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Blades camp notebook: Lehun, rookie Henry arrive at Germain
By ANGELA BUSCH
ESTERO — Twenty players skated at Germain Arena on Tuesday for the second day of Florida Everblades training camp. Eighteen of those players are on Blades contracts, and Rick Ferroni, a forward, is trying out for the squad. A local rec player filled in as a second goalie for the Blades, as rookie Tyler Plante has not yet arrived in town.
Two new players were at camp on Tuesday who weren't here on Monday: forward Jon Lehun, a returnee from last year, and defenseman Jordan Henry. Lehun got his immigration papers late, so he drove down from Canada and arrived on Monday afternoon. Henry, a Panthers prospect, got to Fort Myers on Monday night.
At 6-2 and 198 pounds, Henry is one of the Blades' biggest d-men. He's also one of the youngest, at 21 years old. But don't expect Henry to pull any punches, according to Blades coach Gerry Fleming.
"Well, he definitely brings physical size, but he plays physical, too," Fleming said. "He still has a few things to learn, so we're happy to have him. This is a good place for him to be."
Another young player impressing Fleming early at camp is forward Mathieu Melanson. Fleming played with Melanson's dad, Rollie, in Fredricton, New Brunswick, Canada, near the end of the three-time Stanley Cup winner's career, and Fleming said he has known Mat Melanson since he was seven.
"He was a boisterous kid -- just stubborn. He had his own way to do things, and he liked doing it that way," Fleming said of Mat, laughing.
Since then, Fleming said Mat hasn't lost his mean streak -- but what's impressed the coach the most about Melanson is his work ethic.
"He has been working his butt off," Fleming said.
WHO'S MISSING: Three new acquisitions from Monday: Franklin MacDonald, a defenseman, Adam Taylor, a forward, and Tyler Plante, a goalie, weren't at camp on Tuesday. They were sent down from the Rochester Americans. All are Panthers prospects, and Rochester is the Panthers' AHL affiliate. MacDonald and Taylor were both solid for the Blades last season, and each spent a few games in Rochester. Taylor was there nearly half the season.
All three players are expected to arrive in Florida in the next few days.
NEW GOALIE: Second-year pro Justin Peters, 6-1, 213 pounds, looked pretty impressive in goal during the shooting drills on Tuesday morning. He blocked nearly every shot, positioned himself well, and his big body was helpful in creating a wall. As good as Craig Kowalski was for the Blades last year, Kowalski's 5-foot-8, 190-pound frame hurt his chances on some shots. That shouldn't be a problem with Peters.
NO TUMA: Fleming said he has left a couple messages for missing-in-action defenseman Martin Tuma but that Tuma has not returned his calls. Tuma was sent down to Florida last week by the Rochester Amerks, but he has not arrived in camp.
Notably, Tuma doesn't have a nameboard for a locker at Germain Arena, and veteran Ryan Van Buskirk is wearing No. 22, Tuma's number for the Blades last year.
As reported on Monday, Tuma is up in Canada trying to sign with an AHL or European team. Fleming said that even if Tuma changes his mind and wants to come back to Florida, there might not be room on the Blades roster.
Web posted on 10/09/07