For me, day 2 of the Habs training camp started at 1pm, not the advertised 11am. Despite my lateness, I still caught a fair amount of play, and I tried to catch up on those players who I'd missed yesterday.
Once again, I've come up with one-liners... I didn't get to see Saku Koivu, Georges Laraque or Olivier Fortier (F) at all this weekend, and I missed most of Price's performance today. Koivu sat out to rest his foot and Laraque apparently has a bit of a pull in the groin. I also didn't get much on Conrad Martin (D), Mike Glumac (F). You won't find anything on them here; I guess they don't stand out.
Pavel Valentenko (D) - Has a strong shot and makes strong, clean passes. He really understands the game and gets what's happening and what is going to happen. His skating is definitely up to par. Sometimes indecisive when bringing the puck up through the neutral zone.
Matt D'Agostini (F) -Looks ready for the big leagues. He's got speed and is aggressive when he needs to be. Presses the opposition well. Good puck handling and smart shooting.
Mathieu Dandenault (D/F) - Looking in tip top shape with good point action and comfortable speeding up with younger forwards.
Marc Denis (G) - Apart from being a good goalie in general, he sees the rebounds really well and has no trouble controlling them.
Brock Trotter (F) - Looks smarter in play than in drills. Solid all around... The type of player that's good at everything but not excellent at anything in particular.
Cedrick Desjardins (G) - Not bad stick handling behind the net, but definitely no Price. He's got good rebound control and easily re-directs them where he wants them to go.
Ryan O'Byrne (D) - Looks solid and very aware of what's happening. He's playing smarter, it seems, and is not as overly aggressive as before... Which is a good thing.
P.K. Subban (D) - Smart at the blue line, good with split-second thinking. Killer point shot.
Christopher Higgins (F) - Rushed the net and scored in the confusion. He seems smarter, tougher and more full of energy and will not to give up on plays. Has unexpected bursts of speed that are mostly yet unseen. Looks great playing with D'Agostini.
Sergei Kostitsyn (F) - Scored on a breakaway thanks to a pass from Tomas Plekanec, while legally cherry picking, one of the many times he tried. Had 3 consecutive breakaways (including the aforementioned one). Knows how to use the body in order to steal the puck and then gets away easily thanks to his speed.
Ryan Flinn (F) - Looks better in play. You can see his experience. Still, won't make it higher than Hamilton.
Gregory Stewart (F) - Has a viable chance of making the team. He would look great on the fourth line, but has enough skill, will and potential to be so much more. Good speed, thinking, and passing, in both ends.
Chad Anderson (F) - Also better in play than in drills. Knows where to be and looks around quickly before deciding on the correct course of action.
Ryan Russel (F) - Good speed, decent positioning, but seems unsure at times of where he should be.
Maxime Lapierre (F) - Good positioning in front of the net and defensively. Passing has definitely improved... tape to tape most of the time. Seems smarter so far than last year, and faster too.
Steve Begin (F) - Ready to rock and roll and have fun doing it. The Beg we all know and love is back.
Yanick Lehoux (F) - Is speedy, sees the ice well under pressure. Excellent passing and positioning.
Patrice Brisebois (D) - Same as always. Speedy at times. Still decent positioning, which keeps him out of trouble most of the time.
Robert Mayer (G) - Young but solid. Knows when to get into the butterfly position. Great in a crowd. He does need to work on his 5-hole when he's down. Seems to just know how the puck is going to bounce.
Loic Lacasse (G) - Quick on his feet. Made a nice long cross ice pass - very Price like.
Kyle Chipchura (F) - Needs to work on his passing while in movement. He's good when he has to be, but might be over thinking. Not aggressive enough when he has the puck. Seems confused, and out of it.
Mathieu Carle (D) - Seems a bit uncertain when stuck in the defensive zone, mostly in front of the net, where he seems to have trouble playing the man if the opposing player is aggressive.
Tom Kostopoulos (F) - He's ready to step out of his goon-only role and get more involved with the play. Handles the puck well, better than last season, it seems.
Roman Hamrlik (D) Solid, as usual. Lets O'Byrne take the lead but is always there and always ready.
Some random notes...
The Tanguay-Maxwell-Pacioretty line is a great combination. Tanguay looks really comfortable playing with young speedy guys.
Begin- Lapierre -Dandenault with O'Byrne and Hamrlik works really well. They have good positioning and communication, and the passing is excellent. Seems like a viable combo.
Lang - G. Latendresse - Kovalev is a line that takes some getting used to. At first, Latendresse seemed like a little bit of dead weight because it takes him so long to get into position if his linemates break off. However, when he is at the right spot, there is a whole lot of chemistry. Sometimes Latendresse tries to stick handle a bit more than we'd like, but it seems to work well. When this line was on the ice with Markov and Komisarek, the crowd was going nuts. Also noteworthy, Kovalev seems to talk to Latendresse a lot, pushing him to push himself on the ice.
A. Kostitsyn - Plecanek - S. Kostitsyn also had the crowd on their feet. They have so much talent and so much spark, but they need to work on their communication a bit more. They're a very fluid line, constantly moving across the ice. This combination is so full of energy and potential and just about ready to burst.
I have a feeling that not only will Chipchura not make the team this year, he never will. He'll be traded soon. Why? Well, last year it seemed that he was satisfied just to have made it through the cuts. To be playing in the NHL, as was his goal. When he got sent down to Hamilton, he could have stepped up as a leader while Ajay Baines was out with an injury, but he didn't. It's almost like he had no motivation to be better. This year, it's like something inside of him has died. He has no drive, he doesn't care. When he's on the ice, it almost seems like he doesn't want to be there. I hope he figures out what's bothering him and steps up and finds a place on the team, or that he gets traded and gets his spark back.
Well, that's it for my scouting report for now!
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