By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: September 2nd, 2011

The Erie Otters cut nine pr0spects Friday to trim their roster to 26 players heading into Saturday’s 7 p.m. preseason opener against Niagara at Tullio Arena.

Two 2011 OHL draft picks – goaltender Devin Williams (fifth round) and defenseman Troy Saunders (12th round) – headlined the list.

Other picks cut were left wing Eric Kimmerly (11th round in 2010), right wing Ralph Cuddemi (11th round in 2010), center Matthew Wildman (seventh round in 2009) and goaltender Adam Wood (eighth round in 2009).

The final two free-agent invites – Erie native Nick Jenkins, a left wing who plays for Fort LeBoeuf, and left wing Jordan Martin – also were cut.

* Enjoying time off: Coach Robbie Ftorek appreciated the club’s off-ice conditioning program this week. But the workouts left players physically exhausted.

“It’s hampered a little bit our on-ice stuff,” Ftorek said. So he cancelled Friday’s off-ice workouts and turned the morning scrimmage into a practice focusing on fundamentals, such as breakouts, defensive techniques and power plays.

“That will help us (Saturday night) in the game or at least allow them to have an idea of what we’re looking to have done in the game,” Ftorek said, “and they’ll get a good rest in between. It’s given them a good break. So we hope that will be beneficial for us.”

* Tough test: The IceDogs will arrive in Erie on Saturday with roughly 16 veterans for the preseason game. Meanwhile, the Otters will play primarily young players. “Some of our young guys’ eyes are going to be opened,” Ftorek said. “Our guys are playing pretty good, but it’s not a game. You know how the intensity picks up in a game. It will be interesting to see how they respond.”

- Victor Fernandes





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