BROSSARD, QC — The humidex reading in Montreal was 34C at 8:00 a.m. Even though I already had a good reason to head to the Complexe Sportif Bell, the heat adds another. Sure it’s be a decade since we have had a decent heatwave, but we do like to whine about the weather, and the rink was a welcome destination.
It was the first full day of the Canadiens development camp, Part II. A similar camp was held in June with a different group of players. This session will last for three-and-a-half days for 22 prospects. In attendance was the Canadiens draft class from 2010, other acquisitions, and players invited on a try-out basis.
The most NHL-ready players at the camp are P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber, Ben Maxwell and Lars Eller.
The first player I noticed was Jarred Tinordi, the Canadiens first round pick in last June’s draft. At 6’6″, 204 lbs., he’s hard to miss. He’s a stay-at-home defenseman who likes to play a physical game. During the drills, Tinordi had good defensive positioning, making it very difficult for the forwards to get around him.
Andrew Conboy is another player with size. For a big guy, he skates very well and likes to go to the front of the net. But Conboy is best known for his physical play, and in the drills it was clear that he doesn’t like to lose.
Another player in camp recognized for a tough, aggressive-style game is Ian Schultz. He likes to stir things up evidenced by engaging in some good-natured tussling with his former Calgary Hitmen teammate, Ryan White. Schultz is not a great skater but showed where he can be most valuable when the afternoon session was over. He parked himself on the lip of the crease, and practised deflecting point shots from Tinordi and Weber.
Weber is one of the smoothest skater at camp and possesses the hardest slapshot. Fellow players seemed to marvel as he broke up 2-on-1 rushes with ease.
I was most impressed with Joonas Natinnen and Alexander Avtsin at the 2009 development camp. This year, Natinnen attended the earlier camp in June. It was disappointing that Avtsin didn’t participate very much in the drills. He had a few conferences with the coaching staff near the benches and then departed early. There’s no word on what was troubling him.
The player that caught my eye this day was defenseman Morgan Ellis. He was selected by the Canadiens in the fourth round of the recent draft having played for Cape Breton in the QMJHL.
Ellis is a mobile, stay-at-home defenseman and captain of the Screaming Eagles. He is smart player and his composure is evident on the ice. His tape-to-tape passes in traffic are fun to watch. Follow the link below to read Ellis’ reaction to draft day.
The highlight of today’s practise was a 2-on-0 competition between team white and team red. Goaltenders Robert Mayer and Joseph Quattrocchi guarded the nets placed on opposing bluelines. Jan Eller’s red team was victorious with the guys in white finishing the day with on-ice pushups.
The development camp continues on Thursday at Brossard.
Morgan Ellis a big step closer to achieving NHL dream
By Jim Brown
Morgan Ellis ducks his head into a Montreal Canadiens jersey. The priceless gift from the team that had drafted him had just arrived, in a suitcase belonging to his parents that had gone astray in a flight from Los Angeles.
His team jersey, the same jersey he donned when his name was called at the June 26 NHL Entry Draft in LA’s Staples Center, where he was selected No. 117 in the fourth round, slipped on like a second skin.
His sister, 11-year-old Haley Ellis, wears his Canadiens baseball cap proudly.
She, too, wants to play hockey at the highest level.
“I think it’s cool,” she said of her big brother’s success on draft day.
Read the rest of the story here.
(photo credit: peicanada.com)