Habs’ development camp continues

By Chris Boucher
The Canadiens’ rookie development camp continues under the watchful eye of Clement Jodoin. Weekend practices were up-tempo, and the players remain healthy despite an increase in physical play during most drills.

Goaltender Luc Belanger, who recently signed with Quebec, remains the best goalie in camp. Vadim Tarasov is rumoured to be arriving Monday morning. This should give onlookers a better opportunity to judge Belanger’s play, as the two goalies he currently runs drills with are younger and less experienced. Olivier Michaud is still only seventeen, while Adam Russo is a slightly more experienced eighteen.

However, the overall gap in ability between the older skating prospects in camp (Ward, Ribeiro), and the younger players (Himelfarb, Fortunas) is beginning to get smaller. During the first few days of camp it was easy to distinguish players’ ages just by their performance, where as now the best players on the ice are not necessarily the most experienced.

Defenseman Jean-Francois David, a 19 year-old who plays with Shawinigan of the QMJHL is just beginning to show his strong puck-handling skills, and impressive speed. He has quick feet, and effortlessly pivots backward to forward. He’s possibly the best skating-defenseman in camp.

Marc-AndrĂ© Thinel (5th round 1999) has been extremely inconsistent. He’ll perform well during one drill, but struggle during the next. Usually an offensive wizard, the shifty forward hasn’t been able to put an entire strong practice together, but should improve as the camp wears on.

Marcel Hossa (1st round, 2000) continues to demonstrate a strong overall skill level. The big centerman, who the Habs’ consider a better winger than pivot, has great playmaking ability and tends to dominate during drills that involve cycling the puck. He, along with Mike Ribeiro (2nd round 1998) put on a playmaking clinic during one particular two-on-two drill. They overwhelmed the two opposing players. Playing keep-away while setting each other up for numerous scoring chances.

Dusty Jamieson, now considered a non-property invitee has impressed with his improvement over the last twelve months. Perhaps it’s due to improved health, but for whatever reason his overall skill level is miles ahead of last year’s. The versatile forward has shown a strong skating stride, to go along with his long reach, and soft hands.

Camp continues at Martin Lapointe Arena for the next five days, with on-ice workouts in the morning, and dry-land training in the afternoon.

Click on the Canadiens’ logo at the top left of the page to see a listing of the Habs’ top prospects. Including biographical information, and up-to-date stats.

Feel free to E-MAIL me with any questions or comments (In English or French). Just click on my name at the top of this page. I am a former goaltender with writing, scouting, and coaching experience