The Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Camp Primer
Here it is folks, the Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Camp Roster and a short preview of what to expect. Keep in mind that the following list does not take into account the team physicals that each player must go through before being cleared to play.
J.F Racine, Sebastien Centomo, Jamie Hodson, Jan Chovan.
Keep an Eye On:
As the new kid on the goaltending block he can only go up. He’s already pushed aside Paulo Colaiacovo for the starting job in Belleville so he knows what it takes to move up the ladder.
Jonathon Zion, Carlo Colaiacovo, Christian Chartier, Brendan Bell, Jay Harrison, Lubos Velebny, J.P. Cote, Tomas Mojzis
Keep an Eye On:
The WHL’s best defenseman last year, he’ll be one of the oldest players in camp. He needs to dominate from start to finish in order to put his stamp on a defense that is going to be his for the taking on The Rock.
Luca Cereda, Brad Boyes, Kris Vernarsky, Miguel Delisle, Jaroslav Sklenar, Nicolas Corbeil, Kyle Wellwood, Jonathon Roy, Joe Talbot, Robb Palahnuk
Keep an Eye On:
This former Moncton Wildcat like many forwards coming out of the Q is a bit short on size and long on missability. With other more highly touted names like Cereda, Boyes, Corbeil, and Wellwood being bandied about, one shouldn’t forget Roy, who had 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games with the Baby Buds last year.
Who’ll Get to Practice with the Big Boys
While come the 10th of September some of the players listed here will be going to St. John’s Newfoundland no matter what, others will get an extended invitation to stick around while the Toronto Maple Leafs get the kinks out of their bodies and prepare for a new season. Who gets the privilege of dropping in front of a Bryan McCabe slapshot? Who will be receiving a Darcy Tucker face-wash? Which player will be skating in Mats Sundin’s wake looking for his jockstrap? Your fearless columnist predicts:
Jamie Hodson, Sebastien Centomo, Jonathon Zion, Carlo Colaiacovo, Christian Chartier, Lubos Velebny, Luca Cereda, Brad Boyes, Jonathon Roy, Joe Talbot.
MEANWHILE DOWN ON THE FARM…..
#17 With a Bullet
Unlike many of the top end defenseman selected in the June’s NHL Entry Draft, Erie Otter blueliner Carlo Colaiacovo wasn’t a household name at the beginning of the OHL season. In fact, with teammates like Brad Boyes, Nikita Alexeev, and Adam Munro, he probably wasn’t even a household name in Erie. All that changed during the 2000/2001 schedule. By the time all the cigar smoking folks gathered around their various tables in Sunrise, Florida, Colaiacovo was one of the fastest risers on the draft board.
Otter Coach Dave MacQueen likes the fact that his young charge doesn’t really have a discernable weakness to his game. “He is above average in all aspects of the skating game, angles (his man off) very well, (and ) stays with guys who shift gears.” That said there is more to his defensive game than simply keeping up with the other guy. MacQueen describes him as being “agile” along the boards and notes that “nine tines out of ten, he eliminates his man in the corners.” As for his work in front of the net Erie’s #8 is accomplished at “keeping his man off balance (and) lifting his stick. (Although Carlo) will sacrifice (his body), the Erie system prefers that defensemen stay on their feet.”
Colaiacovo’s skating skills naturally lend themselves to the transition game and as his Coach will attest in this aspect the young rearguard hasn’t disappointed. He has a “very good first pass” coming out of his own end and once in stride he shows “good vision through the neutral zone.” MacQueen goes on to say “if the cross-ice pass is there, he’ll find it.” Once inside the zone, he makes sound decisions with the puck. He has a “quick release (and he) will shoot (but while) his shot is accurate, it could use a bit more velocity.”
One thing that will help him in this regard is MacQueen’s plans to play him on his off-side this year and have him quarterback the powerplay. There is little doubt he is ready for this challenge. His bench boss says “good players take their game to another level and Carlo is capable of this.” He continues in this vein pointing out that Colaiacovo “plays within the system and is positionally very sound.” Furthermore, he demonstrates a certain unflappability by “not taking bad penalties (and) putting his mistakes behinds him quickly” When asked to compare his charges style to a player already in the NHL the Coach pauses momentarily before volunteering Scott Neidermeyer. While Tie Domi might not approve, if Colaiacovo can achieve what the B.C native has by the time he’s 28, the Leaf will have drafted a winner indeed.
HOCKEY’S FUTURE AND STEPHEN J. HOLODINSKY WOULD LIKE TO THANK ERIE OTTERS COACH DAVE MACQUEEN FOR HIS INSIGHT ON CARLO COLAIACOVO.