Many Blackhawk prospect camp graduates may skip juniors

By Bill Placzek

As Blackhawks prospect camp continues, the players seem a little more relaxed and focused, and in being so, look like better players in all cases.

Michal Barinka has caught up to the others, his stick work and shooting now equal to his fluid motion. His strong is very strong but so far errant, but in close he scores on the camp goaltenders like a forward.

There are considerations afoot to sign Vladimir Gusev, Alexander Barkunov, Olli Malmivaara, Michal Barinka and Lasse Kukkonen and assigned to Norfolk. Alexander Kozevnikov looks so good there are now discussions as to whether to sign him and send him to Norfolk as an 19-year-old with the option to call him up him to the parent club, instead of letting him sign and play junior Hockey in Val-D’Or as was Gusev.

Czech defender Petr Puncochar was a camp casualty, suffering a separated shoulder.

Jim Wisniewski continues to lead on the ice, explaining the drills to the others and passing the puck with authority. Teams seem to always find places for under 6 foot defenseman who pass like he does, but you have to wonder if he could handle the NHL forwards at his present size.

Speaking of size, or lack thereof, Duncan Keith continues to show how much he is a better skater than most in camp. He moves well enough to get to almost any on rusher, and engage. Can there be a place for another undersized Hawk defender, a la Pat Stapleton?

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