For the 2011 Draft Picks, like Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, Alan Quine and Ryan Sproul, it was an opportunity to get to know the organization, and for the organization to get to know them. For Grand Rapids talents like Brendan Smith, Thomas McCollum and Gustav Nyquist, this is a chance to prove themselves amongst their peers.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to come into training camp and land a spot with the Red Wings,” said Smith. “You just have to work hard and put yourself in the best position to be noticed.”
Ultimately this is a development camp, so it is interesting to see, unlike a regular season practice, an emphasis on power skating drills. It’s also a personal reality check to see athletes born in 1992 and 1993, which would mean that second round selection Ryan Sproul was just four-years old the Red Wings won their 1997 title.
It is quite the bummer getting old sometimes.
Among the tidbits gathered, and we’ll have more, including video in the days ahead.
Smith, a University of Wisconsin product, played for Patrick Eaves’ dad during his collegiate career as a Badger, which helped him establish a relationship with the veteran forward when he traveled with the club during the 2011 playoffs.
“Patty did a good job taking me under his wing in the playoffs last year,” Smith said. “Just showing around and telling me how things work at that level.”
Thomas McCollum and Tomas Jurco said that the Backstreet Boys were a guilty pleasure on their iPod’s. Sproul said that ‘Fired Up’ was his favorite movie and cited Mark Wahlberg as his favorite actor.
And with the addition of Mike Commodore, the folks at Puck Daddy are leading the charge to get the defenseman to wear #64. Commodore 64 was just a tad before my time, though I do remember playing an old-school Atari way, way back in the day.