Thursday, May 29, 2008

Workin' For A Livin' Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I updated everybody on the list of prospects who were traiing in California with Oilers fitness coach Chad Moreau. I've had a chance to talk with a couple of the players just to get a sense of what it was like, how long they were there, who may have come and gone and which vets were down there too.

Most of the prospects from the list (Dubnyk, Schremp, Paukovich and Rohlfs) arrived around the 12th of May. Two players went down earlier than that; Alex Plante was the first to arrive and may have been the last to leave and Ryan O'Marra opted to go 10 days earlier as well because of a planned family vacation after the 14th.

Plante, who missed most of last season due to injury, has really dedicated his off season to building strength and improving his skating. With Karl Alzner now signed by Washington and overage players like Ryan Gillan and Dan Mercer leaving the team, Plante will be counted on to return to his top pairing role with the Calgary Hitmen. It's also a season where at its conclusion, the Oilers will have to decide to either sign or release his rights so clearly there is a lot at stake for the Brandon native. One source told me that Plante spent a full 3 weeks in California which should give him a great leg up come prospect camp next week.

A knee injury hampered O'Marra's training schedule last year and he had an admittedly below average training camp in September as a result. The forward completed his 8-day session and then left for his vacation with the full approval of the organization. O'Marra will be in Edmonton next week for prospect camp.

Goaltender Bryan Pitton also joined the group in California arriving sometime after the 14th.

Veterans who were taking part in the training sessions included Ethan Moreau, Shawn Horcoff, Raffi Torres and New York Islander farmhand Kip Brennan.

Training typically last 2-2.5 hours a day with only Tuesdays and Sundays off.

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