Training camp physicals have started today! It's time to get out the jerseys and sweaters, pay your first installment of your Center Ice bill, and skip out of work and get down to the rink to watch your favorite athletes compete for jobs. The Canes have 50 players at camp this year. That's not a typo, yes 50. It might seem like a lot because it is a lot, but let me give you a little history behind that number. Here is a sampling of a conversation that GM Jim Rutherford and coach Laviolette probably had at a lunch about a month or so ago. (no, David Tanabe wasn't present this time)
JR: "Peter, I have some good news and some bad news"
Lavi: "Okay Jim, hit me with the bad news first"
JR: "Well, the bad news is that I had to trade away our whole farm system in order to obtain Recchi and Weight last year"
Lavi: "Oh, okay well what's the good news?"
JR: "The good news is that I had to trade away our whole farm system in order to obtain Recchi and Weight last year"
(chuckles and laughter between them)
The truth of the matter isn't far from that imagined exchange. In essence Laviolette will probably have a lot to say who makes the Albany River Rats as well as selecting who makes the Hurricanes. Fifty players is more than enough to suit up two teams, but considering that we share our affiliate Albany with Colorado, I doubt that we need to keep 40 players in our system. Of course there are a few juniors players who aren't expected to turn pro yet, but expect the competition to be ferocious this year. There are certainly many more bodies than there are positions and people will be competing like never before. That's good for the team and good for fans, but it makes things tough on Laviolette and his coaching staff, not that they are complaining!
This year will be like the rest, the large cluster will be divided into Groups A and B. Here is a roster provided by the Canes as of today:
2 Wesley 8 Woolley 13 Whitney 16 Ladd 17 Brind'Amour
18 Bayda 19 Letowski 22 Commodore 23 Walser 24 Walker
26 Cole 34 Gove 35 Nastiuk 38 Conboy 39 Bellissimo
42 Dwyer 43 Kelman 50 Kowalski 52 Angelidis 53 Vojta
56 Barnes 60 Peters 72 Blanchard
7 Wallin 11 Williams 12 Staal 14 Adams, K 15 Isbister
25 Willis 27 Adams, C 30 Ward 32 Hulse 33 Carson
36 Boulerice 37 Aucoin 41 Reed 44 Hughes 46 Peat
47 Grahame 48 Babchuk 54 Chaput 57 Estrada 59 LaRose
70 Tverdovski 71 Forrest
Interesting to note that the enforcers are pretty much split up. We have Boulerice, Peat, and Dwyer all ex-enforcers. One has to wonder how many does one franchise need? Will any of them make the Canes? I doubt it. Will all 3 of them be needed at Albany? Wow, would that be fun, but I doubt that as well. Maybe we will see a couple of them go at it during a scrimmage, it wouldn't be the first time.
Speaking of scrimmages, there are a couple of dates to underline on the training camp schedule. Wednesday, September 20th at 6PM is a scrimmage at the RBC. This could be as good as an exhibition game! Another interesting date is Monday, September 18th at 11AM, there is another white/red scrimmage.
Here is the rink schedule to date, remember everything is subject to change:
Friday, September 15th, Group A 8:30-10AM at the RECZONE
Friday, September 15th, Group B 10:30-12:00 at the RECZONE
Saturday, September 16th, Group B 8:30-10AM at the RECZONE
Saturday, September 16th, Group A 10:30-12:00 at the RECZONE
Sunday, September 17th, Group A 8:30-10AM at the RECZONE
Sunday, September 17th, Group B 10:30-12:00 at the RECZONE
Monday, September 18th, non game group scrimmage 9-10AM at the RECZONE
Monday, September 18th, red-white scrimmage 11-12:00 at the RECZONE
Tuesday, September 19th, Group B 8:30-10AM at the RECZONE
Tuesday, September 19th, Group A 10:30-12:00 at the RECZONE
Wednesday September 20th, non game group practice 9-11 at RBC Center
Wednesday September 20th red-white scrimmage 6PM at RBC Center
That's enough for now. More analysis as to who makes it and who doesn't later.