Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

(Ed. Note: After 11+ years, we're still learning things about The Driver. Recently he told us he was in a high school cover band named "First Impressions". We howled for a good five minutes over the sheer lameness of that title. He swears he told us -- we would've remembered.)

Some initial thoughts from the first day of the Sens' developmental camp on Thursday (which included practice drills and a couple of brief 3-on-3 scrimmages):

Ilja Zubov: I've seen some posters on the HFBoards claiming to be pleased with him -- I wasn't. In fact, I saw shades of Kaigorodov. There's talent to be had; he handles the puck nicely (decent passer and better with the puck than without) and can make plays, but he's slow as all hell. The skating just isn't there. The other thing that bothered me was his work ethic. He cheated during drills -- one in particular I noticed was an exercise where players would skate backwards around the faceoff circle. Zubov would cut off the top of the circle. He's also prone to skating with his head down, and he was the only one I saw take a knee during drills.

Nick Foligno: It's obvious the kid tries hard, particularly with his skating, but he still needs a lot of work. His backwards skating was laboured, but better than some of the forwards I saw (see Zubov). Granted, that still isn't saying much. Foligno has initial bursts of speed which are impressive (10-15 seconds), but has difficulty maintaining stamina. He does carry himself with a great deal of confidence. What he's able to accomplish in Binghamton (when the time comes) will matter a great deal -- it'll mean the difference between him turning into a second-line contributor, or a third-line filler. Right now, I see the latter.

Louie Caporusso: Itty-bitty, but one of the better skaters I saw. Good speed, and smooth strides. Unfortunately, I didn't see him put one puck into the net during the two-hour practice. Hands of stone (at least on this day).

Ben Blood: His stride reminded me a bit of Phillips, but his skating definitely needs work. His size was obviously apparent during the practice (one of the bigger players) but he carries himself fairly well. That being said, the kid's got a nose for the net. Very nice hands, and a good wrist shot (I saw him put the puck top-right more than once with little effort). You'll note in the interview he practiced his shooting for three hours a day, but admitted his feet needed some work. If he's willing to put that kind of dedication into his skating, he could develop nicely. Oh, and take this for what it's worth -- he's a Sean Avery fan.

I'm going to try and head back for one of the 3-on-3s to gather more thoughts, but just an overall assessment: I didn't see anyone that blew me away, or anything resembling a raw balanced player -- they all need work in various areas. If you've attended, give me your thoughts via e-mail and I'll post them.

P.S. I don't know what was up with this, but the practice was broken up into halves, separated by a Zamboni re-icing. Most left after the first half hour or so, because I'm assuming they thought it was over (when I spoke to PR rep Brian Morris, he told me the practice would run until 3:30). There was only a handful of people who stayed for the whole thing, or were at least planning to. At around 3 pm, some dandy with a clipboard started walking around questioning people about why they're present, and if they knew anyone on the ice -- then they were told to leave, because it was a closed practice. Uh, that's not what the website says.