Wednesday I made the trek out to Duluth-land to take in a little lunch at the Breakaway Grill while observing the rookie 4 on 4 game. Smoothie of As the Birds Thrash as well Razor Catch Prey of The Blueland Chronicle joined me. Big Shooter, (a.k.a. Dances with Dolphins), was unable to attend.
Coach Ramsay, however, was on hand and observed the action just a few seats down from us. Don Waddell was just behind us. And it was good to see Falconer and Ben Wright as well.
The Blue team defeated the White team 6-4 with the two sides playing non-stop end-to-end hockey. The best goal of the game come off the stick of Fredrik Pettersson as he zipped his way through the right side of the defense, eluding checks and buried a nice shot past Ed Pasquale. He later scored on a nice wrap around.
Pettersson really stood out on both ends of the ice…the kid just flat out plays strong hockey.
Not to my surprise, Patrice Cormier also impressed. He is just a huge presence on the ice and knows how to use his physical play smartly. He had a couple big checks during the game as well as the game’s final goal.
Nasty, gritty, edgy, sandpaper…yeah, these are all words that apply to Cormier.
Even though there have been a number of signings lately making roster spots more difficult to come by, I would be stunned if Cormier is not playing at the NHL level in October.
I’d heard that Alex Burmistrov had put on about 20 pounds of weight since being drafted…and it looks like it indeed. He really didn’t show me much during prospect camp, but he did today. He provided a very nice feed through center ice to Danick Paquette who then scored on the breakaway. Good hustle and a lot of puck-handling skills.
That said, I still have some reservations about whether or not last summer’s first round pick by the Thrashers is ready for the NHL this fall, but I’ll hold off any final thoughts on that until I can see how he does with the older, more seasoned players next week.
Lastly, Angelo Esposito shows no signs that his knee is holding him back. He skates hard and fast…much more so than I had expected. If I had to venture a guess, I would say he definitely heads to the Wolves this fall, if for no other reason than to make sure he is 100% recovered from a twice-torn ACL. There is just no need to risk it at the NHL level given the amount of talent on hand.
Thursday will bring with it another 4 on 4 game starting at noon. If you can make it, it wraps up in just under an hour so it makes for a very nice lunch outing.