"Ahhh, hockey's back," said one relieved fan, as 2008 first-round draft pick Josh Bailey
took the inaugural face-off of the Prospects Camp scrimmage on Wednesday afternoon.
Bailey's Team Morrow ultimately fell 3-1 to Team Trottier, but the Windsor Spitfire center enjoyed getting some competition under his belt, and a number of shifts with 2006 first round draft pick Kyle Okposo
"It was nice to get the first shift done," said Bailey. "It felt good out there playing against some good players. It was a bit faster than in the OHL, but I felt comfortable out there. I thought Kyle and I worked well together."
Bailey and Okposo had a few shifts where they hemmed in the defense, but nothing went in for the young tandem. Okposo came off the ice saying he should have buried a few in the first period.
Team Trottier ended regulation up 3-0 on goals by forward Tyler Haskins, Sarnia Sting invite Vladimir Nikiforov and 2008 Islanders draft pick Justin DiBenedetto
. Goaltenders Kevin Poulin
(2008 draft pick) and St. Cloud prospect Jase Weslosky combined for the regulation shutout. Trottier's Trevor Smith scored the lone goal in the shootout at the end of the game.
"It's my third mini-camp, so I felt pretty comfortable out there," said Weslosky. "Playing a full season with St. Cloud as the starter helped build up my experience. It helped my reaction time and made me quicker. There's a good amount of talent at the camp."
High above the ice, assistant GM and Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski, who helped select some of the prospects at the camp weighed in on the first scrimmage of the week.
"This is a skill oriented camp," said Jankowski. "So the faster, more skilled guys are going to be more noticeable. Also, guys like Kyle and Jack Hillen, who have some NHL experience, are going to stand out. Both of them looked good today, and their experience showed. All you're hoping throughout the week is that there's some level of improvement and that some strides are made."
The players will be back on the ice Wednesday morning at 10 am, and then return at 3:30 for another scrimmage. Here are some notes and quotes from Day Two at the Prospects Camp.
* Edmonton is well represented at the 2008 Islanders Prospects Camp noted Edmonton-native Dustin Kohn. Also hailing from the capital of Alberta is goaltender Jase Weslosky. 2008 draft pick Jared Spurgeon.
While Robin Figren may be Swedish, he was given Edmonton honorary status after playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
* As reported earlier this summer, Figren will return to his homeland to play in the Swedish Elite League for Djurgardens.
"I think it's the right decision for me," said Figren. "It's going to really help my development to play against older players. The AHL might be faster than the Swedish League, but there might be more skill in Sweden. It's going to be fun to go back home and play."
* Long Island NHLers Eric Nystrom stopped by Iceworks to take part in their own private skate on the smaller ice surface.
* Jyri Niemi talked about the transition from the Finnish game to the North American game.
"The biggest difference is the speed," said Niemi. "In Finland, you have the Olympic size rinks, so the game is a little slower. Things happen faster in the smaller rinks. The game is more physical."
When asked if he dropped the gloves at all in his rookie season with Saskatoon, Niemi laughed and said, "No one wants to fight me."
* In the scrimmage, Sarnia teammates Vladimir Nikiforov, Justin DiBenedetto
and Matt Martin
formed a potent line. Even though hitting was forbidden in the scrimmage, Martin was a physical force out there. Trottier Group: GOALIES
Jase Weslovsky (NYI 2006 Round 4)Kevin Poulin
(NYI 2008 Round 5) DEFENSE
Jamie Fraser (Signed as Free Agent)
Dustin Kohn (NYI 2005 Round 2)
Tyrell Mason (NYI 2005 Round 6)
Jyri Niemi (NYI 2008 Round 3)
Shane Sims (NYI 2006 Round 5)
Jared Spurgeron (NYI Round 158)
Blake Kessel (NYI 2007 Round 6)
Brett Skinner (Signed as Free Agent) FORWARDS
Sean Bentivoglio (2007 Free Agent)
Blake Comeau (NYI 2004 Round 2)Justin DiBenedetto
(2008 NYI Round 6)
Max Gratchev (NYI 2007 Round 4)
Mike Haley (Signed as Free Agent)
Tyler Haskins (DET 2004 Round 5)
Rob Hennigar (Signed as Free Agent)Jesse Joensuu
(NYI 2006 Round 2)Matt Martin
(NYI 2008 Round 5)
Vladimir Nikiforov (Camp Invitee)
Joe Pereira (Camp Invitee)
Joel Rooney (Camp Invitee)Corey Trivino
(NYI 2008 Round 2)David Ullstrom
(NYI 2008 Round 4) Morrow Group:
Peter Mannino (2008 Free Agent)
Andrew Engelage (Camp Invitee) DEFENSEMatt Donovan
(NYI 2008 Round 4)Travis Hamonic
(NYI 2008 Round 2)
Jack Hillen (Signed as Free Agent)
Simon Lacroix (NYI 2007 Round 7)Andrew MacDonald
(NYI 2006 Round 6)
Brad Nunn (Camp Invitee)Mark Katic
(NYI 2007 Round 3) FORWARDSJosh Bailey
(NYI 2008 Round 1)
Matt Christie (Camp Invitee)
Brian Day (NYI 2006 Round 6)
Jason Gregoire (NYI 2007 Round 3)
Brian Gibbons (Camp Invitee)
Shea Guthrie (NYI 2005 Round 3)Tomas Marcinko
(NYI 2006 Round 4)Kyle Okposo
(NYI 2006 Round 1)
Anthony Perdicaro (Camp Invitee)
Jason Pitton (NYI 2004 Round 8)
Joel Rechlicz (Signed as Free Agent).
Doug Rogers (NYI 2006 Round 4)
Trevor Smith (Signed as Free Agent)READ ALSO:
- PROSPECT PERSPECTIVES
- THE SHOT FROM 'ROUND THE WORLD
- THE PRIDE OF OKLAHOMA
- PROSPECTS CAMP PRIMER PART