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The Colorado Avalanche rookies spoke to the press after their first day of rookie training camp. Some of them, such as 2014 first-round Conner Bleackley, were on the NHL stage for the first time. Others, such as Chris Bigras, had been to professional camps before.
All of them were very excited, though, to be a part of the Colorado Avalanche rookie training camp.
The Colorado Avalanche selected Bleackley with their very first 2014 draft pick, 23rd overall. Besides being a capable leader, Bleackley is gritty and has strong two-way play.
This year’s rookie camp is Bleackley’s first time. He said of the experience:
"“The biggest thing for me was to try and not be too nervous. It was the first time for me in a pro camp, and the first time in an Avalanche sweater.”"
While it’s true the 18-year-old is expected to return to playing with the Red Deer, he did say he’s looking to make an impression:
"“I came here to show what I got, and hopefully make the best impression on the coaches. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can for these few days to get me ready for the main camp. “"
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound center has played 153 games with the WHL Red Deer Rebels, having recorded 40 goals and 48 assists for 88 points.
Bigras is participating in his second Avalanche training camp, having been chosen second round in the 2013 draft. While coach Patrick Roy has stated he’d like to see Bigras continue to season at the juniors level, the defenseman is nonetheless enjoying the learning process as far as camp is concerned:
"“It’s good to get out there, get some more confidence and feel more comfortable out there. It’s good to get back into the good habits. I just want to learn as much as I can, and work my hardest.”"
Bigras also appreciated the level-headedness being in his second Avalanche pro camp has given him:
"“I know a little bit better what to expect coming in here the second year. I just know the level of compete, and the focus it takes. So, it’s certainly a confidence booster coming in knowing a little bit what to expect.”"
The 19-year-old defenseman has played for three seasons with the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL.
Czech goalie Roman Will is participating in his first rookie training camp at the NHL level. The 22-year-old was undrafted, but he was offered a two-year entry-level contract over the summer.
Will stated of his rookie camp experience so far:
"“I’m so tired, but I’m so excited to be on the ice. It’s great experience for me, and I’m so glad to be here. So, I’m happy.”"
Will has been tending goal for the BK Mladá Boleslav in the national Czech League. In that time, he’s recorded a .935 and .934 save percentage. When asked of his goals for the training camp, he stated:
"“[I’m looking forward to]just enjoying the time on the ice. I’m not looking too forward to some goals, but just have fun and enjoy and do my best.”"
Will had praise for the city of Denver — and the Pepsi Center locker room. When asked what his favorite part of his trip has been so far, he stated:
"“The city is so nice. The city — the locker room yesterday, we were at Pepsi Center, it was great — so nice locker room. All the people here are so nice, so I’m very glad to be here.”"
Cody Corbett is another defenseman who’s no stranger to rookie camps. Maybe that’s way he seemed so comfortable — and so familiar with the routine:
"“It was fun — a lot of good guys out here. We had a good practice today. I’m just going to get a workout in now, and get ready for tomorrow.”"
Corbett, who had previously attended a rookie camp in the Great Plains — ie., Minnesota — and who is from that state, remarked he mostly wanted to get used to the altitude.
"“It’s a lot different from Minnesota. Those first couple drills, you’re just trying to get used to the oxygen levels. The next couple days it’ll be just getting ready for the big camp here.”"
The undrafted defenseman has been playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Last year, he really kicked with with the Oil Kings, having earned 17 goals and 44 assists in 65 games. He’s wanting to bring some of that finesse to the training camp:
"“Last year I was just really happy and really excited to even make camp for the first time, knowing that I’ll be going back to Edmonton no matter what. This year it’s a little different. I’m really just trying to find my groove, find my style of game, so I’m ready to go for the season.”"
While Corbett is likely to join the Lake Erie Monsters for the 2014-15 season, it’s good to see the Avalanche are setting themselves up for future success.