With temperatures outside hitting above 100 degrees, the Phoenix Coyotes opened their 2011 Development Camp in Peoria today. A collection of Coyotes draft picks, free agent signings, and one player on a tryout, hit the ice for a brisk practice. However, the biggest news of the day happened off the ice. The Coyotes promoted Goalie Coach Sean Burke to Director of Player Development. His responsibilities have been expanded to include overseeing amateur player development. He will continue to be the team's goalie coach. Also, Dave King will no longer an assistant coach on Dave Tippet's staff. He is stepping down to become a development coach for the organization. Both men were on the ice today to help instruct players during camp.
While King and Burke were on the ice, several players were not. Both, Goalie Michael Lee, the team's 3rd pick in 2008, and defensemen Brandon Gormley, the Yotes top pick in 2010, did not participate in practice. According to the team, Lee had his knee scoped recently, so he won't be participating on the ice all weekend. Gormley supposedly had an equipment issue and is expected to be on the ice on Friday. On - ice Development Camp activities continue Friday and Sunday at Polar Ice in Peoria. Start time is 10am both days.
Player Notes (not all players are mentioned and keep in mind this was only one practice):
Mark Visentin - He was clearly the best goaltender on the ice. He looked confident during both the goalie only and all-player sessions.
Louis Domingue - He appeared to get rattled when he got scored on a couple of times in a row. Overall technique looked ok to my non-goalie coach eyes, but confidence issue was obvious later in practice.
Jacob Deserres - Appeared smaller in goal than his height would suggest. Guys were beating him high fairly regularly for much of practice. His rebound control appeared fairly weak early on, but it did to improve later in practice.
Mathieu Brodeur - He is still struggling with lateral movement on the ice. At this point we may have seen his ceiling.
Spencer Bennett - He was a late addition and is on a tryout. He was a 5th round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2009. You could tell he was a guy who had something to prove. He was skating with a purpose. He looks to have decent offensive skills. With an organization like the Coyotes that is short on forwards who can put the puck in the net, he might have a chance of sticking around.
Maxim Goncharov - He looked sluggish at times.
Evan Bloodoff - I'm not sure if he gained weight or just filled out as he's gotten older, but he just looked stronger today than when I saw him last year in rookie camp. Physical presence is the word that comes to mind. Keep in mind there was no hitting, so I'm not talking about checking.
Connor Murphy - As advertised. Solid player with size. He didn't necessarily stand out in any way, but for defensemen at his age that is a good thing.
Andy Miele - No question the guy can snipe. He looked good in the open ice and with the puck. Standing next to him after practice I think his official listed height of 5'9" may be a stretch. In a camp such as this one its hard to tell how he would hold up physically in the NHL.
Ethan Werek - Did very little that caught my eye either way minus losing an edge.