The first day is in the books and things were a little discombobulated today with travel and touching base with folks hadn't seen in a while.
Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney told me that center Carter Camper, who signed as a free agent with Boston last spring, is not in attendance because he is still recovering from a recent procedure on his hip. No word on whether he'll be ready to go for the start of rookie camp in the fall.
Tomorrow will bring a better, more cohesive report, but for now, here are the highlights from today:
Ryan Spooner: Absolutely flying around the ice and doing his high-end puck work. Was lighting up Zane Gothberg pretty good at first (but I still thought Gothberg had a solid day overall though some disagree). Spooner is a puck wizard and he looks like his off-ice work is paying off- he's added some mass to his small frame and is getting there. Didn't cost him any in the speed department. The more I look at Spooner, the more I think he was a steal with the 45th overall pick a year ago.
Jared Knight: His competitiveness shines through in everything he does. He was lasering shots up under the crossbar all day and then he blew up goalie Mike Hutchinson in a huge collision when he took the puck to the net. For a smaller guy, Knight packs a lot of power in his lower leg drive and when he gets up under bigger defensemen with a higher center of gravity, he's able to drive them back. Impressive. And, Hutch wasn't hurt. Knight went right to him after the session was over to apologize and make sure his former London mate was OK. Once again, Knighter proves the old adage: it isn't the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts.
Alexander Khokhlachev: Skill. He has it. And as slick and dynamic as he looked, little Koko is still a work in progress. He got turned inside out by Alexander Fallstrom on one drill who then beat him to the puck and rifled it past Lars Volden while Koko was several steps behind him. But after it all, the kid had a huge smile plastered on his face in the locker room and truly relished the chance to be out there with a spoked-B on. He's likely missing something in translation when it comes to the drills, so no one is going to kill him for getting turned around. The real proof will be in the pudding when he gets to speak the international language of hockey in the scrimmages and preseason games (possibly) in the fall.
Dougie Hamilton: He moves well, but noticed that he has an upright stance. The B's top pick didn't do anything really flashy today, but that's his game. He had an active stick and stayed with his man in the drills. He was shooting the puck with good velocity. It was an OK day for Dougie, and like Tyler Seguin last year, I heard rumblings of people being disappointed because he didn't dominate. Sometimes I don't know what people expect from these kids, but Hamilton looked like a first-rounder today.
Robby O'Gara: Turned 18 just yesterday and his skating really came to the fore today. He's tall, but a stringbean. But, have to keep going back to the fluid stride and quick, agile footwork. Had he spent two years at Milton Academy before the draft instead of just the one, I'm convinced that he would have been as high as a third-round pick, but solid at least a solid fourth-rounder. I don't think enough NHL teams knew about this kid going in, but Boston did because he plays in their backyard. Long-term project, but O'Gara could be a steal. Size + mobility + intelligence + character almost always = player.
Josh Jooris: Camp invite from Union College, but I saw some good wheels and a real smart passer. He's the one guy who really stood out among the camp invites. It was just one session, but going to watch him closely and see where he takes things this week.
Brian Ferlin: He does skate like he's carrying a baby grand piano on his back, but he has some speed to him. Was getting shots off from all over the ice. Put on a whale of a hit in the offensive zone on one drill that woke everyone up. For a guy not known as a big hitter, he eliminated his man along the boards and rattled the glass. Here's some video from some of the guys