With Florida Panthers Development Camp entering the final stretch, the players were back on the ice Thursday morning at the JetBlue Practice Facility at Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs.
The day’s 8:45 a.m. session featured the forwards while the second session featured the defensemen in camp. Sam Brittain and Hugo Fagerblom were the goalies in session one, while Evan Cowley and Colin Stevens manned the nets in session two.
The pace of the on-ice sessions was taken up a level on day four of camp as the players prepared for the Red vs. Blue game coming up on Friday morning.
The forwards began their session with some 3-on-3’s and continued with an offensive focus throughout the practice, moving on to stickhandling drills, a shootout and 2-on-0’s. The session wrapped up with the centers practicing face-offs.
The camp’s defensemen were featured in the 9:45 a.m. session. The drills focused on backwards skating, retrieving pucks from corners, making breakout passes and firing shots from the point. Not to be outdone by their forward counterparts, the defensemen wrapped up with some 2-on-0’s and a shootout of their own.
In addition to the on-ice sessions, the players participated in financial and social media classes as well as a leadership and mental toughness seminar.
The camp concludes tomorrow with the players competing in the Red vs. Blue intrasqaud scrimmage which will be followed by a post game meet and great with the fans. The scrimmage will begin at 9 a.m.
· Rocco Grimaldi was one of the forwards who stood out during the first session, wowing those in attendance with his slick hands, his accurate shooting, his unceasing motor and his ability to escape from bigger players in tight spaces. Grimaldi went top shelf on Fagerblom during the 3-on-3’s and had a pretty 5-hole finish during the shootout.
· Forward Tony Turgeon drew a rousing applause from his teammates after attempting a shootout spin-o-rama that came up just short.
· In the session one 2-on-0 drills, each tandem received three chances to solve the goaltenders. Forwards Francis Beauvillier and Mike Vecchione were the only duo to convert on all three attempts.
· One of the standouts during the defensive skating drills was Mike Matheson who looked completely comfortable speeding through the drills with ease.
· Manager of Player Development and former Panthers defenseman Bryan McCabe on D Jonathan Racine’s strong camp:
“He’s got the heart of a lion, that kid. Nothing is going to hold him back. There is no off switch. He works all the time, tirelessly. He is a great teammate. He’ll do anything to get to this league. I am really excited for him. He’s making strides.”