Ryane Clowe says it’s accessible to aces out the Newfoundland Growlers’ defencemen.
“The abundant guys with beards,” grinned the Growlers’ arch coach.
Granted, it’s a generalization. Not all of the D-men for the ECHL amplification aggregation accept put abroad their razors and there are assiduously — St. John’s built-in Zach O’Brien, for archetype — who accept apparent facial hair.
But the rearguards are tall. Seven of the eight in affected are 6-2 and above, with 6-4 Kristans Rubins arch the way, and there is bulk, with three — Bonavista’s Adam Pardy, Alex Gudbranson and attack Andrew Darrigo — anniversary aing 230 pounds on the scale.
Their admeasurement on the blueline is accentuated by the bearings up front, area nine assiduously are listed (with accent on the “listed”) at six anxiety and below. Things accept afflicted a little over the accomplished few canicule with the official appointment of 6-2 Kristian Pospisil and abnormally with the accession of 6-3, 220-pound Maxim Mizyurin, but overall, the authentication for the Growlers assiduously is quickness.
“We accept acceleration up advanced and that’s area you can administer burden and get that advancing mindset that we want,” said Clowe, whose new accuse played their first-ever pre-season d Thursday night adjoin the Brampton Beast in Stephenville.
Although this is a aboriginal team, Clowe isn’t absorption so abundant on Xs and Os because best of the players accept been well-drilled in that regard, whether at the amateur affected of the Toronto Maple Leafs, or the Leafs’ capital camp, or the training affected of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
“That being should be seamless from the Leafs to the Marlies to us,” said Clowe. “A lot of these guys accept been through those camps and accept gone over our structured stuff, the systems. And we’re still affecting on that.
“Plus, while every drillmaster has little tweaks of their own, what the Leafs accept was absolutely actual abundant what I had in apperception aback I took this job.
“So now, I’m attractive for added of an identity, of how we’re activity to comedy and I accept that should be tenacious, relentless, hunting pucks, retrieving pucks.
“At the end of the day, you can accept all the anatomy you want, but you accept to be able to comedy with pace, comedy with a adamant attitude.”
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The Growlers accept alone a anniversary to get bottomward to the ECHL-mandated 20-man alive agenda afore they hit the ice for the season-opener aing Friday at Mile One Centre adjoin the Florida Everblades.
So Clowe and abettor drillmaster John Snowden are application a three-game preseason alternation adjoin the Beast — the teams additionally comedy tonight in Deer Lake and Sunday afternoon in Clarenville — to carve out a lineup.
“Who fits where, who plays with who, and we accept guys on tryouts as well, so that agency added decisions,” said Clowe, who says his aboriginal training-camp absorption has been about award pairs of assiduously who assignment calm as against to lines.
In part, that’s because ECHL teams alone dress 18 players for games, acceptation there are usually aloof 10 assiduously on the d card, which can aftereffect in some ample band juggling.
“But I anticipate I came to affected accepting a appealing acceptable apprehend on best of these guys,” said Clowe. “I’ve apparent some as far aback as the amateur clash all the way through the Leafs and Marlies camps.
“I can acquaint you our assiduously are quick. We accept acceleration up front. We’ll appetite to get the bogie to them as quick as we can and let them go.”
They are additionally young, at atomic aback it comes to able experience. At 26 and with bristles years in the AHL and ECHL, O’Brien calmly qualifies as the adept of a accumulation of centres and wingers that contrarily consists of rookies and second-year pros.
Not that they are age-old on defence. There’s the 34-year-old Pardy, but anybody abroad on the aback end is at atomic eight years adolescent than that.
The aberration — conceivably what their beards announce added than annihilation — amid the defencemen and the assiduously is experience. Pardy has played added than 340 NHL games. Melindy, Gudbranson and Steffan Leblanc all accept put in ample time in the AHL.
Clowe had been afraid to see how those adolescent assiduously and those adequately acclimatized defencemen mesh, how it all comes together.
In his canicule as a inferior in the QMJHL, he’d already accept played a month’s account of contests by this point. Aback he was in the AHL and NHL, the aftermost two as an abettor drillmaster with the New Jersey Devils, his teams would accept already apparent ample d action. To accept to delay until aboriginal October for a aboriginal exhibition game, for some absolute competition, is absolutely adopted to him.
“It’s been aberrant starting late,” he said. “We’re at the point, area it’s, ‘Come on, let’s go.’”
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