This tiny picture is the huge Simon Danis-Pepin. The Chicago Blackhawks second rounder (61st overall) currently patrols the blue line for the University of Maine Black Bears. Two things about Pepin intrigued me. First, he is a monster. Standing at 6-7 and weighing a modest 221, he is still pretty lanky. That being said, his wing span is a sight to behold. I saw him play the UND Fighting Sioux about a year ago, and players got tired trying to circumavigate his circumference. He is just that wide. Second, he is mean. Like Sean Avery after Elisha Cuthbert dumped him mean. He punishes people in front of the net and will literally chase opponents back to their bench. Adding fuel to the fire, he plays like an asshole. Seriously. Cheap shots, dirty hits, hits after the whistle, non-stop chatter (in French I presume) and a general distaste for anyone not wearing the same color as him were the norm over the 2-game series I saw him play.
Scouting reports on Danis-Pepin also note that he uses his size effectively and possesses good hockey sense. Blessed with offensive awareness and a keen understanding of how to play defense, Danis-Pepin needs to work on his foot speed, but is nevertheless a good skater. It is my belief that this foot speed issue is not as serious as it would be for a smaller player, as his long stride and positional strength, not to mention his condor-like wingspan, can help mask any deficiencies.
A definite project at this point, Danis-Pepin is just entering his junior year at Maine, where he will have an expanded role with the team. He noted in a Q and A that he is continuing to work on his defensive game, especially down low containment. If he can continue to grow into his body and hone his offensive skills, Chicago will have added another quality piece to their defensive puzzle.
News You Can Use in the Late Morning:
-Ryan Smyth skating with Joe Sakic at Avs’ camp.
-Two Kostitsyn’s in camp with the Canadiens. I saw the older one a few times with Hamilton last year, and he is blessed with a ton of offensive talent.
–Blue Jackets suspend Svitov.
-Sens’ prospect a Golden Gloves champ.
-NHL adds new stats to its game reports.
–Ten rookies who may make an impact this year. No surprises really, unless Gagner makes the Oilers out of camp.
–Allan Houston eyes a Canada-US junior series.
-Will be Forsberg or a trade for the Senators?
–Bad luck seems to follow Leafs’ Wozniewski.
-News on Sharks prospects and projects from Battle of California.
-Stars feel goal production can come from within the organization. Note the prospects they are keen on at the bottom of the article.?XM Radio noted that Junior Lessard was skating on a line with Mike Modano. I wonder if CBC’s Scott Russell is jealous.
–A round up on Red Wings’ news from Kukla’s Korner.
-Flames want production from greybeard Owen Nolan.
-Training camp news from the Score. Note that former Devils’ first rounder Adrian Foster is in camp with the Wild. Anyone remember the Devils going way off the board in selecting Foster? I thought it was Kevin Lowe up there.
-Manitoba Moose pressbox regular Tyler Bouck in camp with the Ducks. Must have had time to talk to Burke on his visits to Winnipeg. Also note that Moose d-man Max Fortunus is skating with the Canucks. Moose GM Craig Heisinger and Scout Bruce Southern do an excellent job finding talent.
-Stars’ prospects struggle.
-Leafs want more games in Western Canada. Can Cole and Neale stay up that late?
-Mirtle with a Predators preview.
-Profile of the Caps’ Chris Bourque.
–5 Questions from Islanders camp.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Kyle Kosior. (p.s. Go Riders!)