The coaching staff of the Carolina Hurricanes picked up the pace of prospect camp on Thursday as the boys battled in three-on-three and two-on-two drills for much of the late afternoon practice. This gave many of the youngsters a chance to shine, as they were able to sometimes break away for open moves on the goalies.
The physicality also picked up.
Highly regarded draft pick, Elias Lindholm, ended up hurting his shoulder midway through practice and left the ice to have it examined. It was later reported that the injury was not serious, but the Swede will have to stay off the ice for the rest of camp. He will participate in the other Summerfest activities on Saturday.
Lindholm had the puck a couple of feet from the boards and fell awkwardly into the boards after a shove from a defender.
It was a highly spirited practice which concluded with a shootout in which Austin Levi and Brock McGinn turned out to be the heroes.
Russian invitee, Sergey Tolchinsky opened the shootout with a nifty move and goal. The shifty skater brought many out of their seats earlier when he broke into the clear and made an amazing toe-drag move that drew "ohhhs" and "ahhhs" from his teammates. The move also had some in the press section trying to come up with a suitable nickname.
Levi scored twice during the shootout drill, once as the final shooter with laps on the line and he was heartily congratulated by his mates after the score. McGinn also made his final attempt count, as he was able to get the goalie moving before lifting the puck into the net.
After practice, I asked McGinn about the skill in his game, especially after he just told me the other day he considered himself to be more of a physical player.
"It felt good out there. We practiced the shootout a lot back in Guelph with Scott Walker. It was fun bringing some moves to the game. I had tried those moves before and was successful, so I tried them here as well and had some success as well. I try to show some physicality in addition to some skill and I'm glad I had the chance here."
McGinn went on to tell me about how much he had learned in camp, especially the power skating and physical training aspects.
Levi, who is not necessarily known for his offensive abilities, was getting some ribbing in the room. When asked if those moves were typically part of his game, he replied with a smile.
"I'm not normally called upon in the shootout so this was a lot of fun."
Levi started playing hockey as a youngster growing up in Colorado, and fell in love with the sport as the Avalanche were fighting in the playoffs.
"I moved to Colorado in 1996 and the Avs won the Cup that year. They won it again in 2001, so they were definitely instrumental to my start in hockey. I started playing when I was eight, in 2000, and it took off from there. Then I moved to Plymouth when I was 14 and played for Compuware, and then Plymouth."
Lindholm and Victor Rask will be happy to know that Peter Forsberg is also Levi's favorite NHL player of all time.
The boys will be back on the ice on Friday, with another late afternoon practice scheduled for 5:30.
For Jamie's pics, click here.