Back to New Jersey... oy! Well, my second to trip to NJ went a bit better than the first... at least in Somerset I could turn left at nearly every light, but in fact, I didn't have to worry about driving hardly at all - there was a shuttle from the hotel to the rink! Excellent. Last week was the Rutgers University Collegiate Prep Camp for kids thinking of pursuing college hockey, at Rutgers or otherwise. Most of the kids were high school seniors or college freshmen, with a few kids that were younger and a few that were older.
As usual, my job is to handle the goalies and make sure they get the work and feedback they deserve, especially out of a camp that is in no way designed for goaltenders. I had two - one who is going to be a junior in high school and one who was planning on trying out for an ECHL team. The ECHL hopeful goalie had actually not played very much ice hockey but is a very good roller hockey goaltender... and his first remark did it for me... he declared that ice hockey goalie was easy and took very little effort... :-O
Right then and there I knew he was going to be crap and would turn out to be more trouble than he was good. Both goaltenders needed a lot of work on their fundamentals... but only one actually thought I was right (guess which one!). After all was said and done the ECHL hopeful left the camp after a day and a half after getting lit up by high schoolers and college kids - citing they weren't good enough.
Now, I admit, it's extremely hard as a goaltender to play down a level, let alone two or three. But there was a Junior A player and a few college players out on the ice. They lit him up... not because they were slow, I watched them and his reactions... they were just better than he was. You can tell when goalies are being forced to play down a level, their reactions are either too quick or too slow and you can see them waiting... and waiting... and growing impatient with the player. But he was seeing shots that were challenging him and his reactions were being pushed to their limits. I tried to explain things to him, but after a while he would have none of it, and walked off the ice. Good luck buddy, let me know how the EC is. Ha ha... sorry... that was mean (but true).
The rest of the week I had to dress in net and provide competition. It was fun (especially against those Rutgers punks!) and I got quite a work out from the older kids. I'll admit, I didn't play well. My reactions were slow to start out and I wasn't following the puck very well at all, but oh well, I'm retired now anyway. It was fun and the off ice workouts were tough yet a ton of fun (yes I think I'm masochistic... sp?).
So I spent a week with the enemy... big deal. I'm retired, and am a coach now. But I did get some inside information; nothing huge, but still good to know. I also picked up a lot of off ice drills and on ice drills which are used by the pros (Cam Jansen and Scott Stevens in particular). I'll put the Oswego boys through one of the off ice workouts when I'm there next week, I think. They'll find it tough enough.