SCOUT'S POSTCARD FROM...WHISTLER, B.C.
by Harkie Singh
Islanders Amateur Western League Scout
[Ed. note: Our series of emails from Islanders scouts on the road continues with Islanders western-based amateur scout Harkie Singh sharing his report from the evaluation camp of Team Canada, coached by former Islander Brent Sutter].
Kenny Morrow and I had a great time in Whistler, B.C. Along with watching games we did a little sight-seeing in Whistler, the host of many events at the Winter Olympic games in 2010.
Kenny and I rented two scooters and drove them all over town. As well we took the gondola ride up to Whistler Mountain (7000 feet). It was a scary ride to say the least. It was like we were in God's country (WOW!). [Islanders chief amateur scout] Tony Feltrin joined us in Vancouver for game three on his way home from Europe, where he was watching the Under-18s.
As an organization we are very proud of our prospects that played at Canadian Junior Evaluation Camp. 2004 second-rounder Blake Comeau played very well. He displayed a great amount of character and leadership qualities on the ice.
As Islanders fans would expect, Brent Sutter challenged each and every player to compete hard. The camp was so intense that he didn't allow Team Red to hang out with Team White or Team White to hang out with Team Red.
Here are my notes from the three games:
Game # 1: Team Red (w/ Comeau & Kohn) 3 - Team White (w/O'Marra) 2
It was an up-tempo game with both teams competing hard and skating well. Blake Comeau for Team Red scored the game-winning goal in the third period by snapping a quick snap shot past the goalie from top of the face off circle. He played extremely well when the game was on the line, showing a great amount of leadership and character.
Ryan O'Marra's play away from the puck was very good in this game. He competed hard in all three zones and was aware of his defensive zone responsibilities. Ryan used his long reach in the offensive zone around the goalmouth area to create scoring chances. He's not what I would call a very explosive skater, but is extremely strong on his skates and hard to knock off the puck. He is a clever player who works hard.
Dustin Kohn made smart outlet passes to start the transition game up-ice. Displayed the ability to quickly retrieve the puck from his own end and skate the puck out of under heavy forecheck pressure. Logged ice time on the power play and didn't panic with the puck under pressure. Like all young defensemen he needs to work on his d-zone coverage.
Game # 2: Team White 4 - Team Red 3
Both teams were very aggressive on the forecheck in this game. Simply put, Blake Comeau for Team Red was the best player on the ice. He finished all his checks in high traffic areas and used his speed well on his off-wing by driving hard to the net looking to generate scoring chances. Blake scored a nice goal by walking out with the puck after winning a 1-on-1 battle down low in the corner and then taking the puck to the net where he made a beautiful move on the goalie Pier-Olivier Pelletier (Phoenix draft pick).
O'Marra played hard and did the little things well away from the puck. He demonstrated the ability of intercepting passes on penalty killing situations. As for Kohn, he showed a couple of glimpses of skating ability with the puck and made some nice passes up the ice to start the transition game.
Game # 3: Team Red 4 - Team White 3
This game in Vancouver, B.C wasn't nearly as high-tempo as the last two inter-squad games that were played in Whistler. The intensity level wasn't very good. Still, I thought Comeau continued to emerge as one of the better players. He didn't hesitate to physically mix it up again. Skated well with the puck on his off wing, especially when driving hard to the net trying to create scoring chances. He scored a goal on the power play, where he quickly tapped in the puck on his off wing for an easy tap in. All in all he played extremely well in the three inter-squad games. I came away very impressed with his overall play.
Ryan O' Marra competed hard and was strong defensively in all three inter-squad games. As for Dustin Kohn he did show his ability to skate with and without the puck at full speed. He has a lot of potential to become a very good puck-moving defenseman at the NHL level.
Line Combinations For All Three Inter-squad games involving NYI players:
Blake Comeau (NYI) RW/LW
Gilbert Brule (CBJ) RC
Liam Reddox (EDM) LW/RW
Dustin Kohn (NYI) LD
Chad Denny (ATL) RD
Kenndal McArdle (FLA) LW
Ryan O'Maara (NYI) RC
Dan Bertram (CHI) RW
Enjoy the rest of the summer, Islanders fans, and I'll catch up with you soon!