with the Dallas Stars prospects this summer. That's what makes those experiences so valuable. You play against tougher competition and you learn from it. Martin went to class this summer with the Stars and came out a better student. That's why it will be a shame if several Rockets are unable to attend an NHL camp because of a lockout.
- I thought I interviewed a different Damon Severson Tuesday afternoon. A more focused player than a year ago, Severson, I believe, finally knows what commitment is needed to get to the next level. It finally clicked in for Tyler Myers at 19, which means Severson is ahead of the game. It doesn't hurt when you've been surrounded by pro's like Curtis Leschyshyn and Jarome Iginla for a good portion of the summer.
- The opening scrimmage saw a scrap between Severson and captain Colton Sissons. This is how Severson explained the fisticuffs to me afterwards. "It was one of those things in the heat of the game. Maybe he (Sissons) thought I checked him a little funny there, but it was good and no hard feelings between us and it was good to get the boys going and open the eyes for the younger guys".
- It was nice to see Spencer Main out on the ice Tuesday. To think, he is now the only player from the Rockets draft class of 2007 that remains with the team. Colton Jobke and Antoine Corbin were traded away while Max Adolph's career was cut short by a concussion. Brett Bulmer's WHL days are over as the now 20 year-old turns pro this season.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Quick thoughts on day one
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