The Washington Stealth concluded the opening weekend of training camp on Sunday at Comcast Arena.
If Sunday was any indication, knocking the Stealth off the top of the NLL mountain might prove to be a difficult task. The Stealth scrimmaged at full speed Sunday (and reportedly Saturday, although I wasn’t there to see it) and the guys — even those fighting for a roster spot — looked in great form.
A couple of notables were:
Jeff Moleski: The former Calgary defender was ruthless on Sunday, making life tough on the offense and using his speed and size to great effect. A highly-regarded defender before coming to Washington, Moleski’s skill was evident during the first weekend of camp. He also played under head coach Chris Hall for a few seasons in Calgary, so there isn’t much of a learning curve.
Hall had this to say: “One of the players commented at dinner last night that Moleski certainly is ‘as advertised.’”
Moleski, who admitted being a little nervous heading into a new team and meeting new teammates, said this about camp: “It was intense. At camp time, everyone has something to prove. Personally, coming to a new team I wanted to fit in and play my hardest, play my game.”
As far as fitting in, I don’t think Moleski will have a problem. While the players ate lunch after Sunday’s workout, Stealth forward Tom Johnson climbed up to the TV and flipped the channel to VERSUS, which was showing a deer hunting program. Moleski, who is from Prince George in northern B.C. (think Wyoming or Nebraska as a stereotypical American comparison), had a laugh.
Chris McElroy: Another new acquisition for the Stealth, the former Edmonton Rush captain looked to be in good shape after suffering a leg injury last season.
“He’s worked long and hard to rehab himself,” Hall said. “… He’s back to where he used to be, I think.”
Brekan Kohlitz: One of the newbies with no indoor experience, Kohlitz is one of those battling for a spot as a draw man.
“It was a great recruit by (Stealth GM) Doug (Locker),” Hall said. “He was a very impressive face-off guy, still a lot to learn in terms of the box game, but he can certainly win face-offs.”
Here are some extra quotes from some of the guys:
Rhys Duch on the intensity and hard play of everyone in camp: “You can just tell that there are a lot of guys trying to make the team and I think after the first day a lot of the guys that might have came in here thinking they were already on (the team) realized that gotta bust their ass too.”
Lewis Ratcliff on the final scrimmage of the day: “It was like a real game. Guys were getting after it and guys were playing hard. The defense looked great. There was no driftwood out there, it was tough to get to the net, it was tough to play. The new guys look great and it’s going to make the coaches’ job pretty hard to make those decisions.”
Finally, here’s a short video that a member of the Stealth organization took during Day 1 of camp: