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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Posts tagged ‘nick jenkins’
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





Posted: September 1st, 2011

Mark Gazdic spent most of the 2010-11 OHL season watching and learning.

As an inexperienced eighth defenseman on a unit featuring five players with at least two years of OHL experience, Gazdic dressed for – and played sparingly – in 18 games.

“It certainly gave me the patience to appreciate game time and getting the opportunities to play more now,” said Gazdic, 18, who’s entering his second season with the Erie Otters.

“I’m trying to take advantage … (of) what last year’s knowledge gave me and apply that right now. With a whole bunch of new teammates, there seems to be a lot of opportunities for me.”

The Otters currently have three rookies – Nathan Glass, 17, Liam Maaskant, 17, and Tyler McCarthy, 19, – and two other second-year players – Kris Grant, 18, and Adam Pelech, 17 – on defense. Veterans Brett Cook, 20, and Derek Holden, 20, are the only true veterans, and they are battling for one overager spot.

“Last year when I was playing, it was more like just surviving,” Gazdic said. “Now it’s all about bringing that confidence, that poise, that little extra edge to it that will give you the image of a top player in the league and a top defenseman.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: August 31st, 2011

Erie native Nick Jenkins, a free-agent invite who plays hockey for Fort LeBoeuf, survived the Otters’ opening round of cuts Wednesday night.

“He earned the right to stay. He had a (great) camp,” said Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager. “He’s a smart player and he works hard.”

But Bassin was unsure if Jenkins would return to camp Thursday.

“He’s concerned about his schooling,” Bassin said of Jenkins, 17, a senior at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy. “We left the decision up to him.”

According to OHL rules, unsigned prospects are allowed to participate in camps after the initial 48-hour period if they pay for all expenses. The 48-hour period ended Wednesday.

Millcreek Township native Nate Miller, a 2011 ninth-round pick, wasn’t as fortunate.

The 16-year-old goaltender was among 12 prospects on the cut list, which reduced the roster to 41 players. Five other 2011 picks – goaltender Corey Foster (fourth round), right wing Brandon Johnston (sixth round), defenseman Jordan Schneider (10th round), center Blake Jones (14th round) and center Liam Walker (15th round) – also were cut.

The others were defenseman Kevin Zugec from Pittsburgh (ninth round in 2009), left wing Mark Jones (fourth round in 2008) and four free agents – center Chris Chiste, defenseman Elias Haziprodromu, defenseman Jordan Furlane and McDowell senior winger Zachary Poe. Jones didn’t practice this week because he was sick. Poe left camp after Monday’s workouts.

Zugec’s career might have ended Wednesday. On Tuesday, he said “this could be my last big thing” in hockey, since he hadn’t received interest from any other clubs. Zugec, 18, who graduated from high school last spring, said he would consider enrolling in college.

The next cuts are expected Friday.

- Victor Fernandes



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