Evgeny Kuznetsov tossed a quick backhand over to the streaking Alexander Ovechkin....
Brent Tate: Lone Wolf of Group A’s Green Jerseys
When camp invitee Brent Tate started camp on Monday, he had two linemates. But after Tuesday afternoon’s scrimmage, he was left as the lone wolf to hold down the green line for Group A.
Tate’s teammates, Greg Burke (drafted in ’08) and Andrew Ammon (invitee from Princeton University), were both unable to practice on Wednesday. While there hasn’t been word on Ammon, it doesn’t appear that Burke will be returning this week.
When asked about their absence, Tate said that losing his linemates hasn’t shaken or affected his game so far. During Wednesday’s practice, it just so happened that the gray line was missing a member, so he joined Nathan Walker (from HC Vitkovice in the Czech league) and Daniel O’Donoghue (Mercyhurst University), both camp invitees.
“During games you’re used to playing with everybody,” Tate said. “Coaches are switching things up a little bit, but I filled in with the gray line with Walker and O’Donoghue and felt right at home with those guys.”
While none of these players have played together before, Tate says that almost makes it easier to adjust to new lines.
“I think you learn everybody. Everybody’s in the same shoes as me,” he said. “Nobody’s played together and there’s no chemistry, so you sort of grow as the week goes on and come together as a line.”
As for Thursday’s scrimmage, the third of the week for the prospects, Tate said he doesn’t know what line he’ll be playing on.
“I have no idea. That’s all up to coaches,” he said. “They’ll post it in the morning and let us know. And that’s all I can do about it.”
There’s no doubt that this has been a hard camp for everyone. And according to Tate, all of the players are dealing with their own aches and bruises already. But despite all that, everyone’s out there to do what they love: play hockey.
“I think all the guys are battling the hip flexors and the groins and the soreness,” Tate said. “For the most part I feel good and healthy. I’m just here trying to have some fun.”
Even though Tate is an invitee, he said that everyone has been practicing all summer and staying in shape. He said that it doesn’t matter whether they get the call for a development camp, all players are ready to go.
“We’ve been training all summer long for this. We’re all in pretty good shape,” he said. “Maybe we haven’t been skating as much as we needed on the ice, but off the ice, I know every one of the guys is in the weight room trying to increase their strength and get in shape that way. The first day’s usually the toughest, especially when we haven’t been skating; usually takes that full hour and a half, two hours, three hours to get the legs back and get that.”