Thursday, August 29, 2013

Director of Scouting Garnet Kazuik

First impressions of training camp
"You can definitely see the nervousness in the players and the quietness in the players. It takes them a couple days to warm up and start getting a little bit vocal and feeling a little bit more comfortable off the ice and that will translate on to the ice. Hopefully here on day 2 we'll start to see a little bit more of that on the ice, they feel a little bit more comfortable, they've got those nerves out and we should see some improvements today."

Benefits of veterans playing with and against prospects
"It sets a standard with the veterans and the rookies. It gives the rookies the opportunity to see how our veterans come into camp in shape, what they train, what it takes to play at this level. They get to be in the same room with them, mingle with them, talk with them and I think that's an invaluable experience as they move forward. It'll turn them into a better player as they go back to their midget teams."

How many prospects have a chance to play this year
"Up front we have approximately 3 or 4 positions available. We're looking at 6 or 7 guys to hopefully earn those spots. Same on the back end, we're looking at 3,4 or 5 prospects to obtain a couple of those spots. They're in a battle, they know it, we've communicated that with them very clearly prior to training camp and they know where they stand and they know who they're competing with. It's going to be interesting over the next 3,4 days here and moving forward into the exhibition phase."

Vets have to be ready to keep their spots
"Absolutely, the veterans know there's not a lot of open spots too. Anytime you come to training camp whether your a veteran or a rookie you're always competing for your spot or to obtain another spot by moving up the depth chart. I think competition is good amongst the veterans as well."

The excitement of training camp
"I think training camp is one of the best times of the year. You can see the smile on the veterans faces when they come into the room, they're all happy to see each other, they're happy to see the coaches and the staff. Much like the scouts, we enjoy it as well. My guys are just as happy and excited to be here. It's a very exciting time for all involved."

Message to players
"The message is clear with us and we always tell them, any player we draft or invite to training camp is that they all have a skill set that they do and they do it very well. We say, do what you do and do it well and we stress that. We don't want somebody to play a different game than they normally do and are good at. If they're a goal scorer we want them to be a goal scorer. If they're a good 200 foot player then make sure your a good 200 foot player. Don't try to be somebody else. Be who you are, and we've drafted you for those reasons. If they do that then every player here will do just fine."

Skills of prospects
"Every team in the WHL looks for skill, you do need to score goals at some point and that comes into play. We've got a great coaching staff and they'll work with the skill, they'll develop and make them a well rounded player as they move forward. We look at the skating and the scoring but the biggest thing we look for is the 'come to play'. That's the compete aspect, the puck sense away from the puck, the puck sense with the puck. Very, very important attribute for players to have and hopefully we've found that nice mix in these last couple drafts."

Important weekend
"I'm excited about today and the next 2 days. Especially with the blending of the rookies with the veterans. That's exciting for me because we're going to see some players step up and we're also going to see some players fall off a little bit because the tempo might be a little bit much and that's fine. We're not expecting a lot of things out of our young young guys, but do want them to compete. Like I said earlier, that's the biggest thing, we want everyone to compete. It's going to be fun to watch these guys the next few days."

Approach after camp
"We have a plan moving forward. We always have a ghost roster I guess you can call it. We put a number in there as we're going to go into Tri City and that number might change a little bit. There's going to be some surprises and that's what we want. We want some surprises, we want a guy we didn't have on that ghost roster to say 'ok here I am, I'm coming with you'. We have a number in mind and we'd like to stay at that number and we'll see how that comes out as we move forward."