Things are looking very solid after three days of training camp, and I think everyone is ready to see these guys throw on actual Warriors sweaters and play for real against someone else.
Saturday’s intrasquad finale had a good pace early on and some wonderful pieces of skill throughout. But it’s weird. Coaches always have a pretty good idea of what their teams will look like heading into camp. But this year’s group seems more ironed-out than any other team I’ve been around. I mean, there are still a couple of decisions to make and things to sort out (like goaltending). But on the whole, I’d say there’s a very clear idea of who will be around when this team heads to Chilliwack in September. And I wonder if the guys sense that too.
Of course, intrasquad games are great for playing with line combos, learning systems, and all that good stuff. The coaches were still in the stands on Saturday getting a good look while the guys cycled away.
What did we all see? Well, the line of Matt Anholt, David Pope, and Liam Blackburn was pretty dominant in this one, scoring two goals each. We’ll see if they stay together on Sunday. Seb Lloyd has been spending time with Ambrose Firkus. That’s appealing, although possibly too much ‘set’ and not enough ‘spike’. Then again, Blackburn is a nifty playmaker too. You wonder if you could clone David Pope and play him with both of those pairings. But then again, I sure am loving Carl Hesler, and he’s a guy that is going to earn top six minutes at least. Jordan Masters is looking awesome as well. And Brennan Clark sat out the last couple of days, but told me he’s pretty much ready to roll (and roll he will – don’t forget he tied Pope with 17 goals last year).
One thing you will notice looking at this squad? Size. There isn’t a ton. Again, Brennan Clark will be pivotal here. Braxton Bilous has a mean streak too, but he might be one of the most important penalty-killers on this team. Connor Bucsis could fit the bill as well. But it’s a team clearly that will be built around speed and skill, not size. Then again, Saskatchewan kids are supposed to be tough as nails right? Well let’s hope so, because we’re stocked up now.