Hi, Snakes fans--
Before I get to the training camp update for today, some news for Jesse Cole fans. I thought that Jesse was returning to Fayetteville, but when I looked at the Antz camp roster, I didn't see his name. So I checked with Jesse and, sadly, it looks like his playing career is over.
Jesse told me that he's working on some hockey programs for kids back home and plans to focus on that for the future. I know ya'all join me in wishing Jesse the very best.
I also talked to Greg Beller yesterday and told him how crazy I was at first every time I heard somebody say the name "Bailer". My head would jerk and for a second, I thought he said "Beller". But I know Greg's not coming back...really. He's studying hard in med school and said it's very rewarding. He wished the Snakes all the best!
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I touched base with Dave Cianfrini and told him he'd be missed. He said he'll always remember all the fun he had in Columbus and all the great people he met.
Well, today was the last workout before the two exhibition games tomorrow night and Saturday. The last-minute scrimmage yesterday was a good opportunity for Jerome and Brad to see the guys and, believe me, they're taking full advantage of each time they can see the guys in game action. This is the largest camp in I-don't-know-when and I can't imagine how tough the decisions will be.
As you know, the team will carry 10 forwards, 6 d-men and 2 goalies. Right now, there are 16 forwards, 8 d-men, Andrew and Ian. Wouldn't want to be in Jerome's shoes...
When the Snakes held their first free agent camp, Jerome decided to invite several of the guys to training camp. One of the biggest surprises in camp has been the performance of Evan MacIntosh, one of the free agents. Evan, who played D3 hockey, is listed at 5-6, As I said before, he's Orrin-sized.
Evan has good speed and likes to hit. He will definitely battle for the puck, and ya'all know Jerome likes that. I thought all the free agents were long shots to make the team, to be honest. But now I wouldn't be surprised to see Evan's name on the opening night roster. He's the kind of gritty player Jerome likes.
Here's how the lines stacked up today. This is what Jerome always does. He experiments with lots of different combinations.
- Nik Poliokov--Jason Yuel--Alex MacLeod
- Jonathan Redlick--Liam Tully--Brett Hammond
- Derek Pallardy--Jim Durham--Levi Lind
- Orrin Hergott--John Sullivan--Jordan Braid
- Sam Bowles--Andrew Adams--Evan MacIntosh--Adam Kuhn
Here are today's defensive pairings:
- Tom Maldonado and Chris Bailer
- Ivan Lyaskevich and Tom Fitzpatrick
- Bret Tyler and Kevin Kessler
- Kyle Johnson and Daniel Amesbury
Jerome worked on the PP and PK today and the guys did a lot of other drills...2 on 2, 3 on 2. He spent quite a bit of time at the dry erase board illustrating plays.
Now tomorrow night, as I told Nik today, they get to hit strangers instead of each other. Definitely more fun!
A reminder I'll be posting updates on twitter from the Ice Rink tomorrow night and will post in my blog as soon as I get home. Opening Night...8 days. :)