Saturday, July 9, 2011

Final Day Observations at Oilers Development Camp

I mostly watched as a fan today and I missed the shoot-out.  Also no autographs ( so no "single question interviews" ).  That's the bad news.

The good news is that Nugent-Hopkins looked better today than yesterday.  In the 3-on-3 he used his speed both laterally and in straight-away bursts effectively.  He found open ice, created open ice and made quick accurate passes look too easy (not flashy, just highly effective).  He darted around, circled, and indeed always had his head up.

 I did make just a few specific observations:

  • RNH executed a spin-o-rama  at full speed with full control ( looked so fluid ) around a player near the ringette line to be able to move in 2-on-1 with a team mate to create a great scoring chance.  

  • Earlier I watched as RNH followed up his own shot from in tight and put away his rebound.  He found and controlled that rebound puck with impressive quickness and hand-eye coordination.  

  • At one point I watched RNH trying to skate the puck out of the zone from below the in-zone face-off dot.  I believe he was somewhat fatigued at the time because after he first controlled the puck he took a few steps and then over-skated it and lost it in his feet.  Behind RNH an attacking player stretched to gather it but at the last second RNH kicked it back to his stick.  He labored forward but then was stick-lifted from behind by an attacking team player who then took away the puck.  RNH, spun sharply and turned up the speed and when the attacking player tried to double back along the boards RNH steals the puck back and is able to make a play to clear the zone.

  • Defensive prospect Kyle Bigos had a good day.  Twice I saw him make strong power moves to the front of the net and use his size to create a scoring chance ( he scored on one of them ).  Maybe this guy could end up (especially with his defense background ) being an end of the roster forward or play a role similar to the one Jason Strudwick played last year as both a bottom forward and defensemen.

  • Brandon Davidson's skating has come under some scrutiny but his vision is an asset.  He made a great read on a play today to dish the puck and set up a good scoring chance with a sweet sauce pass.

Other than that the shooters' shots looked sharper yesterday during the drills and the goalies looked sharper today in the 3 v.s. 3.  Bruce McCurdy did a good job all week covering the camp too.  His piece ( posted at The Edmonton Journal's blog The Cult of Hockey ) on today is here and has more observations.

I had a great time in a packed house and hope to make it back to this event next year!

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