4:15 PM: Matt Puempel, now two years removed from being a first round pick, was one of the prospective players singled out as a possibility to join the big club next year and why not? In 51 games with Kitchener this season he scored 35 goals -- adding another three in 10 in the playoffs -- before joining Binghamton for their playoff run, scoring two goals in their three playoff games.
I got his thoughts on how far along he has come since he was selected and what is in store for him next.
On his Bryan Murray's remarks on his development:
It's funny, time flies. It's been two years almost to the day that I was drafted. (Bryan Murray's) compliments are obviously flattering coming from a guy of his stature and where he stands in the organization. I just try to work hard every day and improve each year. That's all you can do is control what you can control. That's where I've kind of left it. Obviously size is one thing and speed comes with that and having skill take care of itself and lead where I can. Hearing that stuff makes you want to keep going and it's kind of a pat on the back but at the same time you can't be satisfied with it. Like I said, I just control what I can control and work hard to make the best of it.
On his season in Kitchener:
I liked it, it was a blast there. Unbelievable coaching, the organization, everything there was fun -- I think that was part of it -- the product on the ice was pretty good. Obviously we wanted to go further, we lost to a pretty good London team in the second round. Some people said whoever won that series was going to go on. Then to go over to Binghamton and play in the playoffs was a learning experience and I think I grew as a player and person there. I enjoyed that too.
On jumping into the pros:
You're playing against certain guys that have played the majority of their careers in the NHL and different guys that have been called up. It's kind of cool to see where you stand and to see where you can put your name at. It's a good measuring stick and I thought I did well there and I thought the coaches put me in good situations, playing with good linemates and everything like that and, like I said, all you can do is learn and take in so much from pros that you're playing with and around everyday. The way they handle themselves is something cool to see and something I had a lot of fun learning.
On his play in Binghamton:
Obviously having to change leagues, it's an adjustment, it comes with patience. You want to score every game but in reality that's not the case and you just do different things though to make you're not invisible and not one-dimensional out there. That's something I've tried to work on over the past couple of years. It's always nice to score and it was good to help the team out in the playoffs there.
On development camp:
It's been really long days some days, you have to be strong mentally and that's a big part of the game -- we've learned about that this week. It's dwindling down here, tomorrow we head out, but obviously any time you're involved in the organization and with the guys here and learning so much and taking in so much. It's a short time but they pack the days and it's real good to break up the summer too.
On this year compared to years past:
They do a good job of mixing things up and making things different. This year was different from the past two years and was a good change. It's been really good, the fan support is amazing obviously and it's good to just be around the guys you don't see all summer and just kind of hang out with them.
On his expectations for 2013-14:
Everyone's goal is to play here -- since I was one year old I think. There's a huge development point, I think, from the standpoint of making the next level. Ottawa is going to help you and guide you in any situation you want and put you in good situations, whether it's in Binghamton or here, you just have to improve every day and be a pro and see where you end up. Hard work is going to get you the furthest.
He comes to the club by way of Bowling Green State where he stamped his name on every award the team had prior to signing an entry level deal with the Sens and taking an amateur tryout with Binghamton last season. Last summer he attended the Chicago Blackhawks' development camp.
I got his thoughts on development camp and his growth as a goaltender since joining the Sens in March.
On development camp in Ottawa:
It's been really good. It's nice getting to be able to put faces to names now and get to know a lot of people in the organization and obviously all of the activities they have us doing this week is really good for your development. It has been a really positive experience so far.
On how this compares to Chicago's development camp:
It's a little bit different. This camp focuses more on skill development whereas that one was more scrimmages and stuff like that. I think this camp's emphasis is more on developing the players rather than trying to gauge where everyone is at. I think I've gotten better as the week has gone on and I think that's the goal of the camp.
On the heavy workload at Bowling Green aiding his development:
Absolutely (it did) -- I think it gave me a lot more experience in the last four seasons. I've been able to get some key game experience and obviously a lot of shots in those games. As a goalie you're only going to get better by playing and, fortunately, I was able to do that at Bowling Green.
On joining Binghamton to close the season:
It was good, you don't really know what it's like until you're there -- you hear things, but nothing really beats doing it yourself. It was good to kind of get my feet wet and see what the organization is like and, you know what, it was just good to get over there and meet some of the guys and start my path as a Senator.
On his development since joining the Sens:
You learn a lot of things, it's not just on the ice, it's off the ice. How to handle yourself and the things you need to focus on as far as nutrition and fitness and things like that. Coming here I've kind of learned about the whole package of what it's like to be a pro hockey player.
On working with Rick Wamsley:
It's an unbelievable resource to have. He's already brought up a couple things that have probably been bad habits over the years and already this week I've seen tremendous improvement in those things so being able to work one-on-one with him has been a great aspect of this week. I'm really fortunate to have him here.
On his expectations for 2013-14:
I'm just going to go into camp and be as prepared as I can for it. Just leave everything on the ice and obviously just try and have the best showing I can.
On his style as a goaltender:
I just try to make everything look easy. It's not always technically perfect but for the most part I try and keep everything pretty sound. You'll see me making a little bit of a desperation save if I have to so, at the end of the day it's just about stopping the puck. Whatever it takes.
After today's skate at the Sensplex, I caught up with Sens prospect Jarrod Maidens who is currently on the recovery path after sitting out the past season and a half with a concussion. In good news for Sens fans, Jarrod is back doing on-ice work and looks to be nearing a return in the fall. I caught up with him to get an update on his recovery.
On his recovery progress:
Good, I'm getting close. I'm out playing, getting on the ice, no contact but I can skate and stickhandle and feel the puck. It's just nice to be working out and doing this stuff again.
On how he feels back on the ice:
Yeah, it's coming along. I know I'm definitely not where I want to be yet because it has been so long but I'm happy with how I feel so far getting out there and I feel I'm slowly making progress each time I get out there.
On his timeline:
I think my goal right now is the season coming. Just recover now and do what I can to be healthy and ready to go again.
On working with Mark Reeds, his former coach in Owen Sound:
It's definitely nice. You're more comfortable when you kind of know the guys -- players and the coaches as well. With Mark, talking with him, I know he's a smart guy. I just ask him questions and listen to what he has to say.
On last year's development camp vs. this year's:
I think it's definitely a little bit easier this time in two ways -- at least I'm on the ice and participating and I know guys now, so I kind of know what to expect and feel more comfortable that way. I love coming here, it's great, you learn a lot and it's a fun time.
On his future playing opportunities:
Right now I'm just working on getting back -- I'm still part of the Owen Sound Attack and we'll see where things go when I get back and start working hard again.
On his former junior teammate Andrew Shaw winning a Cup:
Me and the guys just thought it was unbelievable watching him on TV lifting the Cup up and knowing that's a player you've played with. It's definitely gives you motivation to see a guy like that do it and you work hard to achieve that.
Yesterday brought some intense work at the Sensplex both in the fieldhouse and on the ice with everything from sprinting to self defence to one-on-one drills being covered. Today the group will hit the ice this morning for a series of workouts before taking off for a super secret team-building outdoor activity. It is a day of fun shrouded in mystery.
Sens TV was on hand at the Sensplex fieldhouse on Sunday and got a rundown of the day's activities as well as talking to Mika Zibanejad and Jean-Gabriel Pageau about the bonds that have formed from playing in the NHL together.
Take a look...
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