The Big Three
“I’m here every day, all summer, working to get my shoulder better and working out. Obviously it’s not fun, but I’m just trying to concentrate on the positives right now. My only concern is getting back to being 100% healthy and making it to the start of camp in the best possible shape to earn my spot,” explained Leblanc, his arm still cradled in a heavy brace.
“As of now I’m able to do leg workouts, I’m in the gym for about two hours a day. For shoulder stuff we have the therapist here, he’s helping me with assisted-help movements and I’m just doing little exercises to help get it stronger. I have to wear the brace all the time except for a while when I’m doing shoulder exercises. I even have to wear it when I sleep. It’s not much fun.”
Across the room, Danny Kristo, another of the Canadiens’ top-prospects stood in front of his locker, fielding questions – but unlike his friend and former teammate, Leblanc, Kristo had no intention of spending time discussing his most recent injury.
“It’s in the past now. I told my story once already and now I’m moving forward. I’m back to 100% so I’m just focusing on camp this week and looking forward to next year,” said Kristo referring to a bout of frostbite to his foot that sidelined him for part of the winter. “Right now I want to make the most of this experience. You can always learn so much when you come to Montreal and when you come to camp. I just try to come in and work really hard with an open mind and pick up as much as I can to better my game.”
“I think I did a good job at getting better when it comes to my two-way play this past year, but I also think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. If you look at the great players in today’s game, a lot of those guys can play both ends of the ice and that’s something I want to be able to do and something that I take pride in.”
Rounding out the list of the Habs’ first-round draft picks from the last three years, the most recent, defenseman Jared Tinordi was looking to prove he’d come a long way from his showing at last year’s development camp. While at that time, the talk was of Tinordi heading to the United States to play for an American university, he wound up instead spending his last season in the OHL as a member of the London Knights.
“My decision to go and play in the juniors was the right one for me. With all the ice-time I was able to get, along with the chance to work with the great coaching staff in London, I really feel ready to challenge myself this week,” dropped Tinordi, who also got to try his hand at fighting for the first time in his career.
“It’s always a good thing to be able to defend your teammates. I’ve watched enough hockey that I had a pretty good idea how to go about it, plus, I got a few tips in that department from my father too,” finished the young defenseman whose father, Mark Tinordi dropped the gloves a total of 72 times over 12 seasons in the NHL.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
33 players to take part in the first session of the Canadiens Development Camp
List of players invited to the 2011 Development camp