It didn’t take Phil Tot long to realize he wasn’t in Lethbridge anymore.
Acquired by the Americans on Aug. 14 from the Hurricanes, Tot has gotten a taste of main camp with the Americans this week, and his Twitter account has documented the suffering: “2 a days and 3 a days really kick your ass. Get me to a bed. #recovery #coconutwaters.” And: “The things I would do to go back to bed. #Unforgiveable.”
“Everything is a lot higher pace here,” Tot said after Thursday morning’s practice. “Practices in Lethbridge, you go about 70 to 80 percent. Here, Jim (coach Hiller) doesn’t care if you mess up, just as long as you are going as hard as you can. Then there are bag skates (similar to lines drills in basketball) afterward. It’s good and it tires you out, but it gets you more game ready, and you will have that extra push in the third period.”
Tot, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward, will get to put his new-found skills to work today against the Everett Silvertips at the Everett Tournament. The Americans will face Portland at 3 p.m. on Saturday in their final game of the tournament.
Former Lethbridge teammate Derek Ryckman, who came to the Americans in a trade last year, gave Tot a bit of a heads up when it came to the hard work that is expected.
“Derek gave me the lowdown,” Tot said. “It’s all good. I love it here. The organization is professional. Everyone has been very welcoming, and the climate is nice.”
After experiencing camp, Tot has come to realize how the Americans have been so successful in recent years, scoring 90 or more points each of the last six years and winning four U.S. Division titles in five years.
“Practice is a lot tougher,” he said. “When the season rolls around, I will be ready for a lot of hockey. I think last year (Tri-City) beat us 10-4 or something like that (it actually was 7-3). Everything they did was fast. Their system works a lot faster. Everything is high intensity, and it shows in the games.”
Tot has been paired with Jesse Mychan and team captain Justin Feser in practice, though Mychan won’t play today or Saturday.
“I think we will work well together,” Tot said. “I just have to learn the system a little more. It’s a lot different than what I’m used to.”
The Americans still have 34 players in camp, though four 15-year-olds will head home after Everett.Feser, in his fifth year with the Americans, said main camp has run smoothly.
“Our guys came ready for camp,” Feser said. “We are ready to get the exhibition games going and to get the season started. Obviously, we have holes left by guys who were here last year, and now they’re gone. It’s a chance for guys who are ready to take that step and put more weight on their shoulders.”
The Ams signed F Justin Marreck, 16, to a standard WHL players contract. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Marreck, from West Kelowna, British Columbia, was listed by the Americans in June 2011. He played last season for the Okanagan Rockets AAA midget team, scoring 15 goals. Marreck will remain with the team through the Everett Tournament.
TRI-CITY ROSTER FOR EVERETT TOURNAMENT
Goalies — Eric Comrie, Brendan Fiebelkorn, Luke Lee-Knight, Evan Sarthou. Defense — Drydn Dow, Clint Filbrandt, Tyler Fraser, Sam Grist, Justin Hamonic, Michal Plutnar, Derek Ryckman, Wil Tomchuk, Mitch Topping, Parker Wotherspoon, Zach Yuen. Forwards — Parker Bowles, Tyson Dallman, Justin Feser, Justin Gutierrez, Patrick Holland, Justin Marreck, Beau McCue, Jordan Messier, Marcus Messier, Jesse Mychan, Lucas Nickles, Brendan Persley, Braden Purtill, Connor Rankin, Dylan Schellenburg, Malte Strömwall, Phil Tot, Lukas Walter, Brian Williams, Dallin Wolf.