Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mini-Camp & a Guy named Max Capuano

While I'm trying to transcribe the tape from Wednesday, here are some photos. Nothing much, but some visuals. There are videos on my youtube channel as well as being posted on my site. And here is Mike Salerno's first article on one of our Long Island natives at camp for the @KingsParkPatch.

The new Sound Tigers head coach was there yesterday and Ashley Sarge, who works for various outlets including XM Home Ice, was telling me not only what a terrific guy he is but also, what a tough defenseman Brent Thompson was in his day with the LA Kings. He understands the value of patience when developing young talent.

Mini camp isn't just a showcase of potential stars, it's also a place for the coaching staff to monitor development and check out players their scouts have tagged as "worth a look." Jack said "For me, the biggest thing is being able to sit with our scouts, with the people that have drafted our guys because they have met with them, they've met with their coaches, they've done a lot of homework on these individuals. I'm just trying to get as much information as I can out of them."

Sometimes things can get a little chippy, even if it's just practice. Jack said he understood why. "It's going to happen a little bit when you go through the camps. This is a camp, obviously, they want to have some fun, but WE want them to compete at the same time."

On the roster for this camp is a young man who may need to compete a little harder to be noticed, even though he is very familiar with the head coach. A teenager named Max Capuano was invited to camp not just because he is Coach Jack's nephew, but because he amassed 83 points last season in 43 games in the Walpole Express of the AJHL.

In an empty press room, Jack was surrounded by recorders and told us "Max plays a lot like my brother David. He's a skilled guy. He's worked on his skating quite a bit. He's gotten a lot better. He's got himself in good condition. Obviously, his strength is his goal scoring ability. If you go down and look at his stats from USA hockey up until now (33 goals last season), this is a great chance for Max to get a measuring tool on where he needs to be not only on the ice but off the ice as well."

The same can be said by all the other camp invitees, especially those who have come up through the hockey programs on Long Island. Youth hockey on Long Island is not only alive and well, but developing some excellent talent.

"Somebody might look at it and say 'Well, they're from Long Island, so let's just invite them to training camp,' but these kids obviously have to earn their way to this mini-camp and they've performed very well. Last year we did the same thing. It just goes to show you, in this area the coaches, the youth hockey coaches and high school coaches have done a great job with these kids and there's a lot of hockey on this island. They should be proud of that."

And many of them have skated on the Coliseum ice at one point or another in their young lives. It would be a shame to take that opportunity away from the next generation.

Don't forget if you can't get to tonight's Blue & White Scrimmage, it will be webstreamed with special features. How cool is that?!


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