Development Camp: Testing, Testing...
If you've read through the photo gallery update, I apologize in advance for this quick recap of what went down this morning.
For starters, I woke up way too early (I'm not the rosiest of morning people, you could say) and headed downtown to follow Ryan Murray along on his first local radio tour in Columbus.
Our first stop was CD 102.5FM over in the Brewery District for an appearance with Joe Jewett and the Morning Show. Joe was great as usual, and Murray got the chance to tell the story of his draft weekend and the nervous feeling before getting selected. Murray also talked about his fondness for Neil Young and how he's taken up playing the guitar in the past couple of years.
We hopped in the car and drown down Front St. to QFM 96, where Murray jumped on with Arch & Elliot's morning show -- selfishly, it's one of my favorites. Arch asked Murray about the draft weekend and his hometown of White City, Saskatchewan, which Murray said isn't nearly as hot and humid as this week in Columbus (this guy echoes that). Finally, before we left, the guys talked Murray into playing a few chords on the guitar. It was awesome.
The final stop on our tour was at WCOL for Woody and the Wake-up Call. Woody and Stacy were terrific, asking Murray about his initial impressions of Columbus and how he assesses his chances of making the Blue Jackets roster out of training camp. Hint: Murray said he has a lot of work to do, but making the NHL club is absolutely his No. 1 goal this summer.
If you want to take a photo tour of this morning, you can head to our Twitter page or check out previous entries in the CBJ Today to check out all the photographic evidence.
Now, on to the hockey stuff.
Blue Jackets strength and conditioning coach Kevin Collins has a clearly defined set of tests and drills mapped out every year for the prospects, and this morning, the players were split up into groups for the exercises. In groups of four to five players each, they did redline-to-blueline (and back) skating drills, followed by a series of maneuvers through cones to test their balance.
|Camp invite Joel Hanley (shown) takes on a skating drill today.|
The intensity level of the workout was clear as soon as you saw the prospects' faces as they left the ice and headed back to the dressing room. There were some deep exhales, some shaking their heads, and others who could only laugh it off and smile as they approached the cold tub.
"It's tough, but it's good for you," Murray said. "It's good to get out there and get skating like that. It's not easy but it's good for us. Right now, it's the legs (that burn). I find that in the middle of the summer you're not skating a whole lot, but right now the legs are cramping up pretty good."
Following the workouts, the full group was headed out for a team-building exercise (affectionately known as leadership training) run by a former member of the United States military. Asked if he knew what they were in for, Murray could only laugh.
"We're going to meet up with an ex-Marine, so I kind of have an idea."
Here are some other notes from today's limited action session at the OhioHealth Ice Haus:
-- Chatted a little bit with Cam Atkinson after his workout. Said he hasn't really slowed down since the World Championship, and talked about how he thinks this week at development camp will help him get prepared for potentially starting the season in the NHL this year. He echoed the words of Scott Howson earlier this week, saying he knows his spot isn't earned and there's a long way to go in that regard.
-- T.J. Tynan (wrist) was on the ice and took part in the skating testing this morning, a good sign especially after missing the on-ice workouts thus far in camp.
-- Saw Will Weber for a bit today, as well. Not only is he a big kid (6-foot-4 and over 200 lbs.) he looks like he could move a dump truck with his bare hands. I've said before -- and scouts have agreed -- that Weber has a legitimate future in the NHL. He's got a big year ahead of him and will likely play top-four minutes in Springfield. A week like this with his soon-to-be head coach running the drills doesn't hurt his cause, either.
-- JacketsTV was on hand for the team-building activity this afternoon. If you haven't yet seen the photos from the site, check them out on our CBJ Twitter page. Look for the video recap later this evening!
-- We're right back at it tomorrow morning. The on-ice workout begins at 10:30 a.m. in the OhioHealth Ice Haus, and is scheduled to run until 12:15 p.m. Hope to see you at the rink!