Although the team has only had two "official" practices to this point, I've made a couple of observations. The first thing that jumped out at me was the excitement surrounding this club. Yea, it sounds cliché but there seems to be an energy surrounding this team that I haven't seen in a long time. Maybe it has to do with all the new freshmen or maybe it's the two new coaches. Either way, the energy these first couple of days has been off the charts. Here is what else I noticed.
1. Demko looks good. There is a heck of a difference between stopping pucks in front of your teammates at practice and doing it on opening night @ Yost Arena but so far, I have been super impressed by Thatcher Demko. His size really jumps out at me but also his ability to move laterally is something that has stuck out.
2. Multiple freshmen are going to be thrown into the fire right away. By my count, it looks like six freshmen are locked in to play on opening night. Others, such as Scotty Savage (who I think has looked solid) and Adam Gilmour will be competing for the final spots in the lineup.
3. Brendan Silk looks a lot quicker. Let's face it, last year was not a great one for Silk. He struggled in all three ends and didn't seem to have the speed to play at this level. I was blown away by how fast he looked yesterday.
4. The 6th defensive slot is anyone's guess. As I said earlier, I liked what I saw out of Savage but I just don't see the staff starting three freshmen defenseman on opening night @ Michigan. He has looked much better than Linell has but I think it's too much of an uphill battle for him to start on opening night simply because I don't think the staff would ever start three freshmen defenseman. I'm usually wrong so, I probably will be this time.
5. Johnny G and Kevin Hayes look sensational. While I think Johnny G will go on to win the Hobey this season, I think people are seriously overlooking Kevin Hayes in Hockey East. He is every bit as skilled as Johnny is and if he can stay injury free, I look for him to have a huge year.
6. My top three freshmen- 1. Fitzgerald 2. Demko 3. McCoshen/Richardson
On the injury front (yea, already) Mike Sit could be out for a couple weeks with a knee issue. Nothing serious....he should be ready to go opening night (if he is in the lineup). Colin Sullivan is out this week with an illness.