It's always nice to read the reactions of young players upon returning to their junior clubs after going through their first or second NHL camps. Take for example, goaltender Braden Holtby
, who apparently stuffed the best player in the world for the better part of a week
before finally letting one by:
"Through the whole camp, Ovechkin hadn't scored on me until the shootout in the last game.... I've never had so much fun playing hockey in my life. Every moment you're so aware. You're so focused, even in practice. (The veterans') hard work runs down and rubs off on you." [Ed. Note: Um, eww]
Or Joel Broda
"You don’t get to meet a lot of the vets until a week in and, by then, you’re okay. But the first day you meet them it’s the same thing all over again. The nerves start going. You try not to be in awe, but you catch yourself staring once in a while."
In fact, on one of his last days at camp, Broda caught himself staring down an NHL legend at a face-off [Ed. Note: Sergei Fedorov, perhaps?]. For the young pivot, it was an eye-opening experience.
Wherever these kids' career paths may take them, they'll always have these memories and, at least in the short-term, motivations.