Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dube doesn't disappoint/Whistle faces Weber

  • I had a chance to take in the afternoon session on the first day of Kelowna Rockets rookie camp. While I didn't happen to see Dillon Dube, the Rockets first round pick from this summers draft, by all indications he is the real deal. Dube can skate, has an offensive upside and uses his teammates around him well. It is safe to say that regardless of the other nine players in the  draft class of 2013, director of player personnel Lorne Frey didn't miss by taking the Cochrane, Alberta product 21st overall.
  • Day one of rookie camp is a combination of getting rid of nerves and forming chemistry with your teammates. When the 180 players are broken into ten teams and you don't know your line mates first name, the action on the ice is disjointed and players often try to do to much by themselves in order to stand out. I anticipate day two action taking a significant jump from day one.
  • I felt for the goalies in the afternoon session. The puck is often turned over resulting in unpredictable offensive chances where a goaltender is hung out to dry. The goalie pictured on the right is Calgary born Brodan Salmond. Salmond is the Rockets 10th round pick from this summers draft. Salmond's father Scott is the senior director of hockey operations for Hockey Canada. In case you are wondering, all goalies wear their jersey backwards in an effort to give the onlooking scouts a better idea of exactly who's in goal. 
  • Fifteen year-old players come in all shapes and sizes. The smallest player at camp is only 5'5 and 118 pounds. The heaviest is a 5'11, 220 pound forward.      
  • I won't lie, it was nice being back in the rink. It felt a little odd though not seeing Wayne Pansegrau in the building. If you didn't catch it on my Twitter feed, the general manager of Prospera Place is now employed at Penticton's South Okanagan Events Center. Life will move on, but Prospera Place - in hockey terms - lost their MVP. 
  • The first thing I noticed at Prospera Place was no advertising along the boards. It looked like I was transported back to the 80's. All white boards looks odd. I hated the ads when they were first introduced and now I don't like the look without them.
  • The first returning Rockets player that I had a chance to shake the hand of was defenceman Madison Bowey. Looking fit and bright eyed, the 18 year-old introduced me to his 15 year-old brother Connor as the two sat watching the afternoon scrimmage.   
  • Swedish forward Henrik Nyberg and teammate Cole Linaker were both on the ice as officials to keep the peace during the 4 o'clock session. Nice to see 'Hank the Tank' back for his 19 year-old season and I couldn't get close enough to see if Linaker was able to get his braces off over the summer. When he does he will have the best smile around.
  • Veteran goaltender Jackson Whistle is getting a good workout these days practicing with area pro's. On Thursday the 18 year-old was facing shooters like Dallas Stars Jamie Benn, Nashville's Shea Weber and Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf. 
  • You have to love the Okanagan. If it isn't Montreal Canadiens Carey Price in goal during a pro workout at CNC its Leafs netminder James Reimer. Even Kelowna born Keith Hamilton, who is headed to university this fall has spent some time with the pro's patrolling the net.   
  • I made a quick pit stop at CNC to speak with Shea Weber before he heads off to Canada's Olympic Orientation camp and ran into Canadiens forward Travis Moen. I will speak with him on Monday and share that interview.
  • It was also nice to touch base with Colton Jobke. The former Rockets d-man looks like a man. 'Jobber' is physically mature for being only 21 and is excited about his first full season of pro hockey, likely in Houston of the American Hockey League.  

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