Everyday when I walk into the Allen Event Center (AEC) I see a group of diehard and dedicated fans watching practice. Some of these fans have been there all three days of camp. So today I decided to ask some of the fans their assessment of training camp thus far and what players have caught their eye.
Paul Dolinar: The team looks a lot faster than last year and the goal tending looks pretty strong. With the experience we have on the blue line we should have an improved defense. Bootland looks in really good shape and looks as good as ever. The two young defensemen, Peter Cintala and Kirk Byczynski, who are vying for the seventh defenseman on the team look good as well. Lavoie looks very fast and Lessard seems fast and also likes to go to the net. You can tell Kerbashian was at the AHL camp in Oklahoma City as he has some jump to him and I think he will have a great year.
Carol Henry (speaking for Richard as well): What I see right now is more speed than we have had in the last couple of years which is pretty awesome for training camp. Also, I see a little crisper passing. The players that seem to be coming right along as far as rookies are concerned are Lessard, Lavoie and Asuchak. I like what I see from all of those guys. When it comes to team leadership there is a lot of silent leadership which I think is pretty awesome. Mr. Berube and Mr. Tetrault are good examples. I think we have a really good team in place to defend the championship this year. I am really impressed.
John Weithman: I am pretty happy with Drago ( the nickname given to Peter Cintala by Coach Martinson) as he takes direction well. Yesterday during practice the coaches asked him to keep his stick on the ice and drive the player to the wall on some defensive drills and that is exactly what he did. Daniel Tetrault is extremely solid on defense, Lavoie is fast, Kale Kerbashian looks faster than last year and Jamie Schaafsma must have gotten some more energy from the hair he has grown. They are all looking good. It is going to be tough to reduce the roster. These guys are good!
Amanda Brown: Generally, I would agree the team seems really fast. When they have been doing speed drills a lot of the guys seem faster than last year and the young guys have a lot of speed. Today they are playing a lot more aggressively than the did earlier in the week. I am sure the coaches have been asking them to do that. As far as individuals I have been really impressed with Peter Cintala so far and Spencer Asuchak has a lot of speed and skill to along with his size. The former Brahmas have been doing a really good job, particularly John Snowden has really stood out. He has a lot of skill and I think he should score a lot for us this year. As for goalies one to keep an eye on is Eric Levine even though he is a little bit of an underdog given the fact we have two more experienced goalies in camp. He has really shown some skill.
Doug Hufsey: The two guys I have watched in camp that I have been impressed with are Peter Cintala who I think can be a really good two way defenseman and Jonathan Lessard who looks very quick. I have spent most of my time watching the new guys rather than the established guys. I am thinking though it is hard to tell from scrimmages that there is a bit more speed this year and everyone seems to be a pretty tough player however you can't really tell with no hitting in camp.
Dan Zalaznik: The team looks faster than last year and to me they look a little bigger especially when Peter Cintala is on the ice. He is big and fast. The core guys look really good especially Jamie Schaafsma who looks great. I really like Alex Lavoie as that kid is fast and has some unbelievable moves. Practice really looks good and it is fun coming to watch them.
Leonard White: The team overall looks like they are a lot faster and more physical. It is going to be interesting to see how the players from Ft. Worth blend into the team. The Slovakian defenseman (Peter Cintala) looks good as do the goalies. I think we will be strong in goal. Everyone will be expected to be physical and police the game as Coach Martinson said, we will be a pack of wolves rather than one lion. Overall it looks like we are going to be quicker and more skilled on offense and more dependable on defense.
Cheryl Schwitzgebel; I noticed overall everybody looks faster. The other thing I noticed is that even though a lot of the players don't know each other it seems like they have jelled pretty well as a team. I was really impressed with goalie Phil Cook as he reminds me of Aaron Dell. I have been impressed by the play of Peter Cintala. I have also noticed the guys have been willing to talk to the fans which is really nice. They are a friendly bunch. Whoever they decide to keep I think we are going to have a really good, strong team. Everybody better watch out!
Thanks to all for sharing your training camp thoughts with me. We may have some hockey scouts in this group!