The scrimmage today went alright - we got our lunch handed to us a bit. We turned it on late but all-in-all it was a great way to end a pretty productive week. I think guys were excited for the game. We put in a lot of work so when you see the end popping up, guys are looking forward to it. To end on a note like this, I think it brings a lot of positivity to the group. The mood was light - I think guys were just happy to get out there. I think for me, I just worked on the things I worked on in practice: the quick releases and things like that. Lots of us have been out of games for a little while, so just bringing back that intensity is always nice. I just have to keep working on the little things and I'll be alright.
Overall, I felt pretty good today. I was a little tight at the start - just not used to being on such high paced ice times. I started to sink in and feel more comfortable as the game went on. I think throughout the week there's definitely more I need to work on but all-in-all I feel solid about the week.
In August, I report back to Calgary (WHL). I have some more time to put some more work in and get back on the ice. I don't have too much planned for the rest of the offseason. Family-wise, I don't think we have too much planned. I think I'm just going to work on the farm at home, train and work on some of these skills. My parents are in with a couple other families on trying to start a craft brewery, so it's going to be interesting. We are growing some hops for beer and it takes a lot of the time in the summer. It's a nice way to take a step away from the game after I've had my work outs and skill sessions.
I want to take all of what I learned back with me next season. Going into training camp, I want to stick around as long as I can, maybe get some preseason games. It'd be great to stick around for longer this season. But I'm probably heading back to juniors this year, which is still exciting. I want to go back and be a leader. I think as an older guy, that's expected. I want to go in to Calgary and have a successful year. In my position now it's about perfecting the little things to get to that next level. Overall, It was a great week to meet some great people and see some familiar faces.
We went bowling yesterday and I was disappointed with my performance and my team's performance. We were confident going in and it just wasn't what we expected. We had a late round steal in Collin Delia who was our backbone throughout the entire thing. The rest of us were just trying to keep it straight and knock over as many as we could. It wasn't our day but there was a few groups that seemed like they've done it before. My stall mate, Brian Pinho, was hitting 160 and I was just struggling with a 70. We were just a little outside the skill bubble.
It was a good day today. Not quite the sleep-in we got yesterday - we had to get up around 6:30 a.m.. We got over to Kettler for another breakout session with Barry Trotz and Olie Kolzig. Today Barry just told us not to sacrifice the things we need to do in order to get better in the game, but also enjoy the life you have with your friends and getting away from the rink too. An example was if you have plans with your buddies to go to the beach, you work it out that maybe you get a work out and some skill stuff in before you go enjoy yourself. From there we hopped right in to a workout and yoga which was good. I think all of us are pretty tight, so to loosen up that way definitely helps us out on the ice. We turned it around, got some warm-ups in and did some video, worked out some systems again and got ready to go out onto the ice. First ice time was good - lots of skill stuff, just working on getting around the net and putting the puck in with some offensive things. Then we broke off into the second unit after. We covered some systems, worked on some forechecks and neutral zone coverage. On the back half of that we had Dwayne come over and work on some skill stuff. All-in-all it was a pretty productive day. We have some meetings with the coaches and Mark Nemish later in the day. Hopefully, we get some positive information as well as something we can improve on during the summer.
After the offseason, I'm going back to Calgary for my 19-year-old season. I think the biggest thing I'm bringing into next season is being able to separate myself with the skill sets we learn here. To make plays that half second above the pace and know your shot is going to be a little harder and a little more accurate is important. At the next level, that becomes the average and that's above average in the WHL. Just developing those skills and continuing to work on them when I get the chance will be huge for next year and my game.
It's been a fun week. I think everyone has been enjoying it. We've had some long days but all-in-all we've sucked everything we could out of it. I'm looking forward to the scrimmage tomorrow!
Yesterday, we worked the kid's clinic. It's always fun to give back to the community. Even though lots of us aren't from here we know the team has great fan support. The kids seemed to love being out there with us. I've always enjoyed that kind of stuff. It's always nice to see the smiles on their faces when they are skating around out there.
We got up this morning and got to sleep in an extra hour which was awesome - breakfast wasn't until 7 a.m. this morning so that was nice. We got the group over here to go through a nice little morning talk. Olie Kolzig elaborated on what he talked about yesterday. We went through some stuff and talked about making a plan, how we should go into every year with steps along the way help us reach an overall goal. He related that to every step of life - it wasn't just hockey. From there, we got into our first warmup and got into our first ice session. It went well, I think everyone was happy with it. We were able to do some skill stuff, getting our bodies going again. We came off for a little bit so they could do a scrape. Then we split into two colors and did half an hour of skills and half an hour of systems. It was nice to get some of that info under our belt. All-in-all it was a good day. It ran a little earlier than it has the past couple days so I think some guys are looking forward to a little bit of rest.
The scrimmage is coming up quickly. These days seem to fly by pretty quick once you get into the motions. I think coming into the scrimmage, I'm just looking to improve. There's lots of good players out here so you're going to have a challenge for sure. There's an element of coming in for a development camp where I think some guys will take it easy a little bit. They might be in that summer mindset. I think going out there and competing like it's a full-on game and executing is something I have to do. It's an opportunity to improve. I don't think they are looking for perfection right now. If you are working on things, that's what they want to see: competition and execution. I think throughout my offseason I have been working on my quick-release shooting. Once you get to that next level, things happen a lot quicker. I'm starting to get more comfortable with it. Some shots still flutter a little bit as you are trying to move your body quicker, but I'm starting to get better for sure.
We have bowling coming up this afternoon and the guys are pretty excited. From my team I have Garrett Pilon, Colin Delia and Mason Mitchell. I'm the captain so I had the pressure of making some picks. Hopefully, it all goes well. There's a lot of hidden athletes with the team so I'm not sure who our biggest competition is. I'm not sure if any of them have any bowling experience under their belts, but I'm pretty confident with our group. I think we got some skill all around the board. Our biggest competition might be our coaches. They've been kicking around for a long time so I think they may have some experience in the game. There's a few teams that I know drafted a lot of Western League (WHL) guys. There's a lot of size and strength on those teams. Those Euros are always wild cards. You don't know what they do overseas. We will see how it goes!
We woke up pretty early this morning. We had breakfast at 6 a.m. and then we came over for a break-out session. Today, Olie Kolzig talked to us about how to lengthen your career and the type of person you want to be. Coach Trotz talked to us about three different types of players: pretender, business man and player. He described each one and told us we should be players because they love the game and they come to the rink ready to go every day. After that we went over to the track and had a 45-minute work out on the turf. That was pretty fun.
We came back to Kettler to have a meeting with the chef which was pretty interesting. He gave us a sheet on some recipes, maybe some of the guys will use it. Then we went on the ice. For the first hour we did on-ice testing like speed and other drills. Then the second hour we did small games. It was fun today. I think the boys were competing hard today and everyone seemed to be having fun out there. We had a blast today.
It's not too weird being in the same locker room as guys I competed against at school. Hockey is funny like that. You always compete and battle and get in each other's faces during the games. Off the ice you can be buddies so it's been good. I've been hanging out with all the guys, we've been talking and it's been a really fun time.
I think we have some down time until 5 p.m. but I should probably get cracking on some homework. I'm taking a writing summer class so maybe I'll get some work done today.
Video: Beck Malenstyn | June 28
Arriving to D.C. was a bit tough on Sunday. I had a pretty interesting flight. I left Vancouver at 6 a.m. - bright and early. We got to Chicago and flew to D.C., then we had a little bit of a mishap with the tarmac at Regan Airport. We had to fly to Dulles and sit on the airplane for three hours only to shuttle back to Regan to get our bags. It was a long first day but I was happy to be here. I was able to get to the hotel around 12:45 a.m. so when your morning starts at 3:30 a.m. and ends at 12:45 a.m. that's not an easy day.
We had a 7 a.m. breakfast on Monday which was a pretty quick turnaround for me. We got to Kettler on Monday and it was nice to see some familiar faces around the rink and get back into the swing of things. It's good to see all the guys who were around last year. Coming into your first year, it's a little intimidating. It's a quick turnaround from the NHL Draft. Coming in this year, it's definitely feeling more like a family. You hang out, know lots of guys. It definitely makes it a little easier. You get to chill a little bit more and it's definitely more comfortable.
I was really excited to see Mack Shields, he's someone I played with my first year in junior and haven't seen him in two years. We had two guest speakers on Monday: Mike Knuble and Eric Hoffberg. The conversation with Knuble was great. Anytime you can get any information from an ex-player it's something you can take to heart. He was in the NHL for a long time so you definitely pull a lot of information from him. His key point was talking about our brand and how we carry ourselves. We come into a new team and there is an expectation of what you are going to be like as a person and a player. Basically, he talked about developing that from a young age, which we are starting now. He talked about just continuing to be that team guy and to work hard on the ice to be the guy that teams want. Hoff is great, it was my second time listening to him. He comes in there with a lot of energy, definitely gets your attention. He talks about some mental strength stuff that definitely is translatable day to day.
We got to hit it on the ice for the first time today, work out some rust and handle the puck for the first time in a while. We did skill development and worked on little things to get practice started. The second practice we started off with a bit of skill and then we moved into some systems that we went over during film. We went over some offensive zone plays just to work out those things.
I think this week is a chance for me to really work on my game and find that platform of where I am now and how I want to move forward. There's a lot of great people around here with a lot of great information that you can pull out of. I just want to go out there, have fun and build off my game. I know a few of us have Fan Fest later tonight so we are going to do some Q&A's and hang out with the kids so I'm excited about that.