O'Gara Blog - Entry 1: Arrival Day
Follow along every day as B's prospect Rob O'Gara shares his experience at his third development camp with the Black & Gold.
B's prospect and 2013 National Champion Rob O'Gara is in his third year at Bruins development camp after being selected by the Black & Gold in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
O'Gara has been kind enough to agree to keep a players blog to share his day-to-day experience during his time at Bruins Development Camp.
The defenseman joins camp after his first season at Yale, where he recorded seven assists in 37 games. The blueliner also had an assist and was on the ice for all four of the Bulldogs' goals in the NCAA National Championship Final against Quinnipiac University.
The 6'4'', 205-pound defenseman hails from Smithtown, NY.
Rob O’Gara – Development Camp – Entry 1: Arrival Day
I drove myself up today from Long Island to the hotel in Burlington, along with my girlfriend; it took about four and a half hours. The traffic was crazy once you get over the Throgs Neck Bridge and hit Interstate 95. But overall getting here was easy. My parents are coming up later this week from Smithtown, NY to watch development camp.
I’m really excited for this year’s development camp, this is my third year attending. Last year was different from the first year and I think I’ll have more confidence this year but I’m sure this year will be different than last. It’s going to be a fun week with great competition and it’s a great group of guys. As you go along, you start knowing the names and seeing who you are going to play with. Like Ryan Fitzgerald, I played with him back on the U18 Junior Bruins before we started our prep year seasons. I haven’t seen him in a while so I’m excited to say hi and it’s going fun week.
I’m also looking forward to playing with Zane Gothberg again during the week. We hit it off the last couple years and he’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. We both played in the final 8 in our regional, him in North Dakota, he said hi before our Minnesota game. It was good to see him and you know, it was a little friendly competition and even though I didn’t score against him, we got the best of them. My friend Frank DiChiara from Long Island played with Matt Benning this year, I’ve known him since I was really young. Benning was at camp last year and as a D-man, there are only eight of us here, so we have to bond and stick together.
It’s kind of crazy to feel like a veteran around here because two years ago, I was 17 and it wasn't even my birthday yet. Tommy Cross and those guys were walking around and I remember thinking “jeeze, I don’t belong here”. It’s going to be a different feel. I think last year I started to come out of my shell a little bit, between all those rafts I offered to blow up and trying to lead the stretches. I think going on the ice too, just taking that role, I think I want to run with that this year.
I’m ready to lead by example. I’m more of a quiet leader, not much of a talker I guess you could say. I’m not going to give you a great motivational speech but I like to put 100 percent into everything and leave it on the ice, leave it on the beach, whatever it may be. I take pride in instilling that mindset on all the other guys.
Last year at camp, I was told to work on positioning, that was the biggest thing. Having Coach Red Gendron down at Yale this year was an unbelievable amount of help. Every little thing with the stick, with the feet, everything was nitpicked and it helped so much. That’s what they really told me a lot at camp: it’s positional. Like staying inside the dots, keeping my feet moving, keeping my feet under me, because I have long limbs -- or appendages as Red used to call them. Arms can flail sometimes, just keeping everything in, I have a long reach but I need to learn to not show it right away. You get to higher levels and guys protect the puck so well and then they move and they’re gone. So keeping everything intact, keeping everything strong, I think was the biggest thing coming from last year’s camp and I’ve been working on it.
This year at development camp, I have a couple goals. At the end of the year with Yale, we had our coaches meeting before we left. Coach spoke a lot about my shot and getting it off as quick as I can. I think against this sort of competition, these guys will block everything now. Really getting it off and getting in that lane, moving my feet, that’s the biggest thing to work on because it encompasses all the angles of the game. I also want to work on keeping the puck on my forehand, so I can move the puck, especially when the speeds get higher. That was the biggest transition going in to school, going in to that next level, so I think that will be a good test this week, to keep it moving like that.
--As told to Jenna Gilberti