Maybe part of it had to do with the scorching summer temperatures outside before Red, White and Boom, but it felt great to be back inside the OhioHealth Ice Haus this afternoon.
The Blue Jackets' top prospects had a chance to fly in yesterday, have dinner as a group and take part in some off-ice workouts all before the 3 p.m. hour on Tuesday, leaving one thing left to do in order to officially kick off the camp: lace up the skates and get out on the ice.
Led by newly-appointed Springfield Falcons head coach Brad Larsen, his assistant Nolan Pratt and Blue Jackets player development coach Chris Clark, the full group (including four goaltenders) took the ice in front of a lively crowd at the Ice Haus. On one side of the ice, 2012 draft picks Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo manned the pipes, and on the other end, Martin Ouelette and Anton Forsberg (2010) shared duties in goal.
The practice session was high-tempo and, much like Larsen was as an NHL player, very intense from start to finish. The drills were based on competitiveness and establishing a culture of professionalism -- if the drill wasn't done right the first time, quickly regroup to try again and fix the mistake. Larsen is big on accountability from every single player on the ice, and fans got a great first glimpse at his style of coaching.
Up in the stands, Todd Richards and his coaching staff (Dan Hinote, Craig Hartsburg, Keith Acton and Ian Clark) watched with a careful eye as the nearly hour-long session ramped up with good pace. GM Scott Howson was in attendance with senior advisor Craig Patrick looking on, as well.
Here are some notes compiled from today's session:
-- Ryan Johansen has added serious muscle. We're talking major bulk-up-age here. He estimates it around 16 lbs., and we'll believe him. Howson remarked about the amount of strength Johansen has added thus far in his summer workouts, as well.
|Center Ryan Johansen hanging out at CBJ development camp |
-- Korpisalo is large and aggressive in the net. He reminded me a lot of Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, though not as tall as the big Finn. He likes to come out high atop the blue paint (sometimes between the crease and hashmarks) to challenge shooters, taking away as much of the attacking angle as possible. It's a hallmark of the Finnish goaltending system.
-- Noticed fourth-round pick (2012) Josh Anderson out there on several occasions. He's fleet of foot and has some good hands, and looks like a feisty little player.
-- The cool customer out there was Ryan Murray, sporting the No. 45 in development camp workouts. He shows so much poise with the puck and makes every play with his head up the ice, which is a characteristic scouts point to as "elite" among young defensemen. Murray showed a pretty quick release on his wrist shot, as well, moving quickly up the ice during odd-man rush drills.
-- Murray is even more noticeable on the defensive end (in a good way, though); his stick is always upright and in a ready position, and he's quick to force players off the puck by taking a proper angle.
-- Daniel Zaar (fifth round, 2012) is a swift skater out there and can really shoot the puck. There's not a whole lot known about this kid since he's played exclusively in Sweden, but he looks to have some game. Keep an eye on Zaar throughout the week.
That's it for today's update. We'll have more tomorrow morning -- the on-ice session begins at 10:30 a.m. at the OhioHealth Ice Haus, and as always, the CBJ Today blog and JacketsTV will have you totally covered.