Upset and just a little bit ticked off he wasn’t extended an invitation to a pro camp this fall, Zach O’Brien plans to use the snub as motivation which could spell trouble for Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams.
The slick St. John’s forward piled up nine points over two games as his Acadie-Bathurst Titan registered a pair of wins Friday and Saturday with the QMJHL kicking off its 2011-012 campaign.
In the Titan’s season-opener, an 8-1 win over the reigning Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs, O’Brien enjoyed a three-goal game.
However, the former provincial midget hockey star hadn’t been smiling a whole lot of late after going through the summer without even much as a hint of a training camp walk-on offer from NHL clubs.
And this after a 29-goal, 65-point QMJHL rookie campaign last season when he was invited to the San Jose Sharks’ rookie camp last September.
“I’m pretty upset about it,” he said, as most NHL camps prepare to open Friday, “but I’m going to use it as motivation this year.
“I guess there’s still a possibility, but at this late date, the chances are pretty slim.”
There was a possibility O’Brien, despite turning 19 in June, would be drafted in 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but no such luck. However, that may work to his advantage because if O’Brien chalks up big numbers this season, it’s likely several teams could show interest in the undrafted free agent meaning the player will be in a position to pick and choose.
O’Brien worked with well-known local strength and conditioning coach Bob Thompson over the summer and already has noticed a jump in his step.
While he’s a solid 188 pounds, O’Brien stands only 5-10 which is a mark against him in the eyes of the pro teams.
O’Brien is one of 11 Newfoundlanders playing in the QMJHL this season. The others are ...
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