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Training camp roster change

Posted Sep 12, 2007 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Sep 12, 2007 at 09:56 PM

Tampa Bay will be bringing defenseman David Schneider to training camp on Thursday to replace 2005 first-round pick Vladimir Mihalik, who will report directly to camp for Norfolk next week. Schneider, a 5-foot-9 offensive style defenseman, played the past four seasons in Finland before Tampa Bay signed him as a free agent this summer.

UPDATE I spoke with Jay Feaster and to paraphrase him, basically they feel that it became obvious that Mihalik just isn’t ready to make the jump to the NHL. While he made great strides last year in Prince George, jumping to the NHL this year is too great of a leap. It’s partly due, Feaster admitted, to over-inflated expectations. Sometimes you get caught up with in his size (6-foot-7) and his skating ability and think he is ready. But the fact is he is still a young player who needs playing time in the AHL, which he should get plenty of in Norfolk. Feaster also said that Mihalik’s groin muscles were a bit tender and there was no need to put him through the rigors of training camp in Brandon.

Here are some of Feaster’s thoughts on Mihalik and some other comments on Traverse City:

On Mihalik: “It was a case where we were able to see enough of Vlad at this camp to know that he’s not going to make our team, that’s simply not going to happen right now. And his groins have been bothering him to the point where he didn’t practice on Sunday when we practiced. So we talked about it and rather than having him go in there and struggle and have it be an issue, it was decided that we are better off bringing in the 28-year old who really signed with us in the belief that he would make our hockey team. So this gives him the opportunity and starts Vlady out where he ought to be. We’re kidding ourselves if we thought he was going to step up and make our hockey club. It was wishful thinking and we’ve all seen enough [in Traverse City] to believe that we are not advancing his cause or our own by bringing him right now.’‘

On over inflated expectations for the 6-foot-7 Slovak: “He played well last year in junior and we had real good reports on him. With a man that size who skates that well, you would like to think that he’s ready when the fact is he is still just a kid. And as we always talk, it’s such a difficult position to play so we decided that it’s better to go this direction.’‘

On the play of center Chris Lawrence: “Lawrence to me was the same as he has been, there were times he was a world beater and other times you didn’t notice him, so there was that consistency factor.’‘

Praise for Radek Smolenak, who had seven points: ” If he can continue to do what he did there I think he could elevate himself into a legitimate prospect.’‘

I have some other comments from Feaster on goaltender Riku Helenius and defenseman Mike Lundin, but look for those in the paper on Friday or Saturday.

Reader Comments

Por (Mike Moulton) on September 12, 2007 (Suggest removal)

I saw Mihalik last year and this year at the Prospects tournament in Traverse City, MI.  He and Rogers both looked faster and smoother and just more confident to me this year versus last year.  I am no expert buit I definitely believe that both these guys will be very good NHLers some day. 

The other guy who looked good I thought, was Radek Smolenak.  he is tall and fast and he scored twice unassisted on the game against the Rangers.

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Por (Randy Carter) on September 12, 2007 (Suggest removal)

I know in someways Bolts fans would have liked to have seen Mihalik at the Bolts camp to see how he competes against the established players.  And the time there for Mihalik would have been a valuable lesson on what he needs to do to elevate his game to that level.

But on the other hand, if it was predestined that Mihalik was Norfolk bound, this is probably the best thing for him.  He can get rested, have a good camp at Chilled Ponds and be ready to come out of the gate at the start of the season.  There is nothing worse than starting a season with a nagging injury.  And from my understanding, rest and stretching exercises are the best therapy for a groin problem.

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