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PROSPECTS EXCEL AT WJC CAMPS

Monday, 08.25.2008 / 3:00 PM / Features
By Russell Brooks
Coyotes prospects Nick Ross and Colin Long recently attended their respective World Junior Camps in an opportunity to represent their nations at the Under-20 Championship in December.

For both players, it was a great chance to skate with the best prospects in their nation and test their abilities.

Ross, who has been training this summer in Tempe at Athletes’ Performance Institute, skated with Team Canada on late notice.

“I have been working on my off-ice training this summer,” said Ross, who didn’t have equipment immediately at camp due to it being at home. “I was a little rusty because I haven’t been on the ice in a while, but by the end of the camp, I was feeling good and my cardio was strong.”

Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney was impressed with Ross at the camp, especially since it was the first time he had skated since the Coyotes prospect camp in July.

“From looking at where he was last year in August to this year in this camp, it was a marked improvement,” Maloney said. “In the second scrimmage he was the most physical defenseman on the ice.”

For Ross, this summer is about growth as a player, both in a figurative sense and literal.

“I have never had training like I did at API,” said Ross, who tallied 47 points in 72 games last season with the Regina Pats and Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. “They taught me how to focus off the ice and prepare for the game along with how to eat right.”

After originally undrafted in 2007, Long’s career has changed over the past year. Drafted in the fourth round by the Coyotes in June, the native of Santa Ana, Calif., was excited to wear the Team USA colors at Lake Placid, N.Y.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Long, who notched a goal and five assists in the exhibition games. “Since not getting drafted last year, I am trying to prove to people I belong here.”

Maloney agrees that Long, who finished second in the WHL in scoring with 100 points in 72 games for the Kelowna Rockets, deserved to sport the red, white and blue.

“I thought Colin was certainly one of the most skilled forwards there,” Maloney said. “I was encouraged. He really did well for his first experience in the USA camp. He needs to build on (last) season. He is so smart with the puck. I can see how points come his way. We need to find a way to get him stronger.”

With Coyotes training camp about a month away, both Long and Ross hope to continue to build on the strong momentum they have established this summer.
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