Lightning Prospect Workouts: Day Four
Of the four morning practices to this point, I’d have to say today’s was the least impressive for the young Lightning hopefuls. The first quarter of the practice was littered with poor passes, some less-than-stellar stickhandling, and many a player looking like they had a hole in their sticks. As a special surprise for Lightning fans, Rudy Poeschek, who is receiving a tryout with the team when training camp begins in a few weeks, skated with the team. So, let’s begin the third sequel of highlights and lowlights:
Alex Svitov seems to get incrementally better every day. His skating, stickhandling, and finishing all looked crisper today. On the balance, I’d say he was the second best finisher of the practice.
Who was the best? Arthur Femenella. You can infer how well the practice went when the best player at putting the puck in the net was an individual who netted only one goal all last season with Sioux City of the USHL, but it’s the truth. Femenella once again flashed a very hard and accurate snap shot in drills, but was unable to exert himself physically in one-on-one drills. The prospect forwards seem to have learned the way to test Arthur is to take him wide.
I don’t know if he has read my articles, but I was heartened by Gerard Dicaire taking a pile of pucks out to his right point power play position and working on his slapshot for 15 minutes after practice, under the watchful supervision of Paul Ranger. Kevin Hodson took notice too, and pulled the two young defensemen aside for a long talk. Many of my comments, both good and bad, from yesterday about the pair of backliners were echoed in today’s skate.
Aaron Lobb, who has been, if nothing else, solid all week, looked a half-gear faster today. He is another player I expect to have a solid season once he goes back to his junior team, the Guelph Storm.
Brian Eklund‘s quickness in getting back to his feet after going down in the butterfly is superb for a man his size (6’5″ 205).
Darren Reid rebounded and had a solid day today. It is my hope that he will buckle down tomorrow and prove he can put together two good practices in a row before shipping out for Medicine Hat.
For long-time fans of the team, surely seeing Rudy Poeschek take the ice again for an official Lightning function was a nice treat. The veteran enforcer’s skating looked poor for the first third of the practice, but improved as he warmed up over the course of the morning. His positioning was the best amongst defensemen in the one-on-one drills, although his passing and shooting left much to be desired.
J.F. Soucy, after having a solid camp to this point, took a step backwards today. He had a frightening inability to take or give a pass and his stickhandling was sloppy, to say the least.
Adam Henrich couldn’t buy a goal today, and although his practice wasn’t overly bad, it was a step backwards from his performances Monday through Wednesday.
As a group, this team has taken two steps back in intensity and crispness since a very good workout on Tuesday. It is my hope they turn the voltage up Friday morning and finish with a flourish instead of a thud.
Winger Nikita Alexeev did not participate in the morning practice today, which perhaps contributed to a down group workout.
Jay Feaster and John Tortorella watched the practice again from the balcony at the Ice Sports Forum.
Aaron Lobb, Darren Reid, Adam Henrich, Kevin Hodson, and Evgeny Konstantinov were the last players to leave the ice today. Hodson delighted the remaining fans with some comical gestures while telling the younger goaltender some big fish stories after practice.