Although it falls on a holiday week, we know that not everyone can play hookey to attend the 2012 Lightning Development Camp. You're in luck however, as TampaBayLightning.com will have a running blog throughout the week to provide the latest camp coverage.
Keep an eye on this page for photos, updates, and video from Lightning prospects and coaches. Comment below or tweet @TBLightning on Twitter and you might just find your question answered on this blog.
DAY 4 - FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2012
4:59 PM (Day 4) WRAPPING UP DAY 4 COVERAGE
Sharing the final notes on Day 4 with a full recap of the 3-on-3 tournament: click here to read it. P.S. Scroll down on Day 4 coverage to enter our Social Media Fan Reporter contest. You'll find out later tonight if you've earned one of four spots to interview top Lightning prospects and report back on social media.
2:46 PM (Day 4) ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
A joking Witkowski just gave a little support to fellow prospect Andrej Sustr who stands at 6'8" saying "Let's go, Chara."
2:04 PM (Day 4) SWITCHING SQUADS
First set of teams heading off the ice/swapping sides and out come the next.
1:54 PM (Day 4) GAME ON
Some solid action in the early stages of the 3-on-3 tournament. A few toe drags, a couple of dangles, and some flashy saves from the goaltenders all that are making some oohs and ahhhs from the crowd here in attendance.
1:31 PM (Day 4) CAMP CONTEST FOR FANS
Ice just got zammed in preparation for the much anticipated 3-on-3 tournament here in Brandon. Teams are set to hit the ice momentarily. More importantly than that, however, is that this morning we caught wind of a special opportunity for four (4) Lightning fans to attend tomorrow's press conference to help report back to other fans on social media.
It's waaay to short of notice to expect a fancy, witty contest name but here are the details. You must be available tomorrow for development camp (here's the schedule), you must truly represent the voice of #TBLightning fans across social media (and plead your case well below), and you must tweet with a special hashtag for fans tomorrow to report back in on what you discover during this exclusive prospect press conference. Think you deserve this exclusive, all-access opportunity? Well it's simple, just tell us why:
Brown and Namestnikov showing off their sharp shooting skills. Namestnikov displaying a quick release with the shot is impressive. Vasilevskiy looks really sharp in goal as well. I don't think I've seen him allow a single goal in the current drill yet.
10:20 AM (Day 3) BACK TO THE GRIND
Shooting practice going on now for Group A while Group B is participating in off-ice workouts. The groups will then swap until the conclusion of the day, which will be around 1 pm. Somewhat of an abbreviated day today in preparation for the highly-anticipated 3-on-3 tournament tomorrow.
DAY 2 - WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2012
11:32 AM (Day 2) GREAT CROWD FOR THE HOLIDAY
There's a great crowd at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum today watching Day 2 of Development Camp. Goaltenders hit the ice first, before separating into Group A and Group B for the day's power skating and drills.
After camp wraps up for the day the team will head to St. Pete to watch the Rays take on the Yankees. If you're headed to the game be sure to tweet and let us know if you spot the guys!
Robert G's Question:Who's a player that we should be watching develop during this camp
Answer: I'd keep an eye out on both Namestnikov and Vasilevskiy. Steve Yzerman noted how impressed he was with Namestnikov's skating ability and he had a great year in the OHL this past season, helping lead his team to the Memorial Cup. I would expect to see him in AHL Syracuse next season. Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, is athletic for possessing good size and was highly-touted heading into the draft by NHL Central Scouting. He showed a bit of his acrobatic ability today at camp too and Yzerman only had positive things to say about him, most notably that the team sees him as the same type of player as Jonathan Quick.
Kirby H's Question: What are J.T. Brown's chances of starting the year with the Bolts?
Answer: Chances are just as good as Brett Connolly's or Cory Conacher's. He will definitely have to prove himself in training camp and compete for a spot, but Yzerman said he did like what he saw in Brown's five NHL games at the end of last season.
5:48 PM (Day 1) WRAPPING UP DAY 1 COVERAGE
It was a great first day of camp today in Brandon with plenty to help Lightning fans "get their Bolts fix" in the offseason. Check out the videos and recaps below for complete coverage from Day 1 including insight from Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
Thanks for all the tweets, comments, and Facebook posts with questions for the team's prospects. Keep an eye out for a few responses shortly to come on this blog!
The first practice was delayed slightly after coaches decided that the ice need zammed, but players returned to the ice quickly for the 2nd half of practice (Click here to view a gallery of practice photos). Following practice, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman addressed the media, saying "Camp gives us an opportunity to get to know these kids a little bit better. What they need to work on, what areas they need to improve, what they do well. This isn't a game situation and it's not an audition, it's a chance for them to improve as hockey players." Check back here later to see the full video of Yzerman's interview.
On the Ice: Following lunch, players will return to the ice for skating drills before ending the day with off-ice workouts.
Off the Ice: Not only did Vladislav Namestnikov come to camp to improve, but also to serve as Andrei Vasilevsky's Russian translator. "I knew what I signed up for," said Namestnikov. Read more on this in today's notebook.
11:45 AM (Day 1) COACHES CONVENE BEFORE PRACTICE
Morning activities including medical exams and fitness testing are about to wrap up. Prospects are expect to hit the ice at 11:30 for the first on-ice session of camp. Spotted on Twitter, coaches Jon Cooper and Guy Boucher catch up in the offices before heading out to the ice for camp.
11:26 AM (Day 1) TWITTER UPDATE
Medical testing pushes back the start of the first on-ice session.
8:15 AM (Day 1) CAMP'S IN SESSION
The Lightning's 2012 Development Camp got underway bright and early this morning with medical exams, fitness testing and equipment fitting starting as early as 8:00 am. Here's a look at the full camp schedule for the week and here's a list of the players invited to camp. Here's a first look inside the locker room as players, including Andrey Vasilevskiy, prepared for physicals. Stay tuned, the team hits the ice for the first time this morning at 11:30 am.