Saturday night started the way the morning session ended. Miller and Fryer where manning the nets along with Brett Perras, Scotty Komer , Chris Collins, Chad Peiper. Once again the rookies did not disappoint the coaches or the fans in attendance. Veterans Westervelt, Crowley, Ross, Buchanan showed their mid-season form, Miller and Fryer where true to form as well. But we all know what the veterans can do. The story of theis camp is the rookies and free agents. (F) Ethan Farrell, (T) Will Harrington, (D) Chad Wiedmaier have kept their play going all weekend. Draft pick C.J. Costabile and Mike Manley have proved why they deserve a spot on this years roster. The bigsurprise from the veteran side has been the play of Ned Crotty. After a wrist injury last year and scoring 2 goals in the first round playoff loss to the K’Hawks, Crotty has really turned in up staking his claim for a spot on the roster. The last 30 minutes of the session Staurday night was a very spirited inter-squad scrimmage, where Brett Manney showed why he is becoming one of the top defensemen in the N.L.L. Paul Dawson and John Mcfadyen also played a very tough defense in the scrimmage. All in all there was just no let up from anyone in camp. They are making the coaches job very, very hard.
Sunday morning once again camp starting at 7am, and for me that means a 5:30am alarm to get ready and head to camp. Once again another hard impressive workout by all. Some veterans where given the session off so the coaches can get a good look at the rookies. I will be honest, I personally thought there may be a let up in play when the veterans showed up, but these guys have proven me wrong. Assistant GM Jimmy Butler has put together a fine list of players who can make this team and make it difficult for the coaches to decide.
Sunday afternoon was the annual Meet the Team Party for season ticket holders. The season ticket holders where given there custom player tickets, a Wings umbrella, Brodie Merrill Gnome, and a replica Dallas Eliuk banner signed by Dallas himself, no facsimile. The party started with GM/Head Coach Johnny Mouradian having the players introduce themselves. Once the intro’s where completed the fans where able to meet the players, and get to know some of the rookies as well as new comers Kevin Ross and Kevin “Bucky” Buchanan. While catching up with the veterans from last season, I had the honor of speaking to some of the players and getting there reaction to the crowd. C.J. Costabile.. “This is amazing, you never see this in the M.L.L.” Chad Wiedmaier. “Shawn Nadelen told me about this party and WOW”. Other rookies were amazed as well, saying “they see why the Wings fans are one of the best in the league. New Wing Kevin Ross, “it will feel good to be cheered here and not have “sucks” yelled at you”. Veterans, Manney, Miller, Crowley said it gets better and better.
I want to thank the players for staying through the 3 hour event, making sure they seen each fan, young and old, taking pictures signing autographs, and even spending time at our Fan Club table.
Notables not in camp:
Dan Dawson was not at camp this weekend due to his job commitment. Like last year he will be working certain hours so it allows him to take the time off to play in all 16 games.
Jordan Sealock is having VISA problems that only allows him to work one job, and that right now is coaching at Robert Morris
Taylor Wray will be coaching all season at St. Joe’s University in Philadelphia.
But the big surprise was newly acquired Kyle Hartzell as he was placed on the protected play list. So this makes me wonder. Is Kyle happy with the trade? Does he want to play here? Well as we seen in past years with the protected player list after a trade, the players rights get traded to another team. Paul Rabil is a good example. And if you don’t already know, Rabil doesn’t want to play in Rochester, he wants to come and play in Philadelphia. This is known in the league. So I say if Hartzell does not want to play here, maybe we can trade him to Rochester for Rabil, either straight up or include someone else. Then again, if Hartzell does want to stay here, and the hold up is due to his job, well we cant wait to see him here in Philadelphia.
Keep checking inlacrossewetrust.com as I go one on one with GM/Head Coach Johnny Mouradian at the party, as well as my interview with Alex Fortier. Here is the interview with Fortier, below.