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Quotables: Chris Clark

Monday, 07.7.2014 / 3:10 PM ET / News
By BlueJackets.com Staff
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Quotables: Chris Clark

Columbus development coach Chris Clark shared his thoughts on day one of Blue Jackets development camp.

Clark’s first impression of day one…

"Some guys have skated a lot and you can tell that some guys haven’t skated that much. That’s normal for this time of the year, depending on where they are in their summer training. I think the guys had fun. It wasn’t that hard, but there was a lot of work to do. A lot of listening and learning new drills, which is tough as it is. Saw a lot of good things from a lot of guys."

On the prospects’ conditioning…

"It all depends on where they are in their training, which is normal. Some guys train at different levels with different trainers, so they’re at a different spot in their summer workouts. That’s just something that is going to be normal to see. We don’t evaluate a lot of that during this point of the year, if it’s training camp, that’s something different. Development camp is more about learning."

On what Clark is looking for out of the players…

"You look at their personalities and you try to get to know some of the new guys, the seven new draft picks that we have and talking with the guys we’ve known from the past. You look for listening skills, stuff like listening, being on time, all of those little things. Character, we draft a lot for character. We haven’t had a problem with that in the past, which is great. Our scouts have been doing a great job with that. A lot of what we’re doing this week is off of the ice and listening, so it’s those little personality traits that we’re looking at."

On the difference between first-timers and returning prospects…

"You look at Thomas Larkin, who is the oldest player in the camp, he’s 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. Then, you look to some of our draft picks, it’s the opposite. At this age, between 18-23 years old is a big difference in size and development. It’s great for these guys to see, you know, if I strive, I’m going to be like (Larkin) in a couple of years if I do things right. You do see a lot of differences."

On Japanese defenseman Ryo Hashimoto…

"Nates Goto, our trainer, knew of him and went back home to talk to (Japan’s) national team coach. It just seemed like a great idea. I had never seen him play. I saw some video, but I thought he looked pretty good today. I know he’s nervous; the language barrier is really big with him because he doesn’t know much English. He came with an interpreter, who is helping him out, and Nates is helping him out as well. I’m sure it would be the same as if went (to Japan) not knowing the language and trying to fit in. Once you’re on the ice, he’ll have a harder time off of the ice, but once you’re on the ice, hockey is hockey. You see what the drill is the first time and you go right into it. He felt more comfortable as the on-ice session went on."

On finding Hashimoto…

"He’s one of the best in their national program, so why not? Our game is global. In the Asian market, I know there have been some players in the NHL, but I don’t think there has been an Asian-trained player in the NHL. There’s something to building their national team and building their hockey league. Down the line, it’s going to be an avenue."

On goaltender Elvis Merzlikins...

"He’s a good guy. When I talked to him at the draft, he wasn’t at the draft and I told him we had development camp in a week. He said ok, I’ll come over today. I said we don’t need you today. He actually came over a day earlier than everybody else. He wanted to get used to the jet-lag and all that. He wanted to give his best effort. I said that if you want to (come early,) fine, you go ahead and do that. It shows that he’s committed and wants to show his best."

On Kerby Rychel and Alexander Wennberg’s push to make the Columbus roster…

"We saw it last year with Boone (Jenner) making the team. If you’re good enough, they’ll find a spot for you; they’ll make a spot. I don’t think Boone was on the radar to be a sure shot and to play as well as he did, but he made management find a spot for him. It’s great that we have that in our system because it shows if the guys are good enough and they work hard enough, they’re going to get their chances. Some teams already have guys slotted in where they’re going to go, we’re going to give guys a chance. It shows with guys coming in for their second year, the first rounds draft picks, they know that there might be a spot for them. Starting now, they’ll be showing where they should be."

On the absence of Ryan Collins and Mike Reilly

"Schoolwork. They’re back in Minnesota. They couldn’t get out of a class today. They had class unti three, so they’ll be on the flight later tonight and we’ll get them. They’re going through medicals tomorrow and they’ll be on the ice full-go tomorrow."

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