Training camps exist for two reasons. The first is to get everyone in sync, the second is the one that is even more exciting; stirring the pot and seeing what stands out. As is the case in training camps across sports the highest draft picks, newest free agents and biggest stars get the lions share of attention, but if those people were all that mattered Ray Bourque would probably have won half a dozen Stanley Cups and not one.
Coming into this summer I had expected to watch no more than half a dozen of the young forwards vie for the last of the roster spots. With the poor showing of the Providence Bruins last season, and a draft that was likely successful, but not something we’ll be able to answer definitively for four or five seasons the attention of nearly all Bruins watchers turned to the guys who led Providence in one offensive stat or another. Some focused on a particular physical type as well. And as usual the prospects still playing in juniors who looked best back in development camp had their own spot on the watchlist.
I’m guessing very few of these lists included Lane MacDermid. His goal scoring doesn’t explain his being drafted. His assist totals are no more spectacular. Many people probably wrote him off with a dismissive comment about his PIMs totals. And yet after the intersquad scrimmage and first preseason game, he sits with the highest point total of any Bruins player. Twice assisting on goals in the scrimmage and being the lone goal scorer for the black and gold in their loss to the division rival Ottawa Senators. This is clearly a case of what the biggest difference between the Bruins and Canucks. Specifically, the triumph of will over skill. It may only be two games, but MacDermid has clearly decided to make the most of every moment on the ice. Equally clearly others have not.
The other prospect playing better than many expected is this years fortieth draft pick. Center and left wing Alexander Khokhlachev certainly entered camp in the shadow of the older players at camp (all of them). The young man hoping to make himself a Windsor Spitfire’s Alumni is making a good case for himself. At development camp he showed himself adept at faceoffs, passing and was willing to travel the whole ice service to make plays. In the intersquad scrimmage he potted two goals past a #1 goalie, and did it with guys who were probably not on anyones short list to replace the departed Recchi and Ryder in the top nine forwards.
It is still early days with a lot more camp left, but watching the drive of these two players has certainly made the preseason more interesting.