Training Camp: On-Ice Sessions Day 1


Training camp is set up with a scrimmage in one rink and drills going on in the other rink. The notes are about the scrimmages. Camp was split into three squads. The notes below are observations from the scrimmages.

There were some notable lines including:
Lupul – Connolly – Kessel
Kulemin – Grabovski – Macarthur
Kadri – Bozak – Armostrong
Liles – Schenn
Franson – Komisarek
Crabb – Colborne – Frattin –
a likely scoring unit at the Ricoh Coliseum if Frattin is assigned to the Marlies.
Might as well start calling him Cautious Connolly, who seemed somewhat conservative that forced him to the edges of the play at times while involved crease to crease in other instances .. has a wide skating base when in pursuit .. Matt Frattin had some nice early jump .. Joe Colborne liked to handling the puck a lot early on and even had a play to break out of the zone .. Josh Leivo looked slow .. Dion Phaneuf was juggled with various partners but saw time paired with Aulie again .. Phil Kessel had a lot of jump early on with increased desire to play more on the inside and going harder to the net .. Blacker plays good angles, active stick could help with some adjustments for pace from junior game .. tends to overhandle the puck at times and will learn quick how much space/time he has as a Marlie, but was strong and comfortable overall.

Leafs seem to be focusing on quicker transition and breaking out of the zone in front of the goalie, not setting up behind the net .. Luca Caputi has his skating with good tight turns and checking ability back after an injury-riddled season .. Mueller has skating rhythm back .. Gardiner made numerous jumps into the rush and showed off skating ability and speed with puck control skills .. Kenny Ryan has become utilitarian and lacking overall sense of creativity and imagination .. good defensive support positioning from Connolly .. lots of chatter from JM Liles .. Nik Kulemin started a little sluggish .. Joe Colborne was laying the body (albeit mild for training camp purposes) .. good test of strength for McKegg when covered by Phaneuf .. Lupul put his snap release on display on multiple occasions, but was not going all out defensively .. heads up, much better approach to playmaking and puck skills from previous training camp .. Kulemin very adept at creating slight openings for space to get off a shot, or explore other options .. very cerebral, thinks and processes the game quick and sharp .. good defensive awareness in Frattin, with smart decisions in support and effort to get back defensive stance.

Lupul is not going 100% and neither is Phaneuf .. they competed, just not full out .. Jake Gardiner’s start up and fluid skating are strong weapons, but pace is an ongoing issue, has to be quicker, not just fast and speedy .. MacArthur crashed into goaltender Garret Sparks, prompting the `this is how Sparks fly` commentary .. Grabovski – despite letting up – is displaying an aggressive side with a healthy physical game .. has made progress to process the play quicker and uses every bit of space to make plays .. also displays deceptive one-touch skills, subtle but just enough to continue an attack if he knows there`s no more room for him .. this makes sense for MacArthur who would get to the open spots for Grabo gifts.

Lupul took exception to Colborne aggression and responded by slashing him across the pants .. Korbinian Holzer and Gardiner were paired together, a sign of pairings to come with the Marlies .. Jeff Finger seems healthy, but has clearly lost a step .. took a run at Boyce though .. Liles really only teased with skating ability while showcasing quick first-step acceleration and effortless stride.

Big jump in first-step acceleration on Hamilton .. Phaneuf playing a more prevent style today with less aggression, but more angle-oriented ..Sondre Olden continues to make long loops when he doesnèt have the puck and the play breaks down introducing an element of injury risk as his body is turning one way and his head watching the puck .. has to improve his edgework stop/starts .. physical and finishing checks is Phillipe Dupuis who didn’t have the most stable showing and could be in a position to lose fourth line cener spot to Darryl Boyce .. Josh Nicholls could be a bit more selfish with the puck at times yet isn’t the best skater and puck carrier, so he making a pass at the opposition blueline behind him that put him off side and has to be more aware of where he is on the ice before making that pass .. Nazem Kadri with the wide stance setting up for a hard wrist shot .. a vocal Kadri following the play was rewarded with the puck displaying patience into a yawning cage .. Dupuis isn’t as smart with the puck, hasty decisions, blind passes.

Tyler Bozak looks much more comfortable centering Kadri and Armstrong than he ever did centering Kessel .. Jerry D’Amigo is defensively aware, but is not effective often caught in between plays and a step behind, with his stick improperly at his side and constantly getting into other player’s lanes .. Kenny Ryan is rigid on the rush without a proper inside game .. Kessel showing off big breakaway gear taking a stretch pass for the goal .. Lupul did show the net and boards presence he brings to the Leafs .. good show of strength and puck protection from Kadri .. Komisarek is puck watching instead of taking his man .. no doubt Bozak/Kadri feed off energy brought by Armstrong, but they both have developed a bit more of a nasty demeanor .. good compete on Luca Caputi .. Connolly put on a puck handling demonstration that would get him knocked on his derriere in a real game .. lack of high end physical intensity cramping up what some players ability to offer in the lineup

MacArthur making lots of no look and slightly risky plays .. Liles needs to keep his stick down on coverage .. holds it at his waist and allows passes to float past him – doesn’t take away the lane .. Franson was jeered for being the last on the ice in third scrimmage .. has to be more diligent in coverage using his body more, at least to angle players off, instead he allows the puck and player in pursuit free passage around the boards and the net .. guilty of puck watching at time and must raise awareness of his surroundings.

Much less physical intensity in third scrimmage .. Armstrong is flying .. Kadri has dosne a much better job at getting pucks to teammates and has developed a knack for attracting players before dishing it off into vacant space .. that’s an upgrade from last season where he forced the play holding on too long .. any residue of post-concussion syndrome for Orr is seemingly gone .. Franson is soft, but I’ll attribute that to training camp somewhat .. Greg Scott deserves a shot at the fourth line .. MacArthur stops moving his feet with the puck setting up for a play making him somewhat predictable that way instead of driving to the insideGrabovski with yet another exceptional display of vision .. Frattin goes really hard to the net without the puck .. Francois Allaire did some after scrimmage work with some prospects, using them to tune their skills, while getting the goalies some practice elements

Day 2 I’d like to cover the drills to take a peak at the strategy.

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