Development-camp bonding experiences aren’t only for the players. On Monday, after the work was done at the practice facility, Kings management members, coaches, scouts and staffers split into two groups — golf and fishing — and went on their respective excursions. There was no reliable report from the golf course, but there were plenty of fish stories today. Not surprisingly, it turned competitive. Jack Ferreira got off to a quick start but was surpassed by vice president and cap guru Jeff Solomon. An anonymous source indicated that Ron Hextall won the award for most-quantity, lowest-quality, as he “caught 36 fish for a total of about two pounds.” Who landed the big fish, right before the end of the trip? Dean Lombardi.
Back to hockey…Lombardi shared his thoughts today about the development camp and the progress he saw…
LOMBARDI: “The one thing I see, in particular, is that the second-year guys — the Kozuns, and even the Toffolis and those guys that got to Manchester in the end — I’m really impressed by the kids’ commitments. Even on the beach. Yesterday they did 2,000 yards of lunges down on the beach. That’s pretty hard. They all hung in there. I’m not sure I would have seen this, to this level, six years ago. So it’s starting to filter down. Players have been through it, and it’s handed down, that this is the way you do things. I was really impressed the way these kids have been so focused. I really think our instructors, the development guys, have really — the way they’re working with the coaches now — it’s top-notch. We’re really in sync now, with putting these programs together. All these (workout) stations are going all day, and it goes like clockwork. It’s pretty good. I think we’re at that level that I’ve always wanted us to get to in this area.
“The college kids, like (Derek) Forbort, you can see he has already grown, and (Kevin) Gravel. I think those kids, it’s a little harder with the NCAA guys, but they seem more committed. College kids, we can’t get our hands on them, but those guys seem to be (improving). We have four kids that are going to be at that U.S. (junior selection) camp this summer. That’s pretty good.”