Rookie camp notes: Poulin, Donovan, Ness
The three Isles "vets" -- they've at least played a few games with the big club -- will be sitting out tonight's prospect scrimmage. Poulin has been working out with goalie coach Mike Dunham on his own while the other prospects work this week, while Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness (as well as Calvin de Haan) won't suit up tonight because there are so many D prospects the front office wants to see in game action.
-- Poulin has been pumped to be going into the summer fully healthy, after he was shut down following surgery to repair a dislocated kneecap in February of 2011. That "long summer," as Poulin put it, may have adversely affected him when he started very slow last season for Bridgeport.
"It wasn't an amount of time off I was used to," Poulin said. "I didn't feel like I'd had enough time on the ice when training camp came."
Poulin finished strong, though, with a 2.79 GAA and a 26-18-4 record for the Sound Tigers. He became the clear No. 1 there when Anders Nilsson went down with a high ankle sprain, and Poulin was in net for all three playoff games in the first-round sweep by the CT Whale.
"It was my first pro playoff, so it was nice to see how it is in the AHL," he said. "It's a totally different season."
Poulin has been working with trainer Daniel Frechette in Montreal and said he will get into some scrimmages later in the summer with a few local pros up there.
-- Ness had a pretty successful first pro season, getting nine games with the Isles and going 5-22-27 in 69 games with Bridgeport. He's working out at the University of Minnesota, where he played for three seasons and where Kyle Okposo also trains.
"Unless you're in the NHL the full year, you can't say it really was a good year," he said. "My goal coming into camp in September is to make the team straight out of there. That's what I'm working towards, getting stronger and faster."
-- The same is true for Donovan, who has a leg up on some other guys in summer training: Donovan's father runs the rink in Oklahoma City, so the young D-man can get on the ice any time he wants.
"We don't have a big group of guys to train with, but the ice is always available," Donovan said.
He had a solid first pro season as well, going 10-35-45 in 72 games for the Sound Tigers. He's also feeling good about his chances to earn a spot on the Isles, with so few veteran defensemen currently under contract.
"It's pretty wide open," Donovan said. "You get excited thinking about getting a chance to earn a spot right away."