MALMO, SWEDEN - Mathew Dumba has been rooming with 17-year-old Aaron Ekblad during the World Junior Hockey Championship and has
MALMO, SWEDEN - Mathew Dumba has been rooming with 17-year-old Aaron Ekblad during the World Junior Hockey Championship and hasin Eure Medien 18.01.2018 07:34
von jokergreen0220 • 165 Beiträge
MALMO, SWEDEN - Mathew Dumba has been rooming with 17-year-old Aaron Ekblad during the World Junior Hockey Championship and has noticed something about his younger teammate. Olivier Vernon Jersey . "He has the body of like a 35, 40-year-old. The guy shaves his chest every week. I cant believe it. Hes a man-child. Hes like, I dont know, just a huge human being. I call him Shrek," said Dumba while a bemused Ekblad stood a few metres away shaking his head. Dumba isnt the first person to notice that Ekblad, along with Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart - a top contender to be the No. 1 pick in the next NHL draft, seems to be growing at a ridiculously fast rate. "The Shrek thing actually started with Boone Jenner when we were playing against the Oshawa Generals back in the day," explained Ekblad, a 6-foot-4, 216-pound defenceman, who plays for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League. "A couple of the guys, [including] Michael Dal Colle, picked it up and a guy on my team, Brendan Lemieux, picked it up and some other guys started calling me that and it kind of caught on a little bit. "Im not sure I like it too much, though." Wait a second. Is Ekblad not a fan of Shrek, a 2001 movie named for the main character, a large green ogre voiced by Mike Myers? "No, I like Shrek," Ekblad says not missing a beat. "Im just not sure I look like him." The quick-witted Ekblad, the second of now four players granted exceptional status in the OHL allowing them to be drafted at age 15, thinks just as fast on the ice. Despite being the second-youngest player on Team Canada, he has been among the top minute munchers while playing alongside Pittsburgh Penguins 2012 first-round pick (eighth overall) Derrick Pouliot. Ekblad has learned a lot from the Portland Winterhawks blueliner. "Wow, poise, hes got so much poise and patience with the puck," Ekblad said. "He can hold onto the puck and just wait for the other guy to move and pull it back, pull it back ... paying attention thats what Ive learned: just be more patient and poised with the puck and things will work out." Being paired with Pouliot allowed Ekblad a chance to ease into an event normally dominated by 19-year-olds. "Hes so good with the puck and so poised with it that it kind of lets me play more of a defensive game," he said. "I can kind of support him and let him do his thing and Ill be behind him if he makes a mistake or something like that." But Ekblad would not be able to maintain his prominent role on Team Canada without an ability to adapt quickly. Head coach Brent Sutter has already shown the leash will be short with players regardless of age as 16-year-old Connor McDavid found out on Saturday. He was stapled to the bench after a pair of penalties in a loss to the Czech Republic and started the next game, Monday against Slovakia, as the 13th forward. "With young kids mistakes at this level are going to happen," said Sutter, "but Ekblad learns from it. Hes a sponge for the game. Thats what happens with an intelligent player: they pick things up quickly. You dont have to tell him twice. He gets it pretty quick." "If he does something a little off hell correct it right away," Pouliot said. "Thats what you have to do at this tournament and it shows how mature he is that hes able to make those switches on the fly." The latest tweak Ekblad has made has to do with the defensive side of his game. "I didnt block a shot in the Czech game, which was one of the things Ive been focusing on a lot since then," the Belle River, Ont. native said. "In the U.S. game I had quite a few blocks and tried to focus on making sure no pucks are getting through to the net." At Wednesdays practice, Ekblad and his teammates drew the ire of Sutter for a sloppy start to a drill. And Ekblad received the message loud and clear. "You can never be too precise. The takeaway was: lets get pucks on the stick. Lets do things right and things will work out for us." Ekblad has remained even-keeled even as Canada stumbled at times during the round robin. "Its been a roller-coaster of emotions throughout this entire tournament so far," he admits. Its also been a learning experience. "Ive just learned that at every level its going to get faster and faster and you have to be ready for it. You cant make the same mistakes twice. You have to just take in everything that happens out there and realize youre going to get better and learn things every day." Ekblad is relishing this opportunity, because he didnt think he was going to get it. Back in September he considered himself a longshot to make the squad after not being among the 35 players invited by Hockey Canada to a summer evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY. And now here he is kibitzing with Dumba, who has been playing in the NHL this year with the Minnesota Wild. "Hes a good guy," said Ekblad. "Theres not much to say about him. He likes to just be a weird guy once in a while." "What?" Dumba, who was standing beside Ekblad in the interview area, exclaimed in mock horror. "What is this guy talking about? I cant even do these interviews." Both players laugh along with the assembled reporters. "Yeah," Ekblad says with a sigh, "we have a good time together." J.T. Thomas Jersey . For the first time all night, as the Raptors were on the clock to make the 20th overall selection, no one had the slightest idea what was about to happen. No leaks, no whispers, nothing. Keenan Robinson Jersey . 1 goaltender tonight when they conclude a four-game road trip versus the Winnipeg Jets. http://www.giantsauthenticshop.com/Wayne-Gallman-Giants-Jersey/ . PETERSBURG, Fla.TORONTO - First things first: Episode 3 of The Baseball Podcast is up for your listening pleasure. Toronto Star baseball columnist and TSN contributor Richard Griffin joins me for a half-hour of talk on manager John Gibbons strategy when it comes to his starting pitching and struggling bullpen, whether Brett Lawrie will see increased action at second base and Jose Bautistas great start to the season. Give it a listen here. GIBBONS LIKES HIS OFFENCE The Blue Jays entered Thursdays action with 166 runs scored in 34 games. Thats an average of almost 4.9 runs per game, good for fourth in the majors. Manager John Gibbons is in his seventh season, over two tenures skipping the Blue Jays. He believes this is the strongest offence hes had. "I would think this is probably the top," said Gibbons. "My last go around here we were really strong in the pitching department. We had some good offences but I dont think it equaled what we have here now. You need that in the American League. You need to be able to slug it out." Toronto boasts the league leader in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and walks. Hes Jose Bautista. Bautista and Colby Rasmus, with nine home runs each, are amongst the league leaders. Melky Cabreras 48 hits are the most in the sport this season. As a team, the Blue Jays rank second in home runs (44); second in slugging percentage (.432) and third in on-base plus slugging percentage (.761). ENCARNACION DISCUSSES FRANCISCO General manager Alex Anthopoulos has credited Edwin Encarnacion with helping to lure Juan Francisco to the Blue Jays. "Ive known Juan from a long time ago, he was playing with me in Cincinnati," said Encarnacion. "When he was young, I was older in here and hes one of my best friends. He had a couple of more (options) to go so I called him and asked him to come here because they can give him the opportunity to play here at this level. Lawrence Taylor Jersey. " Francisco, 26, hit 18 home runs last season while playing with the Braves and Brewers but was cut by Milwaukee late in spring training. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays on April 2 and began the year at Triple-A Buffalo. His contract was selected on April 20 to replace Adam Lind, who went on the disabled list with a back injury. Aside from the opportunity the Blue Jays could afford him, Encarnacion was pressed Francisco to come to Toronto out of fear he would sign with another American League East team. The division, specifically the ballparks in the division, are friendly to power-hitting left-handed bats. "Thats why I dont want him to go to another team, like Tampa or another team," said Encarnacion. SANTOS STARTING FROM SCRATCH Sergio Santos pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesdays 10-0 win over the Phillies. Thanks to the big lead it was a pressure-free inning. After two-straight outings featuring blown saves and three on the season, Santos is in the process of rebuilding his confidence. "It was nice to execute on the things that I wanted to do as far as locating my fastball, moving it in and out," said Santos. "It was nice. Its a nice first step, hopefully in the right direction." His stuff is good. Santos has struck out 18 hitters in 10 1/3 innings. The problem is hes walked nine and of the 12 hits hes allowed, three have been home runs. Santos expects more of himself. "Hopefully I can build off what happened (Wednesday) night and never look back again," he said. LAWRIE UPDATE Brett Lawrie took part in batting practice and fielded ground balls before Thursdays game. He left the fourth inning of Monday nights game in Philadelphia with lingering tightness in his right hamstring. Fridays game against the Angels may be more hopeful than reality. Lawries more likely to return on the weekend. 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