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Flyers Prospect Camp - Blog Coverage

 



Adirondack Phantoms broadcaster Bob Rotruck is in Voorhees, New Jersey this week covering the 2012 Philadelphia Flyers Prospect Camp. Follow along as he keeps us updated with plenty of videos, interviews, pics and other observations.

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July 10 - 2:00pm (Day 2)

More fun at Prospect Camp today in Voorhees, NJ. This was Day 2 and it looked like a fairly hard session for the boys as best I could tell. Good workouts for everyone all gathering in the same place for a solid week in July. There's only so much you can accomplish when it's just one or two guys skating together...or even 6 or 7 guys. When it's a whole team thing with the Flyers instructors mixing up the drills AND pushing you then it just takes on a different feel and it all undoubtedly seems more productive.

After the practice I was talking with a few of the Phantoms guys whose lockers are all together in the same corner. And then it occured to me that we had a quality photo shot right there. The players pulled over Jason Akeson whose locker is on the other side of the room from the rest of these Phantoms players for some reason (you know we love you Jason).

I think it's a definite winner. Left to right are Jason Akeson, Tye McGinn, Luke Pither, Tyler Brown and Shane Harper.

 

Now onto the videos.

This stick-handling drill with the players going back and forth for awhile will sure put a strain on the wrists.

This was Tye McGinn's turn at the end of the drill. Jason Akeson does a really good job of counting and laughing at him.

 

And here's Shane Harper showing off his moves again.

 

 

And now a couple of interviews catching up with Shane Harper and Jason Akeson after the long practice session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 9 Update - 10:00pm (Day 1)

 

Okay, got battery power again. Here are some more videos from the 2012 Flyers Prospect Camp with a quick Q&A with Nick Cousins on his time with the Phantoms and also a "media scrum" with Brandon Manning (where all the reporters gather around and ask their questions in a big huddle).

There were about 15 or so different media members there covering the camp from newspaper to radio and TV to little, old me poking my head in and saying Hi. It's a relaxed atmosphere but it's also somewhat serious stuff too. These beat-reporters for the Philadelphia Flyers know that some of the next Flyers regulars in years to come are at this camp right now. So getting to meet Oliver Lauridsen, Brandon Manning and Nick Cousins before any of them have made it to the big-time and are in the process of trying to do so becomes a pretty good story.

Lots of focus naturally on the top two Flyers picks from last month's 2012 NHL Entry Draft. It was Scott Laughton's first run on the Flyers' ice and everyone was paying extra-close attention to the 20th overall pick in the draft who scored 21 goals and 32 assists for the Oshawa Generals last year. Sean Couturier was similarly watched closely at this very time last year. Laughton is not eligible to come to the Phantoms from Canadian Major Juniors because he is only 18. So for him, if he doesn't make the Philadelphia Flyers roster, he will be sent back to Major Juniors for another season of tearing it up in the OHL.

Anthony Stolarz was Philadelphia's second-round draft choice although it was not his first time at the Skate Zone facility in Voorhees. Stolarz is from Jackson, New Jersey (he grew up a Devils fan but we'll let that slide) and he had been to Voorhees for a tournament before. He put up great numbers as a goalie in Tier-I juniors (lower than Canadian Major Juniors) playing for the Corpus Christi IceRays all the way down in Corpus Christi, Texas. He's a big 6'5" goalie who is committed to playing NCAA hockey this year with the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

So obviously those are the guys being grabbed by the reporters. But there are stories everywhere. I think Brandon Manning's is worth following very closely. Plus, we know him up in Glens Falls AND he could be coming back to the Phantoms this year. He could also have a shot of making the Flyers out of training-camp in September. And if not then he will be coming back to the Phantoms with a very good chance at getting another call-up at some point during the season.

 

Brandon Manning had an interesting season last year. All spring and summer spent rehabbing and was in Voorhees for WAY too long once the season started because he was still getting healthy. So yeah, he knows his way around town and how to get from the team hotel to the Olive Garden up the street. He was here for quite awhile just training and working on his hip and getting better. Finally, by December, he was ready to join the Adirondack Phantoms although he still wasn't 100% healthy. But at least he was playing in games and he was getting better all the time.

Manning has a big shot and plays well on the power play. He also has a really good, feisty streak in him and seems to always pick good times to display it. He's young but he also has some good leadership qualities that you can immediately tell just by talking to him. He was the captain of his Major Juniors team, the Chilliwack Bruins in the WHL. He played in 46 games with Adirondack (because he missed the first two months) and scored six goals and 13 assists. But in March it was an even bigger deal when he received his first callup to the NHL and got action in four games with the Flyers. Philly had a number of injuries on their blue-line last year and when Kimmo Timonen couldn't go, he had been playing extremely well so was called on and did great after getting the butterflies out of his system.

He is one of the "veterans" at the Prospect Camp at 21 years old and is the only player in camp who has played in the NHL which makes him a guy to look up to especially by the younger players.

 

 

 


 

 

Nick Cousins was one of the late-season callups from Major Juniors at the end of the season although most Phantoms fans wouldn't remember or recognize him really. Cousins only got to play in one game with Adirondack, and it was on the road.

But he still benefitted from his near-month stay in Glens Falls as he got his first real taste of regular-season professional hockey. As a young player getting there for the first time, you see that in some ways it's a bit different than juniors and in many ways it's mostly the same.

Nick was a third-round pick of the Flyers in 2011 and is considered one of the top prospects in the system. He racked up 35 goals and 53 assists last year in Major Juniors for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League. He's still only 18 so he's too young to play for the Phantoms this year except maybe again at the end of the season just like he did this past March. But that only happens if his Juniors team doesn't make the playoffs or gets eliminated early so he also has hopes that it becomes a moot point and not a possibility this year.

But he enjoyed his time with Adirondack last year and gained from the experience of simply being there.

 

 

 

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July 9 - 2:00pm (Day 1)

 

I'm coming to you live from Voorhees, New Jersey and it's back to hockey-mode for a few days for this week's Prospect Camp.

43 of the top, young prospects in the Philadelphia Flyers organziation are all converging onto the Philadelphia area this week to take part in the 2012 Philadelphia Flyers Prospect Camp. It's at the Flyers Virtua Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ which is also where the big team trains and practices throughout the season.

There are a lot of players from last year's Adirondack Phantoms team here. Among them are Jason Akeson, Shane Harper, Brandon Manning, Oliver Lauridsen, Tye McGinn, Tyler Brown, Blake Kessel, Luke Pither just to name a few. And these guys are actually the OLD-timers of the group! There are plenty of 17 and 18 year olds in the camp as well as some 20-somethings who are looking to join the Phantoms roster this October. For some players like McGinn and Pither, this is their third or fourth Prospect Camp believe it or not.

Busy day. And the coaches ran them pretty hard in the different practice sessions. With 43 players, they need to divide it up into two groups. 21 players on the ice at a time is okay. 43 players is way too crowded and unmanageable. So the first group went from 9:00 to 10:30 and then the second group went from 10:30 to 12:00.

Kind of funny getting into hockey-mode in July. But I can roll with it.

Nice to go up to some of the players I know from last season and say hello and catch up a little bit. I'm sure they were kind of surprised to see me here! I also got to meet some of the new guys including a few players who could very well be with the Phantoms this season. One such guy is Cal Heeter from the Ohio State Buckeyes. He's a talented goalie whose hometown is St. Louis who could very well coming to ADK along with Finland goalie Niko Hovinen (who is not taking part in the camp).

I took a handful of videos this morning to help give everyone a feel for the whole thing. Some were on the ice of the various drills. Others were back in the interview area in the locker rooms.

Here's a convo I had with big Phantoms D-Man Oliver Lauridsen who got back into the country a few days ago to get ready for the camp.



 

There's more to come so stay tuned. Right now, the battery on my video-camera died and I can't upload anymore until I get it charged up. But I got in there to say hello to guys like Brandon Manning, Cal Heeter and Nick Cousins so I will get those on this page when I can.

I guess one impression I have from my first time attending this is how young some of these players are. My gosh. Some of these 18 year olds who sometimes look even younger than that. We're talking 1994 birthdates on the roster. (ummm, I had already graduated college. Oh geez am I old).

It's a big-time experience especially for them just to be working in the same facility and sharing the same lockers as guys like Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. You can tell that some of the fresher faces have kind of "deer in the headlights" and are just trying to get acclimated to playing here for the big team in front of the Philadelphia Flyers brass who are always watching from their perch overhead.

That's actually where guys like Jason Akeson and Brandon Manning come in. They've been there. Now they're 21 or 22 which is actually older by this group's standards. And the younger kids look up to them just to see where they're supposed to be going at whatever time and how it's supposed to work.

Manning especially draws that attention. Because he's the only one in this year's camp who has played in the NHL. The Prince George, BC native played in four games for the Flyers late last season after he was finally getting fully healthy.

Last year at this time it was guys like Matt Read, Brayden Schenn and Sean Courturier who were lighting it up in this camp on their way to all having impressive seasons with the Flyers. Others in the camp last year included Erik Gustafsson, Eric Wellwood, Harry Zolnierczyk, Zac Rinaldo. That's a pretty impressive list of talent who went straight from the camp to making the Flyers team that very season and playing key roles.

Most of the guys in the camp this year are anywhere from two to maybe five years or more away from being ready to play for Philadelphia. That's how young they are. But there are definitely a few at the top of the bunch who can help their chances of making the Flyers this year with a strong showing in camp. A guy like Manning who has actually been there already is certainly one of those players.

More videos later, here are a few pics that I also posted on the team's twitter page:

 



 




 
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