<table align="center" border="0" width="80%"><tbody><tr><td><img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload//2008/06/cory_blog.jpg" align="left" border="0" hspace="4" vspace="1">This whole week has gone by so quickly and it's already the end of this trip to Camrose. I've never been to Alberta so this is my first trip here and so far, it's not bad. It seems like a pretty good town, although I haven't really seen much of it other than the rink and the hotel. The set up at the rink has been great, it's really nice.
I think it's good to have a tournament like this because you get to see guys in game situation, which is a little different than in practices. At the same time it can be pretty disorganized with guys running around, not really knowing each other and the system that well. Because of that, they put less emphasis on the result and focus more on how you look during the game.
We'll be playing a lot of the same guys that we'll likely see during the season so having this in early definitely can't hurt. I've played against some of these guys last season and so this is good for me and I can get up to speed again and getting the competition going before main camp. It helps us gear up and really get in focus because practices are just intense and tough but it's not the same as games so it's good to get that level of concentration.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/oilers/images/upload/2008/09/DSC_6279_thumb.jpg align=right vspace=2 hspace=4>I've played against some of the Oilers' prospects, some of them are college guys so I've seen a few of them but other than that I don't really know a whole lot. Obviously they've got a lot of talented guys, I'm sure so it'll be another hard fought game tonight.
It's definitely a different dynamic having the tournament compared to last year, where they focused more on conditioning with four hard days of skating and workouts and bike rides. This year it's more emphasis on systems and game action and less on practice.
But speaking of tournaments, I talked about the Bean Pot in one of my blogs in the summer and well, obviously it's different but if I were to compare the two: This one is still preseason and you're allowed some slipups to work out some of the kinks. The people are into it with a soldout arena last night and the teams are playing hard because everyone playing for a spot.
The Bean Pot's pretty special to the guys who are from Boston and the guys who go to school there. That's also during the season so that takes up the rivalry a little bit and you're playing more systematically and you're playing better defence, you're playing a tighter checking game so I think you saw last night, it was pretty wide open. Both teams were scrambling around, giving up lots of chances so you see less of that during the season. Clearly the skill level's higher here, bigger, older, more talented guys.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/09/sep1408_prospects_onice07_t.jpg align=left vspace=2 hspace=4>I'm going to get ready to head to the rink but once I get there, I get focused, doing a lot of stretching, visualization, and reaction stuff with racket balls and stuff. It's just some of the things that I picked up last year that I think really helped me a lot.
While I'm in Alberta, I could go back to my country faze and see if I have some of that old country stuff lying around... but then again maybe I'll need some harder rock stuff to get me pumped instead of relaxed.