There’s been a clear resounding excitement with the full return of hockey. Monday, July 13th all players participating in the season restart reported to facilities for day 1 of training camp. Camp started out at an acclimating pace for the guys, but coach Cooper did well at keep drills high tempo and increasing intensity as the days progressed. By day 3 of camp, the bolts hit the ice in Amelia Arena for their 1st little scrimmage since the pause.
In the scrimmage it became apparent that the newer additions to the team were able to take some advantage of the pause. Looking more apart of the Lightning and increasing the chemistry on the team. Addition number 1, Blake Coleman mentioned in a press conference that “things are starting to feel routine and I feel a part of the group without having to think about it”. Coach Cooper picked up on the improvements and newfound comfort stating, “the break may have helped…players come in at the end of a season, your unfamiliar, then you get 4 months to get acclimated with staff, teammates, and coaches and it almost feels like they’re back and in their 2nd year with the team”. As for way Coleman is an asset to the team, Cooper said, “They only thing he hasn’t done with us is finish, He competes hard, doesn’t give up on a play, his skating is exceptional, and he is fearless going to the net.” All skills the bolts can use to assist them in playoffs.
Coleman and Goodrow look to be some good chemistry out on the ice. Bogosian is settling in exceptionally well, especially after not playing for some time. Pairing up with Victor Hedman, Bogosian was asked how he manages playing with defenseman, Hedman and his unique style…Bogosian says that you can learn a lot from his style of play. He stays out of his way and focuses on reading him.
Aside from the acclimation of the new guys, the two remaining questions this week are Stamkos’ health and what they guys are packing for the bubble in Toronto? Stamkos played the first half which Cooper said was promising that he was out there and for 45 minutes. As for Stamkos’ readiness to play in the exhibition games? Cooper kept it simple saying “if he’s able he will and If he doesn’t play it won’t be because of health, it’ll be to add to the timetable for rest”. Coach mentioned that he would like to see him in one of the red robin games, so he can get some meaningful time under his belt.
As for bubble necessities, it was nearly in unison that most of the guys planned to watch a lot of Netflix and were probably in need of some show recommendations. Then came the big split, video gamer or reader? Jan Rutta will be hopping on the video games, while McElhinney and Bogosian hit the books.
Safe to say the Bolts are off to a promising start before heading to Toronto Sunday July 26th and getting their 1st playoff feels July 29th in the exhibition match versus the Florida Panthers.